Everything is relative, or so many would have you believe. Looking out across the rooftops of New York I wonder what really makes the city the City. The answer is simple; the people. Without them, the City is merely a dump of old and new buildings lacking character, soul, and life. Yet in the midst of it all I wonder if many, my self included, tend to lose sight of the true heart of community.
In this city the harsh reality of how people judge you hits you in a way that is hard, difficult, and without compassion. Equally, the people of the city celebrate diversity, originality, and honesty with an intensity rarely found in other communities. How do the two extremes co-exist? What should we do about the first in light of the second? Would we change anything if we could?
In this city the brutal aspects of life come to those who deserve it as well as those who do not. It is as if life ignores the color of our skin, depth of our pocketbook, and count found in our threads. Everything is equally at risk – for good and evil alike! There are examples of extreme brutality played off against amazing acts of kindness and grace. One finds a paradox in those one would naturally look to for mercy; they are often the ones sharing only justice. Equally true are the sources of mercy and compassion; there are no external indicators to let you know what is coming. Everything resides in personal choice and actions.
It is easy to conclude that everything is relative, nothing is black and white. Yet my soul says something different. One knows truth when it hits you. Even Pilate in the midst of asking the question in trying to come to the truth about Jesus knew the answer. The paradox played out in his words and action.
“What is truth?’ Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, ‘I find nothing wrong in this man.’” (John 18.38)
Life isn’t relative. Our lives tell the truth.
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