May 11, 2013

The Rev. Patricia M. Grace: Who we gonna call?

— The “Ghostbusters” movies are among my favorites for sheer fun and entertainment. “Ghostbusters II” tells the story of a river of gooey pink slime that courses under the city’s streets, created by the intense negativity and maliciousness of the city’s people. The slime is increasing interpersonal nastiness and cruelty on an exponential level.  

“Who we gonna call?” the people cry and the Ghostbusters come to the rescue. They slowly figure out that only intense positivity can break the power of this evil behavior-changing substance. So they fill their proton packs with positively charged pink goo, and play Jackie Wilson’s “Your love is lifting me higher” all over the city. This brings the Statue of Liberty to life and her torch of freedom lights the way and cuts through the evil darkness created by the slime. People ring in the new year with joy instead of jabs, and the city is turned, finally, into a state of widespread peace and love.

So, OK, it’s a silly, sci-fi (kind of) movie. But it feels kind of prophetic these days to me. Doesn’t it seem like we have a river of hate-inducing slime coursing under the streets of our world?

Sandy Hook. Boston Marathon. Constant reports of random violence. Intense conflict and vicious negativity at all levels of society. The daily slights and downright meanness that mar our personal lives.

There is a river of maliciousness, cruelty and evil that is overflowing. And we are way beyond flood stage.

Who we gonna call? The Ghostbusters might be handy, but (spoiler alert!) they’re not for real.  

There is good news, nonetheless. We know someone whose love never fails to lift us higher. We know someone who is the light that dispels all darkness — all the dark shadows created by human hatred, despair and vengeance.

Who we gonna call? Call Jesus.

If ever there was a time to bring the resources of the savior of the world to bear, it’s got to be now. Call on him to bring pure positivity — his never failing love — to our hearts and to the hearts of all who walk and work and live on the city streets and country roads of this world.

Only the supernatural power of God can break whatever it is — pink slime or not — that seems to have such incredible behavior-changing power.

Call on him. Jesus. Follow his way of life — the way of widespread peace and love. Start to combat the river of slime that flows near your own back door. Fight against it with your positivity, your love. Listen more and talk less. Practice careful conversation. Forego mean-spirited gossip, backbiting and destructive criticism in favor of deeper understanding and compassion. Search for the blessing that abounds in every situation instead of focusing on the negative. Learn to be a peacemaker in conflict. Stay in relationship, no matter what. Believe there’s always another way than fighting.

His love can lift us all higher and higher. Who we gonna call? Call on Jesus — today.

Patricia Grace is rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Dalton.