Déjà vu all over again...
Thanks to the now classic film, Groundhog Day is not just the questionable practice of trusting a rodent to predict our weather. It is also the idea of things repeating again and again until we get it right. You've heard the aphorisms. History repeats itself. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And so on and so on, at both a personal level and a societal level.
The sentiment is only partially true. History is circular, but until recently, it has been an upward spiral. We don't always see it, and it doesn't always grab headlines or make the 24-hour hype cycle that passes for journalism these days, but life has been getting better for most humans on the planet. Before the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the global trend was less poverty, less hunger, less preventable disease.
Not that there were not and are not spots of decline. We were rapidly approaching a tipping point toward ecological disaster, which we seem to have now passed. The consolidation of wealth and power in the developed world, especially the United States, was endangering democracy and reversing economic gains made by the working class. Malicious patriarchy has still got some fight left in it. And of course, the gains were not spread evenly.
It is absolutely true that things are looking pretty grim. But here's the thing: humans are amazingly creative, and despite the evidence to the contrary, mostly good.
The Hebrew Scriptures are the story of a scrappy people making a life for themselves in difficult circumstances, adapting, making meaning. Over 2500 years ago, they hard-wired a generous justice into their worldview. Jesus, the Jewish reformer, radically expanded that notion of divine love that is extravagant and restorative. His followers came to understand that love is so powerful that even an unjust execution and death itself could not stop it.
It is a pretty good story. We are part of that story, located on the spiral of history. It will continue to trend upward only if we are relentless in our pursuit of love and justice, becoming and calling others to become our better selves.