Once upon a time there was a small, beautiful, but very troubled planet. It happened that the time came for one of the planet’s most powerful tribes to choose a new leader. The wise elders called together the three aspiring candidates and gave them a challenge: “Go out,” they said to each of them, “and bring back whatever you find on your journey that you believe will be most needful to our people in the future.”
The first journeyed out into the surrounding plain. Eventually he noticed something glinting in the rock. Scraping at the soil, he discovered seams of gold. Rushing back to the tribal homelands he reported. “I have discovered a source of wealth that will keep our people in luxury for many years to come.”
The second journeyed along the river. Eventually his sharp gaze picked up traces of something lying among the rocks. He scraped at the soil and unearthed flintstone. He rushed back home. “See,” he said, “With this flintstone we can make powerful weapons and defend ourselves against all attack. We can even take over other tribal lands and extend our territory.”
The third and youngest candidate was gone a long, long time, returning home at last—empty-handed. “Wise ones,” he said, “I have travelled far—right over to that distant mountain. As I journeyed I noticed things that might be helpful to us, like gold and flintstone, but something made me keep on walking. When I reached the summit I knew I had found what I was searching for, but it was not something I could pick up and bring back to you. When I reached the mountaintop, I saw a vision of possibilities that lie beyond our narrow view here in this valley. I knew that this was where I would want to lead our people. So this is what I bring back—a vision of what could be. You may say that this is just a dream. But is it not the case that our tribe and all its story is built on a dream?”
The wise elders smiled, and were well pleased. “You shall become the new leader,” they said, “because you have rightly understood that what our people need more than anything else is vision.”
And so the new leader prepared to take up his office. He was a man of faith, and he looked to God for guidance, and a story came to his mind from long ago about an itinerant teacher. One day a great multitude had gathered on a hillside to hear this teacher speak. The hours passed. It was getting late. Eventually the rumblings of discontent were becoming audible. People were hungry. It was too late to buy food. The people began squabbling with one another. Just one person, it seemed, had come prepared for the long haul—a little boy who was so inspired by what the teacher had said that he offered his own pack of bread and fish, to be shared among the thousands. The teacher took the little boy’s lunch pack and started to hand it around. And it passed from one person to the next, until everyone had had enough to eat, and there were even scraps left over after the great feast. “A miracle,” they all said. And, for sure, it was a miracle.
The new leader shivered with apprehension. “Now they are looking to me for a miracle,” he pondered, “and what can I do to right the many wrongs of this planet? Can vision ever really turn into reality? How far will one dream go among so many troubles?”
But when he was sworn in as the new tribal chief, the angels gathered round him to bring him their gift for the task ahead. They debated long and hard about which gift to give him. Some said: “We should give him our protection, for he is young and vulnerable.” Others said: “We should give him strength and courage to face all that lies ahead.”
But at last the angels chose a very special gift that had rarely been given to a new leader before. They gave him the goodwill of almost every person on the planet and almost every leader of every tribe. “This gift of universal goodwill,” they said, “will enable him to inspire and influence all the other people of the planet, so that they will start to share what they have and work together for new beginnings. Goodwill is the seed of the miracle they long for.”
This is my prayer for the people of United States, for their new leader and for all the human family at this historic new beginning.