Light of the World–in Me?

I’ve never before thought of myself as being a light in the world, let alone part of The Light of the world. Jews have a legend of the creation of the world that has a holy vessel containing holy Light coming out of the holy Darkness. There is an accident and the vessel breaks. Tiny fragments of Light are released to be embedded in every single human being, in fact in all created beings.

The legend pleases me to think that God would in a sense divide himself among us all, giving us each an equal chance to show forth his holiness. But now I ask myself, ‘What would it be like to be a transparency for inner holy Light? And how do I dig through the debris that no doubt covers mine to let the Light shine free? Is this something I can undertake and effect on my own or do I need the source of Light to help me? Or do it for me?

Jesus said we are the light of the world AND that we have the Kingdom of God within us. Perhaps that is but a confirmation of the ending of the Jewish legend.

I think of star light in the Nativity story and wonder if I ponder that perhaps some divine celestial Light might show me the way to reveal my own.

4 January 2016

NEAR-SACRIFICE

The story of the sacrifice of Isaac is so powerful that it is never referred to as the near-sacrifice. Abraham’s willingness to give up his son was 100%. The story shows, with two characters and God, what, in the Jesus narrative, is accomplished in one human being. In stories the spiritual must be represented in the physical else there is nothing for the reader to work with in a symbolic way. The physical can be interpreted in many ways and that is what makes a good story.

For Abraham, the son he had prayed for, his life link to progeny, his proof of manhood, the long-awaited delivery of God’s promise—all this as his most prized possession was being asked of him.

Jesus was asked to give his life, his most prized possession—a life lived doing what he thought was most important: preaching, teaching, healing—what he thought God wanted him to do. As all those things were given up, he became, in the narrative, one whose very being was transformed. The story says his being was so transparent and ethereal he could move through a locked door, and yet he could eat and drink as a normal human.

He was recognized in a prayer of thanks. He prepared a meal for his friends (first time ever in all gospel accounts). He didn’t preach or teach or heal. He encouraged his friends to be compassionate. He just was. His being was enough. His being was exactly what God wanted of him. And what God wants of us.

A willingness to sacrifice ourselves results in a near-sacrifice in that only what needs to die dies and the real self is born into our transformed personalities. The stories of Isaac and Jesus are our stories—or are meant to be.

(Note: A book entitled Humpty Dumpty Hatched, which tells the story of transformation of one personality, is available on this website.)

WINNERS VS LOSERS

In all areas of life there looms the competitive force which declares that for there to be winners, there must be losers. The idea that everyone can win seems missing. Even in sports, no game is allowed to end in a tie.

The 1970s produced a number of simulation games which immediately became popular with high school and college students. The name of one game was “Win As Much As You Can.” Players were divided into several teams. Each team elected a representative who would meet with other team representatives in a sort of summit where each would cast a vote for the decision his team authorized.

After the designated number of rounds, scores were totaled and the winning team announced. At the end of the game the players were stunned to discover that the only way they could win the most was to help the other teams win as well.

What causes us to think that for us to be a winner someone has to be a loser? How might we work toward the goal of everyone becoming winners?

A clergyman who was accosted by a parishioner, accusing him of not believing in hell, asked the woman, “Madam, how many people would have to go to hell for you to be satisfied?”

The great Energy of the Universe is a benevolent energy that wills the good, the true, and the beautiful for all. May we attune ourselves to the music of that energy.

Mottos We Adopt

From a great deal  of pondering over all my previous negative behavior, I began to see some mottos I had adopted early in my life.  It was easy to find the ‘Be Strong’ that I decided would protect me from punishments like that I received from the crying incident.  And my ‘Be Strong’ also kept me from shedding tears over much sadness that warranted them.

It took a while before I saw the other mottos. ‘Be Right’ was surely the one that had kept me from ever apologizing to my family.  ‘Be Powerful’ fed my need to be in control of everything possible.

I had no idea, however, that my mottos were so evident to others outside my family.  After my Humpty Dumpty transformation experience, I had an opportunity to visit with an elderly gentleman who had been a member of the Worship Committee at my church when I had been the chair.  When I told him I felt like I was a completely different person from the one I had been for decades, he replied, “Well, I hope so.  I decided in that committee that I didn’t want to be on your train or in the way of it!.”  We both laughed at his insight and I appreciated his revelation.

My conviction is that no matter how we are perceived to the contrary, the mottos we choose for ourselves are our best attempts to improve on ourselves–make ourselves into good people–the best we can be.

My mother gave me a motto at a  young age–‘Don’t Embarrass the Family.’  It is only just now obvious to me that her embarrassment at my three-year-old crying incident was the deciding factor.  Throughout my growing up, she often reminded me of this directive.  There must be something in my personality that continued to make my family fear I would do something that reflected badly on them because one of my sons seemed at an early age to give me the same motto.  Or maybe the mottos we give others are merely projections of facets of our personality we haven’t adequately dealt with.

Paradoxically, our mottos need to be given up in order for them to be authentically incorporated into our personality.  The ‘giving up’ manifests itself in the opposite of the motto.  In my three-day crisis, there was nothing strong or powerful about me.  I experienced just the opposite.  And in my Great Confession I admitted all the ‘not rightness’ (unrighteousness?!) about myself.  Only after the crisis did I emerge with a genuine strength and sense of power that I never had before.

My motto now is simply ‘Be.’  And I think the same is intended for everyone.  Out of the essence of our authentic Being emerges a wholeness that needs no other mottos.