It is funny how a single verse in the bible can become so important to some people, important enough not to read or understand the context. You shall not eat
You shall not eat anything with its blood. You shall not practice augury or witchcraft. 27 You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. 28 You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord. (Lev 19.26-28)
Right, first of all the verse before deals with not cutting the hair on your temples, so if you want to ban tattoos first you need to give up the idea on those neatly trimmed sideburns. However I believe that is besides the point. The context talks about funeral customs where one custom was to cut yourself, to mark and scar your body if someone close to you died. The command is, don’t! Do not hurt yourself on the outside because you are hurting on the inside it is not in line with god’s initial aim.
If a sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace, then scarring or marking your body because of pain is the opposite, it’s the outward sign of an inward hurt or curse.
That does not make tattoos evil, and it does not make tattooed people evil. Tattoos are pieces of art worn on the body. They are expressions of creativity and beauty, all divine qualities. A tattoo made with purpose to display a piece of who we truly are outside our skin therefore can be a sacrament: an outward sign of an inward grace!
Someone once told me that all dichotomies are false dichotomies. And maybe this is the most sinister but also the most widespread of them all. The very idea that there is us and them, the idea that we are somehow different *better” that them, whomever they are.
In what may have been one of the most important books I read this year, Disunity in Christ by Christena Cleveland, Christena lifts up the dangers of group-think and how we form our identity and belonging based on mutual disdain for them. What really got me was how deeply this is programmed into our lazy brains that work very hard indeed not to work at all. Categorising and labeling people and groups so that we don\t have to take on the hard task of staying open and fluid.
If we could just see on a personal level how we project both the good and bad onto everyone we meet then maybe we could see how we are prone to the same dynamics ona communal level. If we could start by erasing the I and you difference maybe we could start blurring the us and them lines. Most importantly if we could gain clarity and see how we project our own shadow (the parts of us that we are unaware of, often the scary parts) onto other people so that the evil we see in them is really the evil we are capable of ourselves. If we can, like Peter Rollins often have said, choose a level of communication where we can see that maybe we are the monster, then I think we can finally be freed of the dichotomy of us and them.
In the Enneagram the holy truth of the type eight is, we are all one! If we could only take this truth to heart and see that we are all members of the same body, parts of the same organism; If we could see that Ubuntu is not just about our little tribe but includes the entire creation, the entire manifestation of the divine. This I think is the theology of the trinity, the ultimate union and perichoresis where the many are all one.
Jesus message was a singular message of love. Love the other, and what better way of loving them, than including them in us and stating there is no us and them, there is only us. To be known, recognised, seen, heard and accepted is to be loved. and Love is the way of Jesus. Judgement on the other hand is the way of the accuser, the way of the shaitan.
Didaché states that there are two roads, one road leads to life and the other road leads to death. I deeply believe this. We can choose to live a life where we feel more alive with each step, where each desicion leads to more love, more joy, greater freedom. There is also a way of life that makes us feel like we are dying inside, where each step leads to us feeling less free, less alive, contracted and small.
Which way will you chose today?
My take on reality is this: There is no us and them, there is only I and us. Either I step upp and recognise that we are all one or I stay deep in my ego and while I may think that I am part of a small exclusive tribe all that has happened is that I have isolated myself in a very small and contracted ego-I and I live in the illusion that I am an island. An island (sometimes grouped with other contracted islands) isolated from the community of this creation. To open up and join the dance, that is the way of love, the way of Jesus.
I don’t know about you but I hear a lot of hopelessness out there when I put my ear on the wire. The internet is buzzing with naysayers and doomsday prophets telling us that it is too late, that there is no hope left. We might as well just hold on and enjoy the ride into whatever cataclysmic disaster awaits us in the near future.
I am not trying to pull the wool over your eyes here, the situation is dire, the state of the planet is sadly really bad. There are wars and worldwide injustice being perpetrated and supported by both governments and economic powers beyond our reach. But this does not mean that all hope is lost.
To quote Galadriel (the elven queen in the Lord Of The Rings):
“Even the smallest person can change the course of history”
Disaster is not possible (dis/aster, to be disconnected from the stars). Stardust is what we are made of. We are all connected, we are all one. You are one with the stars that you gaze upon. You are one with the people with the power and the money and though you cannot change them, you can work on transforming yourself. This is why the spiritual work is so important. I need to wake up and be the person I was created to be, the person I always was and therefore already am. Because when I wake up and live out my glory and strength, I free other people to do the same. And more importantly if I change the whole changes, maybe not by much but at some point a critical mass will be reached and the world will change.
Do you know why there is hope? Because I have hope! Because I am actively working to find the divine source and you are reading about it. Maybe, just maybe that could inspire you to do the same. Who knows who else may be inspired by this.
While it is true that it really is in the eleventh hour and that we may not even be able to restoe the planet to it’s original state of health and glory there is still hope, because there is an initial aim, there is a divine plan and all we have to do is wake up and smell the Rooibos.
The whole idea of heaven, while hope inspiring, often corrodes and hollows out our everyday life. It is interesting to note that Jesus rarely spoke about heaven. To him, it seemed much more important and urgent to deal with life here and now. Heaven in the here and now.
“Repent, for the kingdom of god is at hand”
So what did he mean?
Turn around, because you are all about to die?
No, Jesus clearly instructs his followers that “the kingdom is not here or there so one can point at it, rather the kingdom of god is inside of you”. We also need to understand that the kingdom of god and the kingdom of heaven is the same thing, it is not a place we can move to but a reality we can wake up to.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that there is nothing there after we die, there may very well be some elevated, transcendant reality after this life. All I am saying is that that is not the point. The point is that the kingdom is here and now and if we are completely focussed on then and there we will miss it!
Not only do our choices matter eternally they also matter right here, right now!
Another word used in the New Testament for the kingdom of god/heaven is life or eternal life (aionos zoe). This is primarily used by the author to John’s gospel, who hardly ever mentions the kingdom at all. Rather John’s Jesus offers life and life in abundance. This is the gospel, the good news, that we do not have to wait for pie in the sky when we die. We can have it now, it is accessible here.
“Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit?”
You are the container, the channel of divine love into your community. You are the kingdom, the church, the body. You are it! Right here and right now.
“Above all guard your hearts, because from your heart flows all of life”
So if we are to understand this proverb in the light of John’s high Christology and immanent eschatology then we understand that the point of life is living it. When we simply live life, life flows from our hearts, or to substitute the term: Heaven flows from our hearts and encloses those that are around us. Life is not a warm up for heaven, beacuse, to quote the song “heaven is a place on earth”. This life is it, this life, right here right now, is where we find heaven or hell, where we live through divine bliss or diabolical misery. We just need to wake up and smell the coffee (or in my case, smell the Roibosh Paradise).
There is no dress rehersal, no trial run, no qualifying round; Whatever you are living right now is the main event, the real thing, your grand performance.
So today, on this unique beautiful day in all of eternity, let’s choose to love!
Not even when it’s really good! Not even when it’s long or loud, wet and rowdy. Sex is not even filthy when it is public or outside or taped. Sex is not filthy when it is between two men or two women. It is not filthy no matter what clothes we dress up in or not.
Sex is sacred
We need to remember this. our sexuality is agift from the divine source. It is sacred, it is a sacrament, it truly is. The word sacrament comes from the latin translation of Pauls letter to Collosi in the first chapter where Paul talks about a mystery, a secret. The word in latin is sacramentum it means mystery.
Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a girl. (Prov 30.18-19 NRSV)
This describes it well, a mystery, things I don’t fully understand, things that are to wonderful to be properly described; The eagle, the snake, a sailing ship and sex. All sacred, none filthy (no matter how you feel about snakes).
Sex is an outer manifestation of ur inner longing. Our inner longing, our deepest desire is to merge, to unite, to manifest the truth that we are all one, with each other and one with the divine source.
Rabbi Akkiba is supposed to have said that: All the days of eternity are not worth the day the song of Solomon was included in the scriptures, for all the scriptures are holy, but the song of songs is the holy of holies. This about the book in the bible that writes unashamedly and explicitly about the erotic, sexual union of man and woman.
In the song the woman cries out: “Wake up, North Wind, get moving, South Wind! Breathe on my garden, fill the air with spice fragrance. Oh, let my lover enter his garden! Yes, let him eat the fine, ripe fruits.” (Song of Solomon 4:16 MSG) And the man responds later: “You are tall and supple, like the palm tree, and your full breasts are like sweet clusters of dates. I say, “I’m going to climb that palm tree! I’m going to caress its fruit!” Oh yes! Your breasts will be clusters of sweet fruit to me, Your breath clean and cool like fresh mint, your tongue and lips like the best wine.” (Song of Solomon 7:8-9 MSG)
What about pornography?
So if sex is not filthy, what about pornography then? Is it also sacred? No, not generally. But pornography does not make sex filthy anymore than beating somebody over the head with the Mona Lisa makes art violent. Pornography often pictures merging without union, it is the longing without the fullfilment, because however much the porn industry wants us to believe it orgasm or ejaculation is not the fullfillment of our desire, it is the union; It is two souls merging at a spiritual and energetical level, it is when the boundaries between our bodies blurr and we no longer know where I end and the other begins. If we think that sex is only carnal we are just missing the point.
Pornography most often missuse or abuse sex, but that does not make sex bad. Pornography contains a mechanical, empty, loveless, commercial version of sex. It is like doing church without spirit and love. Singing worship whithout the words resonating in your heart. It becomes a lifeless puppet theater, a shadow of something real.
Why should the devil have all the good sex?
William Booth said: “Why should the devil have all the good music”, and I want to use this on sexuality (regardless of what you believe about the devil). Not that the “Devil” has all the good sex, I simply don’t think this is true, what is true however is that we as Christians (It may be true of other religions as well, but I am a Christian and this is my path, so it is the only one I can speak from) have generally given up on good sex. Oh sure we say that we are doing it, we say that we think it is a gift from god, but then we draw the curtains, pull down the blinds, shut the lights and fumble aout in the dark. We don’t practice to get better, we don’t study sex, we do not teach our children about their bodies, we don’t teach our teenagers and young adults good sex (we tell them to stay away from it until that magical day when they suddenly should have mastery over it).
It is time for us to reclaim the divine Eros. It is time for us as Christians, as humans to take back this sacrament and treat it as such, as a mystery as something that is sacred and holy.
It is time for us to realise that god is love and love making is the act of manifesting god in our present moment. To outwardly manifest this inner grace, this inner longing and desire to unite and merge. Instead of seeing our sexuality as something shameful and inconvenient, instead of viewing sex and eorticism as unclean and filthy we need to celebrate it as a sacred part of life, a beautiful gift. We need to also write about it, talk about it, sing about it, simply celebrate the beauty of it.
We need to invite Eros back into the church! God is love, this means god is agape, storge, phileo and eros. As long as we lock eros in the basement and pretend she does not exist we do not get the fullness of the divine.
So this week we are talking about sin. It doesn’t happen a lot around here. I abhor the notion of sin, not because of what it means but because of the cultural baggage that we have attached to the idea.
Let me just say outright that the whole concept of a catalogue of sin, certain actions being in themselves sinful, is a very unhelpful way of thinking about sin.
Sin in the scriptures
In the holy texts there is no one word for sin! This is important. We believe that sin is a single thing. But reading the New Testament we find 10 different words that derive into 33 different notions of sin.
One means to refuse to listen to the prompting of the divine. One means to fall when one should have stood up. One means to not arrive with full measure. One means to miss the mark.
Missing the mark
The most important or at least the most frequently used word for sin in the new testament is hamartia which means to miss the mark. This word is used 147 times in the books of the New Testament. The word is what would be used at an archery competition for a shot that didn’t hit the bulls eye in the middle of the target. So this tells us that the New Testament idea of sin is almost but not quite, it’s close but no cigar, it’s simply put ‘not perfect’.
Seen from this perspective, sin, is just all the attempts before we get it right. It is the stepping stones towards success, it’s every dropped ball as I learn to juggle. It is every misstep on the way towards the ultimate goal.
What then is the goal?
See that is the ultimate question, isn’t it. If sin (and this seems to be a major focus in church these days) is missing the goal, what then is the goal? Jesus seems to summarise the goal by quoting the Shema, Love the lord your god with all your heart and soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself. In the light of this the goal is love. From the perspective of the perennial tradition, the goal is to be reunited with the divine. In my eyes tees two perspectives focus into a single goal, unity with god, immersed in love or maybe being divine love.
Sin shows us the way!
So from this perspective, missing the mark, falling when one should have been standing or showing up without full measure, sin is simply the indicator of how far from hitting the mark we are; showing us when and where to keep standing; showing us when we are holding back and not being ourselves fully.
Like Paul says about the law, it only shows us that we ‘are not there yet’. Sin then simply is life’s feedback, it is the ego popping up saying: ‘Hey, I am still here’. It is simply the absence of divine love in our thoughts and actions.
Shame or guilt?
If sin is simply how far we are from perfect then it’s not something we should beat ourselves up about. Here is where a healthy view on guilt and shame is very helpful.
To be guilty is to own your thoughts and actions. It is to say, Yes! It was me I did that, or I thought that. Guilt shouldn’t have to carry any enmotion with it. You can also be guilty of good things. Yes, I did that, I did the dishes, I am guilty! Guilt is the healthy confession to oneself and to others, it is the owning of ones thoughts and actions.
Shame on the other hand is a diabolical feeling. Instead of acknowledging an action or a thought and owning it, shame morphs into self hatred with: I did it, I am an awful and disgusting person, I understand that you want nothing to do with me.
If there is such a person as the devil, then shame is the only weapon that the devil ever had. The deception of shame is to transform guilt (owning the action or thought) into self hatred and self abasement, thus creating self made barriers between oneself and love.
So we need to let go of shame and let self awareness and self critique show us how we have missed the mark, not fully been our true selves, and then autocorrect, do over and do better.
When we can simply observe our daily shortcomings own them and learn from them, they become the stepping stones towards wholeness (holiness). Therefore it becomes evident that the one that falls often and gets up again, grows much. And so step by misstep we fall upwards towards wholeness and divine love!
We live in a secular society, which for most people means separation of church and state. We have this idea that church simply should not be political or involve itself in matters of state. In the same way we have this notion that church has nothing to do with science and that science have nothing to do with church. Christians in most peoples minds are a backwards people not interested in or even working against science.
The word secular comes from latin seculare which means temporal as opposed to eternal. So originally secular means everything inside the time and space continuum, the Christian religion was supposed to deal with things eternal, that is, things outside time and space.
As above so below
What we are finding though, is that the temporal that which is bound to cycles of birth, ripening, wilting, dying and rebirthing is the way of the eternal. Jesus, who is our image of all things eternal, was born, matured, died and ressurected. So we are finding that this earthly or temporal cycle is the way of things eternal. We are finding as we are gazing into the heavens with better and better telescopes that what we see out there is the same thing we see in our better and better microspcopes. With the advent of quantum physics we are learning that the study of our world is the study of the eternal.
The theopoesis of science
The finer detail science tries to paint the more the language of the scientist starts to sound like the language of the theologian, it is riddled with metaphors and poetic language. This because language is not adequate to express the eternal, no language, not even mathematics.
Science, while studying things temporal has always uncovered things eternal, science has never been secular in the sense of separation (although many scientists have tried). Science was from the very beginning the art of discovering god through studying the creation. Since “the enlightenment” science has tried to break up with religion with varying degree of success. Like disgrunted lovers, science and religion have wrestled and fought, ignored each other, engaged in heated arguments only to fall back in each others arms. Because the study of god’s creation will always lead to the discovery of the immanent divine presence.
Science is not secular
So here we are, try as we might to make clear distinction between disciplines, the lines will always be blurred because you can never analyse a pice of art without at some point take into account the artist. You can never truly digest a poem without picking up the resonance of the poet. You may do so unknowingly, but the true scientist will never stop at unconscious knowing but will always relentlessly push deeper into truth, into reality and at the very core of reality at the very center of truth, there rests the divine source, the source of love.
Then again for as long as humans have walked the earth we have tried to define love and make sense of why love is so essential to us even though we can’t really put our finger on how or why.
All we now is that love is addictive like a drug, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love.
But we also know that love drives us all a little mad, love makes us do crazy things. Love makes introverts extrovert and extroverts introvert, love makes shy people sing and love can cause any one to do the most extraordinary and outlandish things.
“Love is insanity”
From the day we turn on our first Disney flick we are taught that there is something called true love, and if Disney are to be believed: “True love’s kiss” is the most potent magic ever conjured up by mankind.
But there is something else that the idea of true love conveys, leaving behind the childish notion of “one true love”, no the idea of true love tells us that there is such a thing as false love.
C.S. Lewis calls this need-love and give-love, the distinction being that need-love is a love that is given only because we need love, give-love on the other hand is given simply as is with no expectation of a returned love, or need for it.
When we say that god is love, this is what we mean, god who loves, unconditionally and without either restraint or limit. This is true love and so true love is more than a feeling and more than a decision and even more than an action, true love is an elevated state, it is being. But true love is not just being it is BEING, as in the ultimate being.
Now C.S. Lewis is quick to warn us that while god is love, love is not god because, Lewis says, when love is made god it turns perverted and demonic. I am not sure I agree, but I do know that need-love or ego-love as I prefer to call it when elevated to godhood turns a diabolical tyrant.
We all have traces of ego-love, but we must understand that ego-love is also a love and the true-love can be thought to build on top of it or, maybe its better if I put it this way, once ego love grows and transcends the boundary of ego it transmutes into true love. Now, here is the secret of expanding ego-love. Ego-love thinks that it grows by gripping tighter, by contracting and becoming more and more focussed and narrow, this is of course not true. The more exclusive and narrowly focussed ego-love gets, the more it suffocates the flame and eventually it will snuff it out. Ego-love expands and grows only by relaxing and letting go, by allowing air, space and freedom by transmuting need into free gift. This of course feels like death to the ego and therefore the ego will kick and scream and give you hell every step of the way.
The stages of love
So in our traditions holy scriptures we have a few very descriptions of love, in the Old Testament we have Dod, Ahava and Raya. In the New testament we have Eros, Storge & Phileo and Agape.
I am thinking that these different words for love embodies different stages, resonances or harmonies of love. I think maybe I need to already at the outset say that while this maps out a progression, an expansion of love it does not mean that any expression or stage of love is better or more loving than any other. I know at times it may sound like this and, I know I am at risk of contradicting myself, but I want to make it clear that love is love no matter how high or low the vibration.
First stage love
So let us travel this wave of love. We are human and at the start of the spectrum we find the flame of physical love, this is Eros or Dod. This vibration is part of both the biology and chemistry of the body. This is touch and feeling. This is pure and raw sexual energy.
While for us this feels like the strongest fire, a roaring flame, this is because it moves and is felt in the body, on our skin, in our muscles. It is also often the kind of love we are least comfortable with. This because we are conditioned to feel shame around this. We feel it all the same because eros is such a strong current that it completely overwhelms our senses and can therefore sometime even override the brain and our carefully constructed thought structures.
But because this vibration is bound in the body, so while it may be the strongest fire it is also the most contracted or perhaps restricted of the loves.
When Eros is in the infant state or ego state, it is a consuming fire that demands satisfaction. Not only is it need-love it can easily be characterised as GIVE-ME-love. it is desire that demands instant gratification and satisfaction. The hyper sexualisation of our society feeds on the infantile, ego driven aspect of eros.
When allowed to expand and grow eros by sheer vital force offers us a short cut to the divine. When we can allow eros freedom, space and expansion the roaring fire of eros will shoot the energies skyward, it will put us on an express elevator to the highest and most refined vibrations of love. We can make this expansion happen by practicing intense presence and awareness when we are physically connected or when we feel strong desire and then when we are totally ‘there’ we can ride this desire all the way to heaven. It also happens by transforming the need or desire to receive to become the need or desire to give. When eros is freed from the ego and given without demand or expectation it expands rapidly and takes us with it.
I think this is why the song urges us:
“Eat, friends, drink,
and be drunk with love.” (Song of Songs 5.1)
Second stage love
As we journey on we find that as we climb the foothills of the mountain of love we have settlements. Here we find both Storge (affection), Phileo (friendship) and ahava (commitment) This is love of the heart but tempered and ruled by the borders of the mind.
We categorise our love into acquaintances, friends, family and we feel stronger or weaker affection depending on the connection. The flame of ahava is a much cooler but also a much more steady flame, it will keep us out of the dark and carry us safely along our journey. C.S. Lewis actually states that 9/10ths of all our joy in life is given us through Storge the warm affection we feel for our fellow humans.
Most of us live our entire life between eros, storge and phileo and we sort all our relations in these three categories. We use different labels of relation to organise, control and contract eros and storge by use of phileo, ahava and raya (friendship, commitment, companionship). When in the infant stage or ego stage this friendship and commitment comes with a long list of expectations and demands.
I’ll be friends with you as long as I am your best friend and you spend the most time with me. I’ll commit my life to you and I will follow you, as long as you commit the same to me. If I am to love you, you must first promise to love me and actually come to think of it, I want you to love only me.
These harmonies of love, friendship and marriage especially are socially constructed, they are loves of the mind and will and when in ego states they can be very harsh and demanding. But as social contracts they are also tempered with give and take attitude, it may be need-love but it also gives.
It is in this we play out all our little relational dramas, it is here we label each other and put shackles on one another. We do it all in the name of love, though our love has yet to mature grow up and show us that we knew nothing at all about true-love.
These social or mind loves can be more or less infused with heart, when they are they expand naturally, the more heart we pour in the more we realise that the labels and the rules of the mind are inadequate to capture the beauty and the subtlety of our love and so as ego-love gives up control, expectations and demands. When we can commit to another without demanding commitment back, when we realise that our best way of loving someone is to release them into the biggest freedom we can imagine, that’s when this harmony is transmuted from ego-love to true love.
Third stage love
So moving on from the ordered settlements in the foothills we are now reaching soaring heights, the highest vibration of love, agape or simply god. This third stage of love is the unconditional love, the unlimited, unrestricted love given without discrimination and expectation.
This true-love or god-love is the source of all, it is where we come from, it is the core of our being, it is what connects you and me and everyone else in the divine.
Agape or unconditional, divine love does not discriminate, it does not hold back, it gives freely to the deserving and undeserving alike. It is an ever flowing river of love poured into our tiny cups that consequently overflow the second we step into its currents.
When we enter into agape love it is no longer we who are loving but we are love, we have accessed that inner connection with the divine and with the other and we simply are. It cannot be held back or constricted. However there is an ego version of this love but it is all together counterfeit. On the ego-level it is portrayed by prayers for world peace or a fight to end world hunger, it is the ego-expressing all encompassing love by lumping people together in groups and wishing well-fare and well being upon them….. ‘heal the world’
However this ego-conterfeit never exists on the personal level it is always inpersonal. it is always directed over there. I think this counterfeit is what James is getting at when he says you cannot love god and hate your brother. While agape blurs out all boundaries and transgresses every social construction and while it also acts as the quantum force that holds us together as a people, as a planet, as a universe it also interacts on the most personal and intimate level. it liberates, sanctifies and heals both the giver and receiver. in fact as it blurs out the boundaries there is no more giving or receiving there is just being.
This agape is the initial aim of all the other loves, it is the goal and reach of them. It is the lure of all existence. All pleasure, all longing, all desire, all beauty points towards divine love. it is the origin of all and the final destination of all.
To live in love
So what do we do with this? How do we reach this final destination? How do we partake in divine-love?
I am glad you asked!
To start with we must affirm and allow for love in all it’s harmonies to be a part of our every day lives. We must nurture and mature our love, by practicing to bring awareness, focus to our love, by being present to it and to relax in it. We must practice letting go and expanding love, to give and give more freely, to give without expectation or condition. We must cultivate affection, generosity, fondness, friendship, companionship, desire. We must embrace more, kiss more make love more. And do so consciously with awareness and without holding anything back, without hiding who we are or what we are.
Be foolishly in love because love is all there is! (Rumi)
But hey wait a minute, will we not miss the point if we love each other so? Will we not make idols of each other and by that loose sight of god?
NO, WE WILL NOT!
When we love wholeheartedly, with an elevated mature love, that love is god. Since god lives in me and god lives in you when we embrace it is god embracing god and divine love flowing freely being realsed into our midst. Gos is love and divine love is god moving, being and manifesting.
When we can embody or incarnate such a love we will truly walk like the Nasarene and wherever we go the kingdom of god will be made manifest. It will turn all our concepts of proper and socially accepted upside down, it will be death for the ego and mortally uncomfortable for those who cling to it. It will bring ridicule and hatred from those who are consciously disconnecting from divine love or those trapped in ego-love. But it will empower us and set us free, it will be divine!
The text was supposed to read: I Love you! But in It’s infinite wisdom my smart phone decided to autocorrect it to: I live you!
At first it frustrated me, it happened over and over again in all kinds of texts, updates, blog posts, the word love corrected to live. And then the point began to sink in. To love is to truly live. It is only when we love that we acknowledge the connection between each other, and the infinite connection with god.
But it goes deeper still, if we are connected on this deep level, if it is true that we are all made of stardust from the same source and that at a quantum level, and at an energetic level we still are connected, then it is ever so much more true that “I live you” or perhaps I live in you, you live in me, we live in god and god lives in us. It is the teaching of the eastern greeting ‘Namaste!‘ which means something along the lines of, the divine in me greets the divine in you and by that we are connected, we are one.
It is to acknowledge god in everything and everyone, to know that every place I visit is a holy place and every person I meet is a holy person. And this god, the source of divine love, the source of all is connecting us all so that my life is not my own but truly belongs to everyone as does everyone else’s, this makes your health and wellbeing my private business and vice versa. I will care for you, and love you because in doing so I am also loving myself, and when I care for me and love me I am also caring for and loving you. When you find your soul, your unique place in the universe and hold the largest conversation with the world that you can possibly have. Then I am also being realised and set free to do and be all that I was created to be.
So I stand corrected: I Live You!
I have been a Christian on and off since I was 14 years old. I have prayed thousands upon thousands of prayers. Some deep and heartfelt, some pleading, some angry and demanding answers and some, I must confess, simply by routine.
I think that is why I stopped saying grace (praying, giving thanks for my food before I eat). Simply because it was a routine thing I did with no real thought, connection or even sincerity. I mean, we are hungry, we want to eat, our minds are not in that spiritual place. It’s simply easier to give thanks after, when you are, well, let’s face it, more thankful.
So I am reading about the eastern tradition of consecration. Which in many ways is just the same tradition as we have of giving thanks and blessing a meal, an event or a trip. It is the consecrating of a time or action and offering the fruits of the time or action as an offering to the divine. In many traditions it has the same words as we do in ours. But here is the kicker: in the non-christian version one of the steps is to wait for an answer. If you get no confirmation, you don’t eat, do the event or go on the trip.
Now I know, there are many Christians who walk closely with the spirit and would just say: Yea so what, what’s your point? Then again I know oh so many Christians who have never awaited an answer, especially when saying grace, when blessing a trip or a spiritual endeavour.
I think there is something here for us to take on board. If we are to walk with the spirit and if we are to be like Jesus and only say what we here the father say and do what we see the father do…. well then we need to start praying gods blessing over even the smallest action, conversation, meal, fellowship and expect an answer from the divine. If we are praying god’s blessing and then not waiting for god to actually bless it, or to accept our offering, how can we proceed with boldness and assurance that we are in the will or the initial aim of the divine? If we do not wait for the answer or even worse, don’t expect one, are we not assuming that god wants what I want? That our will is in perfect alignment with that of the divine?
I have now decided that when I ask for god’s blessing for food (which I have started doing again) or when I pray for blessing over something, I will do what I have done over all my other major decisions that I have prayed over, wait for that acceptance, the peace of god, the clarity of mind and the sign that it is ok to proceed. If we truly live in the embracing love of a living god, then we must simply expect god to answer when we pray, to accept our offerings and to interact with our daily lives through this divine spirit of love that is called “the helper”, whom is promised by scripture to guide us through our lives.
My challenge to you is, when you prayed last, what did you expect?