Friday, May 11, 2012
For the Love of God!
The purity of faith is simplicity itself
There are three great words that come from the Three Great Monotheistic Religions
Moses brought the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt to Freedom in the Promised Land. Through the wilderness experience they also learned Obedience to the Law of God as Moses understood it and Codified it both in Levitical and Deuteronomic Traditions.
Thus the Children Israel found Justice. But one cannot ignore what happened as they took possession of the land and how many people had to die to make that possible. Current history raises questions of Justice for Palestinian folks as well as Israel takes possession of occupied land in the West Bank and elsewhere. How many towns were destroyed, how many millions driven into refugee camps, how many men disappeared into the night? The sad chronicle of this grave injustice is told well by Nobel Prize nominee Elias Chacour in two fine books; "Blood Brothers" and "We Belong to the Land".
Where is the Justice?
Christians are told that God is Love. Yet the chronicle of Christian experience records much that is not loving at all. A solid work by Diarmaid MacColloch "Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years" will be a sober reminder that the most loving religion on the face of the planet has also been the most violent and hateful. The above picture is a more recent reminder of The American Experience. Add to that Racism and Slavery, Gender Inequalities and more recently and currently marginalization and exclusion of Gay folks and the LGBTQ community from the embrace of Christ.
Where is the Love?
Every Chapter of the Koran begins with the words "God the All Merciful". For the devout Muslim, this mercy is a guide into a direct experience of the nature of God. Yet there are those who see violence as a valid option against the infidel There are too many who see this as an act of submission to the Will of God. There are many examples of this in history but the most unforgettable one for Americans would be 9/11.
Where is the Mercy?
Clearly these three Great Words; Justice, Love and Mercy have the capacity to bring us all together under the reign of God and it begs the following question.
Suppose God, assuming for the moment that there is one, were to look at the world as created by God. Do you suppose that God might consider sending special people to us to bring a message of Peace?
To one people God might send Moses to bring Justice.
To another the same God might send Jesus to bring Love.
To another this very same God might send Mohammed, may Peace be upon him, to bring Mercy.
Ancients might be guided by Confucius to Wisdom.
Others might hear of a pathway to Enlightenment through the teachings of the Buddha.
And still more may search a multitude of pathways to ritual and belief to understand human experience, and Yoga practice to search the human heart. Hinduism is an ancient pathway to God and many Gods.
Can the same God not use all of these magnificent Faith Traditions to guide and redeem human culture and human experience?
One wonders if these and other urgings may have been a response deep within the human heart that led us all in one way or another into the depths of the heart of God.
One cannot help but wonder, that if there were a God, all human culture would be the object of God's redeeming work, and that any number of Holy People might be sent to help us communicate this very holiness.
Why then do we take these very Holy Words and use them as excuses to marginalize, exclude, hate or even spill the blood of so many?
To use the Name of God as an excuse to kill anyone is profoundly as odds with the will of God in ALL Faith Traditions.
It is no wonder so many want to be done with God and religion altogether. Unfortunately God and religion are not going away. And when we see religion take on such horrible, grotesque and violent expressions, I cannot help but think of the opposite of God. And it behooves us whether we want to or not, to face up to our responsibilities and create a faith in the Image of God as God required in the first place according to our Biblical Tradition.
The Teacher I know and love was understood by the first among us to be the Love of God made Flesh and Blood. I shudder to think what will happen to us each in our turn as we get to report what we have done with the precious teachings we have received.
To sum it up as clearly and as simply as possible, Jesus said it well.
Love one another.
What is not clear about that?