Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoughts on Love and Service



As-Salumu Alayhum.


Peace be with you.

* * * 

God is Love and Love is God. 
There is no higher calling than to love one another, love one another, love one another.

The day I helped my friend bury her son's father out of a church in the heart of Dorchester was the day I lost all fear of the Catholic Church and its expectations of me.   The building that day was dry as dust, and it felt spiritually dead, but I took communion anyway, because I know I am complete and have no need of confession.

I do not need to be sanctified or forgiven again by any priest in any vestments, and from the moment I was baptized as an unwitting baby, or the moment I took my first Holy Communion when I was seven, or maybe it was in the moments after my first confession -“ I lied, I stole, I swore” - I have been in the Body of Christ, even if I did not always know it.  I have said plenty of priest-assigned Hail Mary's since that first communion, usually after confession, and more than once have found myself falling to my knees alone in my room with the Act of Contrition on my lips, and more importantly, on my heart.  "Oh my God, oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee." This has not happened for a while, but I know what I meant each time I said it, and yet….writing it now, it seems a little embarrassing to admit that I ever said it at all (but that does not mean I will never say it again).  I continue to say the Lord's Prayer to this day and every word continues to have meaning and depth. I take communion almost every Sunday at The Well - 6:15 p.m. at Hancock Church:  "Dynamic, centering, candlelit" - a place where we literally break bread and dip it in the cup of grape juice, where everyone is welcome at the table, no matter where they are on their spiritual journey, where we sing and worship to live music. I am the only one of a small handful who really moves when the music plays, but I am not the only one who cries when we sing “Carry the Light.”

You may not have noticed from my previous writings, or from your experience of me, and more importantly you may not care, but I am a spiritual wanderer.  I have been at a Baha'i feast (which was not a feast of any kind - please avoid this), I have drummed with Native Americans and the Mother Drum, I have celebrated the Feast of the Dead with the Wiccans, I have meditated with the Buddhists and chanted with the Hindus.  I have eaten the body of Christ with the Christians.  I hope to join in the Dance of Universal Peace with the Sufis, hear the horn at a Jewish temple and one day - if they will let me – I’d like to pray to Allah with the Muslims.  Why?  Because we are all one.  Because there is only one universe, one God, one soul we all share. We are all one, we are all one, we are all one.  And our highest calling from the heartbeat of the Universe, our only duty, is to love one another, love one another, love one another.  For me, the best way I can do that is to remember that in loving you, I am loving God. This means, if you stand in front of me with no clothing, no shelter, no food, I am called to cover you and house you and feed you. I have done this many times, and will continue to do so, even if only on a spiritual level – I may have covered you with my prayers, fed you with my smile and encouraging words, and gave you a home in my heart. I may have actually let you sleep in my house and eat my food (one boy walked out of my place, unbeknownst to me, with a pair of my mismatched socks).  I may have sent money so that others can help, and I have carried and lifted and wrote and answered and laughed.  I do these things because there is no real separation between us, only that which I create in my fear and suspicion and ego. 

Mother Theresa did not love the lepers and the outcasts and the poorest of the poor because they were so lovable and beautiful, per se - no, she loved them because they represented her God, as we all represent God, because we are all in God and of God, and God is in us, God is us. She welcomed them into her heart, she gave them herself, she gave them her God.

The things I believe about God are simple things, uncomplicated really, because I believe that the universe is so much simpler and more beautiful than we can ever truly know. The Great Mystery is just that – both Great and Mysterious.

I believe that, fundamentally, God is the energy that set and keeps everything in motion. It is the Life Force, the Light and the Darkness, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end and everything in between.  I am made and you are made of stardust and nothing you do or say, nothing I do or say will change that. I believe that God splits itself into countless bits in every moment and lives in everything, especially in us, so that it may experience everything all at once, everywhere, with eyes and ears and heart and flesh and blood and bone and bark and feather and stone and vein and moo.  I believe that as I welcome and embody the Christ in me, the Light in me, as I become my highest self, exactly who I am meant to be, I become the stardust from which I am made…and I become you.

There is no separation. I am you, and you are me. We are all one, and we are called by every religion to love one another. And there is no higher truth than that. 

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