Thursday, February 25, 2010
THE UNIVERSAL COMMUNITY
Chineese Dancers in Cloudgate Reflections--Chicago
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is’, or ‘There it is’, because the kingdom of God is within you.” --Luke 17:20-21
The lands occupied and ruled by men in biblical times were referred to as “kingdoms.” Jesus didn’t concern himself with man-made geographical boundaries, but he did understand the space around people’s lives, relationships, and hearts. A central theme of Jesus’ teaching was establishing a “kingdom of heaven” on earth as opposed to a planet of competitors and enemies. His approach was not to found a new religion but a new way of being human and living a life founded on love, healing, forgiveness and a profound respect for one another.
We now understand that there are no boundaries at the basic subatomic level of the universe. Everything around and within us consists of atoms and molecules vibrating in mostly space. Subatomic particles consist of a set of relationships that reach out and interconnect with other interconnections. These energy particles are woven together into a fluid universal tapestry in a continuous blending of matter and energy. This interconnectedness enables us to feel a part of the larger whole in present moment states of awareness with the uniting force that creates and permeates everything. William Law wrote in the eighteenth century, “Though God be present everywhere, yet he is present to thee in the deepest and most central part of the soul.”
Jesus asked us to be a healing presence wherever we are and to change profoundly. Then, both a philosophy of living our earthly lives to the fullest and developing a guiding spiritual vision determine how our lives unfold. This vision is rooted in love which naturally leads to the instinct to heal wherever we encounter human suffering. Hospice workers understand that terminally ill people can be healed but not necessarily cured. By taking risks and making mistakes, we better understand the courage and forgiveness needed to be citizens of the universal community. We can open the eyes of our hearts and rise above the unconsciousness of a culture based on materialism and self centeredness. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:45, we are born as human beings with a soul and pass on as spiritual beings--- retaining that soul which was tempered in the fire of human existence and nurtured in our attempts to follow how Jesus modeled human life while drawing upon the kingdom within us.
Love is the cornerstone the kingdom is built upon within our hearts. Jesus left no material evidence of his existence and evidence of the kingdom won't be found within the walls of grand institutions. Look instead for the work of God's spirit within people's lives and relationships. Is fierce competition and rampant materialism relenting in our culture or is hatred and consumerism consuming us?