Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Unity and Love

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 -- Week of 2 Easter
Monnica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387

To read about our daily commemorations, go to our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:
http://liturgical.wordiness.com/category/holy-women-holy-men/

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 958)
Psalms 119:1-24 (morning)        12, 13, 14 (evening)
Daniel 2:17-30
1 John 2:12-17
John 17:20-26

As I was reading the portion of the story of Daniel that we have for today, I began to think about the role of sages and seers and wisdom people throughout the ages and in our generation.  I began to think about some of the wise people who have spoken with the kind of deep authority and authenticity that Daniel exhibits.  It strikes me that there are some common themes that we hear from the sages. 

Two of the common themes echo from today's words from Jesus in John's gospel.  Jesus prays to God "that they may be one, as we are one," and he asks "that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."  Unity and love, oneness and compassion are two great themes that the sages and seers and wisdom people extol.

Over and over I have been struck by how often deep thinkers have come to a recognition of the oneness of all humanity.  Sometimes they speak of it in terms of our shared experience.  We live together on the same planet, breathing the same air, drinking water and eating food from the same earth.  We live and love and hope for similar dreams.  Anyone who has thought for long or opened their heart very widely has had an experience of kinship and identity with the rest of humanity.

Sages and mystics who follow deep spiritual intuitions seem always to reach the place where they experience the whole of humanity as a unity, a oneness.  And they testify that this oneness is also unity with the ultimate.  Jesus speaks to God as Father, praying for us, "that they may all be one.  As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us." 

Whenever we sense the intimate union of humanity, and whenever we connect that oneness with the ultimate, the divine, inevitably we are filled with love and compassion. 

There is a practical way to exercise that intuition of unity and love, the Golden Rule. 

All of the enduring spiritual traditions have their own ways of expressing it, but the Golden Rule is a practical moral and ethical outgrowth of this compassionate realization that we are all one.  Confucius put it this way, "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."  In Matthew's gospel, Jesus says, "In everything do to others as you would have them to to you; for this is the law and the prophets."  (7:12; also Luke 6:31)  The "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic" in 1993 declared the Golden Rule as a common principle for all religions.

There is also a practical spiritual practice to exercise our intuition of unity and love. 

If we begin by grounding ourselves in the infinite love of God, allowing God to fill our being with divine light and compassion, we can embrace and acknowledge our union with the divine.  We can feel the mercy and compassion of God for us.  Then, in ever widening circles, we can send that infinite blessing of love and compassion out -- first to those who are close to us, to those who share the circumstances of our life.  Then to the wider community among whom we live.  Then in an expanding circle, we can send the energy and intention of love and compassion in an ever broadening radius until we are blessing the whole earth, showering its people and creatures with the infinite, divine, unifying love and compassion in which we all live. 

Some people like to imagine this as expressions of compassion pouring forth from a loving heart; others know it as deep feeling from the gut; some sense this expanse of loving compassion as living water, radiating light, or waves of energy. 

Christians pray this way as a participation in the eternal prayer of Jesus -- "that they all may be one...  I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me..., so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Unity and love.  Oneness and compassion.  This is the essential character of reality the sages tell us.  Insofar as we will be real and wise and alive today, it will be related to our own recognition of this underlying reality of unity and love.  

Lowell

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Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
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Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

3 Comments:

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Obama's take on the golden rule.

Do unto Osama as he has done to us.

 
At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus political message would be tagged as "socialism".., how ironic that a non Christian group of men and nations took up this banner instead of us...

 
At 8:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Socialism? really, you bought into that lie. How about you defend that claim.

 

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