Friday, August 10, 2012
A Shift In Vision
Lots of times people wonder what Christianity is all about
For some is it a matter of being good, following the rules
For others it is about believing the right thing….
For others, it appears to be about taking certain stances on ethical issues
But scripturally Christianity is about the kingdom… the Basilea
What the heck is the kingdom all about?
Is it about heaven? The after life
Over and over again we hear Jesus hint that the Kingdom is actually in us
Or that the kingdom is in our midst
In other words, the Kingdom is somehow here, it is about this life
"The Kingdom is near
The kingdom has been given to you
The Kingdom is like a mustard seed
Yours is the Kingdom of God"
And we hear Jesus say that the Kingdom is coming, is being pulled into reality
By us - and we hear him say that it is revealed, is brought into being by the way we live and act
There is a lot we don’t know, but one thing we do know --the kingdom is a radical thing
I would suggest it is in fact a matter of three things, symbolized by three Greek words
Yes, this is going to kind of be a little series... and I would like to start with metanoia (Thank BTW to Thomas Moore who got me thinking about all this in his wonderful book Writing in the Sand)
There is a parable in the Gospel of Thomas, one of the apocryphal Gospels, which goes like this: "Jesus said, the kingdom is like a certain woman who was carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking on the road, still some distance from home, the handle of the jar broke, and the meal emptied out behind her on the road. She did not realize it. she had noticed no accident. When she reached her house she set the jar down and found it empty…"
The kingdom of God is a matter of letting it all go -- of starting empty
And in that moment of "letting it all go" we experience metanoia. Meta means change. Noia means order.
So the kingdom involves a change of order. A change in the way your order your thinking, your heart, your life.
It is a matter of metamorphosis --- a profound shift of being
This is not an easy thing
It takes what the Buddhists call a "beginners mind"
Or what Jesus talked about when he said “be like a child”
Its often talked about as being “born again”
When we go to this place, the usual is turned upside down…
How we think, love behave, become radically different from what was (think the beatitudes)
How do we tap into the kingdom? How do we pull it into being… Ah, that is the hard part… and the easy part.
According to the parable from the Gospel of Thomas we begin the process by becoming empty. Gerald May says we do it by becoming willing, instead of willful. Traditionally we come to this place… its kind of like doing one of those silly trust games, where you close your eyes and just fall back, trusting you will be caught…. traditionally we come to this place by many paths.
The path of pain
The path of failure
The path of nurture
And we use so many tools to move us along the way…
As we stumble along whatever path is our.. we pray, we meditate, we read, we think, we talk, we worship, we are in silence…………and yes we sing..
Walking step by step with God
Letting God guide choice by choice
Experiencing, being God’s new thing
And we think differently
We see differently
and we act differently.........
To be continued........