“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Listening to great music from contemporary artists and the masters of classical works has the capacity to soothe and encourage. Sitting in a chair in the stillness of a quiet nook, my world is transformed from one of agitation and discontent to the truth of knowing without reservation that God is, always has been, always will be. Music such as Chris Tomlin’s “How Great Our God” confirms that others experience this same peace and awe in the presence of a Greater Power, one which defines for us compassion, acceptance, and love. Unconditionally!
I cannot temper my feeble attempts to be Christ-like with earthly conditions for extending or withholding God’s indwelling spirit. I cannot deny anyone the directive of Jesus to love my neighbor as myself. The color of skin, the ethnicity, the creed, the political affiliation, the sexual persuasion, the gender, and the theology of another brother/sister cannot be a determinant for sharing the grace of God which was freely given to me.
Most of us, especially me, are often conflicted by this wisdom from a gracious God. If you are white like me, male like me, Christ-follower like me, Democrat like me, and peace lover like me, then it is not difficult to also be Christ-like. My perfect world is one in which no disagreement or contention exists. My perfect world would also be totally black or white, right or wrong, moral or immoral, no shades of color filtering into it.
That, fortunately, is not God’s world. The God, which I know today, knew from the beginning that we would be a broken species fraught with discontent, envy, jealousy, anger, intolerance, hatred, bigotry, and “isms” of all descriptions. Yet, God loved us enough to give us messengers in human form who showed us how to evolve into the humanity with whom He would be pleased. I don’t have to pursue this transformation without instruction manuals. Each of our great religions have presented to us a path to follow which leads to enlightenment.
Enlightenment is not some mysterious element in a future eternity. It is not something to be attained by sustained adherence to rigid rules of morality. No, enlightenment is the discipline of practicing and sharing here and now in this lifetime the same mercy and grace which is freely available to every soul on earth. In this quiet space of the soul, a corner of absolute connection to Spirit, there are no distinctions, no fears, no judgements. We all are one with the great Oneness whom some name Allah, some name Krishna, some name Yahweh, and some name God. The name we call upon doesn’t matter. The heart we share does. How’s your good heart today?