IMAGINE @ Gabby’s Place
“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” —Martin Luther King, Jr
In my Lutheran worship service, after the prayers, “the peace of the Lord” is extended by the pastor. The congregants then take several minutes to greet each other with hugs, a hand clasp and a repetition of “God’s peace.” It symbolizes the attitude we are encouraged to assume in greeting the world with a universal message of love and compassion.
During the Christmas season the words “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” will take center stage in celebratory endeavors. It is a sentiment which our enlightenment envisions for all of humanity regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. It is a dream shared by John Lennon, IMAGINE, Martin Luther King, Jr., millions of pacifists worldwide, and me. Sadly, peace seems to be, in the Christmas season of 2017, the last item on the agenda of the world’s politicians, strident religious leaders, and governments. Just as a popular song by Lennon in the 1960s anti-war movement laments, “why can’t we give peace a chance” GIVE PEACE A CHANCE , we also wonder what is so tough about peace?
Indeed, why not give peace a chance? What is Larry doing today to give peace a chance? Hmmm, that’s where it starts, does it not? I can’t change the world, but I can surely, with divine help, change me; if each of the world’s 2 billion plus inhabitants could assume a commitment to peaceful co-existence, we might have a chance. Yes, I know, it’s a pipe dream, but, the process has to start somewhere with someone. Let it begin with me. As the Buddhist would ask, “How is your good heart today?” As Jesus would say, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I have within my being the solution to the worldwide pandemic called heart dis-ease. Lord, bring it on, let the cure begin with me.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” Luke 2:14 KJV
Folks, Gabby is saddened today reading all the bullshit coming from the leaders of the world. It’s kinda like watching a backyard brawl of 8 year olds bad-mouthing each other. “My guns are bigger than your guns. My daddy’s got more money than your daddy. I’m smarter than you. I’ll wipe your ass off the face of the earth.”
I go to music in the bad times. How about you? The theme of this blog is John Lennon’s “IMAGINE” , but one of my favorites is the song below. Crank it up
“When you can become little enough, naked enough, and honest enough, then you will ironically find that you are more than enough. At this place of poverty and freedom, you have nothing to prove and nothing to protect. Here you can connect with everything and everyone.” RICHARD ROHR @ CAC.ORG
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” ― Dave Ramsey,
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Janis Joplin ME AND BOBBY MCGEE
Same message, different messengers. Fr. Richard is speaking to our sense of spirituality, Dave Ramsey is addressing rampant consumerism, and Janis….well, we’re not quite sure which drummer Janis was following but all three of them speak of freedom from ourselves, from that inherent, squeaky, little voice which tells us that who and what we are is just not good enough. It’s the voice that enslaves us to religious doctrine, to consumerism and to self-doubt.
Fr. Richard is of the Franciscan order and a proponent of the ancient mystics including Jesus of Nazareth. He teaches that rather than climbing the ladder to heightened spiritual awareness, we need to descend, to strip ourselves of ourselves, and recognize our Oneness with all of humanity. When we lower and join into the world of poverty and oppression with the masses we then become One. When we earnestly harbor compassion and good will for all of God’s creatures, when we strip of worldly desires, we have nothing more to lose and thereby become free.
Like most of you, for me to grasp this concept of our reality is difficult. It requires a revolutionary definition of self which is totally alien to modern Christian orthodoxy and absolutely anathema to today’s popular “prosperity Gospel”. Mother Teresa, of course, would be an excellent role model. But, we cannot all give up jobs, families, commitments to go work in the slums of a 3rd world country. However, we can make a conscious effort to eschew the trappings and trap of wealth and consumerism by recognizing the wisdom and truth of the ancients and by living lives which uphold and honor the rights of all of God’s creation.
“…..nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too…” John Lennon IMAGINE”