Jesus is the central figure within the Christian Biblical Narrative, and for good reason. Earlier last month, I wrote a blog post about “The Sacred Flow”. This has been an idea that has been heavy on my mind the past couple months, what with the division caused by the election, the violence in the world around us, and the seeming lack of connection between humanity at the moment. There will definitely be more coming from this vein of thought (Possibly a book this summer???) as I have a lot bouncing around in my brain at the moment, but for now, we will funnel the Sacred Flow through the lens of Jesus; Jew, Rabbi, Revolutionary, and Love itself.
As I said in my previous post about the Sacred Flow, it is that which ties us all together on a very deep and intrinsic sense. There is a spiritual connection that flows between each and everyone of us that draws us closer into connection with each other, and which draws us to go out and do great things out of compassion and love. I would argue that Jesus is one such person that epitomizes the Sacred Flow. You see, Jesus’ message is one of connection, compassion, and action.
Central to the message of Jesus is to serve the “least of these” (Matt. 25:34-40). Central to Judaism is the act of serving the poor and the needy above anyone else(Exodus 22:22, 23:6, 23:11, Leviticus 19:10, 25:25, 35, & 39, etc.) and that is the tradition that Jesus is coming out of. It only makes sense that He would then teach that to others. As well as this idea of service, Jesus also has a central message of Loving others as one loves themselves (Matt. 7:12, Matt. 22:34-40, John 13: 34-35, John 15:12-14) These two, namely loving others as we would ourselves, are crucial when it comes to engaging the culture in which we live now.
For those struggling with the pain and loss that the division has brought us, loving and caring for those who are labeled as “other” than ourselves is crucial. Not only is it important that we stand for unity with those that are being outcast, (Any number of minorities, both religious and otherwise, at the moment) but we must also find a way to love our brothers and sisters who are so angering to us that we want to punch a hole through the nearest wall. (Believe me, I am so there!) We need to be able to come to an understanding about WHY they feel the way they do. If there is any hate or bigotry or lack of compassion for the “other” then that is a problem that we must face head on, confronting that as vigorously as we can, but not everyone in the world today is a racist, white, homophobic, xenophobic, pussy grabbing male. Yes, those people exist, and to those we need to show them the example of love and help them to gain a broader understanding of the world around them. But for basically everyone else, there is a reason that they feel that way, whether they were let down by the housing market crash, their heath insurance went skyrocketing through the roof, their business did not have the government support it was promised, etc. etc. (The List can really go on for a long time) We have to be able to listen to other people’s stories and show them the same common courtesy that we would like to have, even if we don’t agree with them. You see, Love is patient(Even when what your crazy uncle is saying is totally absurd in your mind). Love is Kind(Even when your co-worker is not in the way that they react to your views). Love is not envious, boastful, or arrogant(That’s right, you don’t have all the answers) or rude(Yes, that means don’t interrupt them when they are sharing their side of the story). Love does not insist on it’s own way. (self explanatory I think) It is not irritable of resentful(Even when that “son of a bitch” gave you shade for your vote) It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but instead rejoices when Justice wins out (When those homophobic, xenophobic, pussy grabbing, bigots pop up, we can’t rejoin in their wrongdoing but pursue justice like a raging river [Amos 5:24]) Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love embraces those that are different than throwing a haymaker into their face. Throwing that haymaker will only leave them with a mark of pain from you (in the form of a black eye) and probably cause them to do the same to you. In that scenario, nobody wins. The way forward, the way of Jesus, the way of the Sacred Flow, is to let our hands fall by our sides and instead go in for a hug, not a fight.
You see, much of the violence of this world has been born out of a Myth called “Redemptive Violence”. There is a belief out there that states that if you punch back hard enough, the other party will just drop it. Most of the wars that have happened in world history are born from this myth of redemptive violence. The natural response to being hurt and attacked is to lash out even harder and stronger than the previous attack. That is not love. Jesus talked about this when we said to turn the other cheek (Matt 5:39) When we turn the other cheek, when we extend grace rather than fists, it halts the vicious cycle of violence. What if Christians actually stopped oppressing and victimizing Muslims? Christians and Muslims once lived in harmony with one another, as did Jews. However, somewhere along the line, one of the parties harmed the other, which led to a backlash, which led to a counter attack, which led to war, which led to mass carnage, which led to even more people being hurt, until it engulfed whole nations. This is the cycle of “Redemptive Violence”. I don’t know about you but that does not sound like redemption to me. We must learn how to turn the other cheek, even when we have been severely hurt by someone or some other group. Jesus, when arrested, scolded Peter for lashing out with violence (John 18 & Matt. 26). Jesus, instead of goading him on for “Defending His honor”, instead went and healed the man who had lost the ear, then scolded Peter for doing such an awful act. Jesus was the perfect example of non-violence to others. When we stop the vicious cycle of violence, then we can start the healing process of coming back into connection with one another.
When we come into connection with one another, we are able to begin healing. There is so much pain in the world that has been caused by division, hate and violence, but when we are able to move past that, when we are able to care for others as we would have them treat us; when we are able to stand up for the poor and the needy and the destitute, THEN, we begin experiencing true love. We can begin healing all that hurt and pain. When we listen to others, when we lower our fists, when we live out exactly what love is, then we are able stop these systems in their tracks. We are able to break down the dividing walls between us, we are able to support those who are in need of support, and we are able to finally bring redemption and restoration to areas of our life that have been riddled with pain, hurt, violence, and loss. The Sacred flow calls us to love. The Sacred flow calls us beyond dividing walls and instead calls us into divine connection with one another. The essence of the divine rests upon us and within us all. We are connected by the source which undergirds life itself, and through the Lens of Jesus, we have the perfect example of what it means to be caught up in the flood of the Sacred.
This is a personal blog and does not necessarily represent the views of Community Church or any groups mentioned here