SABBATH REFLECTION: Luke 13:22-30
One certainty in life, is death. It is the only real certainty we are born into. EVERYTHING around us exhibits the truth of this ‘Life/Death/Life’ (Clarissa Pinkola Estes) cycle. We are all here because of ALL the deaths that have preceded us and that have brought forth the continual unfolding of New Life. So it stands to reason, that when death occurs, New Life emerges – it is the cycle of the Cosmos. In the Christian world we call it the promise of the Resurrection, which is deeply personal AND COMMUNAL.
When we ponder this Mystery, in its many depths and layers, we are clearly reminded of just how CONNECTED EVERYTHING IS. We are all part of each other and the whole natural world. What gives you life, gives me life and so on. Nothing is separated – everything is part of the Whole – EVERYTHING IS BECOMING. As Richard Rohr says: Everything Belongs.
This seems to be the point where we (as Christians and others) come into difficulty with understanding who we truly are. If we can believe the Whole Cosmos as one ‘Wholeness of Being’ (Ilia Delio), One Body, then it means that whenever one part of it is wounded or broken in any way, that the whole Body feels and experiences this woundedness – whether we are conscious of it or not. If our own personal body is in any way wounded, it is felt and experienced within our whole being. If we break an arm or a leg etc, we, and our bodies healing capacity quickly come to its aid. Our bodies are equipped with many healing properties as is the case with our Cosmos. A wound/death of any sort is felt and experienced throughout the Whole Body and Resurrection then becomes its objective – always MORE BECOMING – MORE LIFE.
What a heart breaking tragedy it is then, when ‘the master of the house’ says ‘to the one knocking on the door’: ‘I do not know where you come from.’ In other words: I do not know you. Any religious practice that is solely focused upon my own personal salvation (Wholeness) to the exclusion of anything or anyone, will find themselves ‘knocking on the door’ and the reply will be: ‘I do not know where you come from.’ But through Grace even in this dark place, Resurrection is the Promise offered if we can receive it.
Personal salvation makes no sense whatsoever outside this Wholeness. We don’t like to hear this, and to be truthful, it is not what many of our Christian churches have taught. We are still teaching ‘personal salvation’ as a notion separated from the Whole. The ego self delights in dividing and separating and declaring you are in or you are out. There is no such thing. Once we come to some understanding and experience of this, it will ignite the flame of Love within us, and deeply connect us into this ‘Wholeness of Being.’ We will no longer be able to turn our backs on those of us who are wounded or suffering for whatever reason, or even on our own woundedness. This ‘awakening’ is the ongoing and unfolding birthing of Love. Here there is no need to be ‘knocking on doors’, because here WE ARE KNOW IN LOVE.
Jesus says to us today: ‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’ Luke, the Gospel writer, is wanting to SHOCK us ALL into WAKING UP. And, it seems, we need to be shocked into it. AWAKEN we must. We are all in RELATIONSHIP with each other, with our Earth and our cosmos, whether we realise it or not. So, for example when we have political leaders of all persuasions that bury their heads in the sand when it comes to things such as Climate Change (just one example), that is affecting our island neighbors shockingly, and while we in Australia mostly sit here in our ignorance, and then our Deputy Leaders response tells our island neighbors, they can ‘keep coming here to pick our fruit’ when they are in dire straits, while we continue to resist making any leadership decisions, what do we think this ‘master of the house’ will say to US when WE start knocking on doors?
I say ‘WE’ here, because it is within our deathly silence, apathy and resistance to pressure our politicians and DEMAND LEADERSHIP, (which reveals our own LEADERSHIP) or any leaders in fact, to act with justice, sincerity, generosity, integrity, compassion, courage, vulnerability – to act on behalf of the WHOLE, not just MYSELF or my own little isolated and COMFORTABLE community. But FIRSTLY we must DEMAND the same standard of LEADERSHIP from ourselves – only then can we legitimately demand it of others.
This is what Jesus is saying to us today and he isn’t mincing his words because he is LONGING FOR US TO AWAKEN INTO THIS WHOLENESS of LOVE WE ARE: ‘I do not know where you come from’ he says with a breaking Heart. Why are we so slow to understand? Why have we become so fixated on our own individual ‘salvation’ (Wholeness) at the expense of others? It would be like cutting our legs off from the rest of our body, because we believed they could survive on their own without the rest of the body. When we cut the wellbeing of others out of our lives or consciousness, then isn’t that exactly what we are doing? SUCH ARROGANCE AND IGNORANCE is destructive and destroying us. This attitude goes directly against Love, which is the Spirit of Love giving Life to the Whole Cosmos. Please God we will not find ourselves ‘knocking on doors’ only to hear those painful words: ‘I do not know where you come from’. But we must also remember, that even in this place, Resurrection is Love’s Promise. ©Annemarie Reiner