SABBATH REFLECTION - 5th Sunday of Lent – 29th March 2020

The story of Lazarus is one that is known wider than the Christian world. As I pondered this wonderful story today several thoughts come to mind. How many times have I heard over the years and often said myself: ‘life is too busy’ – ‘the world has gone crazy’ – ‘I just wish things would slow down’ – ‘I want to escape from this madness’ – ‘something is so very wrong with our world’ – ‘I want to get away from the rat race’ – ‘I don’t have time to do the things I love’….. and the stories and experiences go on. And… here we are.

It seems to me we have been in the tomb with Lazarus for decades. We have made money our god in all the various manifestations that takes. It is money first then EVERYTHING else seems to come second place, even family in many cases. Again, how many times have we heard or said ourselves: ‘Once I have this or that thing then I will slow down’ – ‘Once I have a beautiful home then I will do the things I want’ – ‘Once I retire, I will be able to do the things I want….’ As many of us know this ‘time’ mostly doesn’t arrive. We seem to find something else to keep us from what we really need. We find ourselves tightly bound and many of us seem to be very unhappy, with anxiety, pressured with time lines, pressured with financial woes… We have become increasingly entombed by a capitalist regime that is all about money, money, money. Many people around the world and here in Australia have lost their jobs almost overnight, their dreams and may lose their homes and accommodation (for many that is the only life they know – homelessness). The loss and suffering has been heart breaking and a shock for many. The word ‘hibernation’ has come into our vernacular during this time. If we could all adopt this word, including (and particularly) big business and their ‘shareholders’ with outrageous appetites for more, more, more and be prepared to simply hibernate for the coming year, in that we make sure everyone has a roof over their head, has food on the table and is prepared to go without financial profit but live a simpler lifestyle, mindful of the hardship of others, be generous if we can and allow everything to sleep where ‘profit and more, more, more’ are concerned, then we will get through this time.

Put Capitalism on hold and allow LIFE to unfold before us. Many of us might feel like we are being imprisoned, because we can’t shop, we can’t spend, we can’t work, we can’t holiday, we can’t, can’t can’t….. But as the Buddhists often encourage, change your perspective. Instead of ‘can’t do’, what is it that we ‘can do’. We can now slow down, we can notice the beauty around us and in each other, we can listen to the birds, we can enjoy our children and teach them things we never had an opportunity to do because we were too busy working for more money, we can now escape the madness, we can get away from the ‘rat race’, we will have the time to connect with those we haven’t had time to do even if it is through phone or social media. There is far more we ‘can do’ that is real soul nurturing, than there is we can’t do.

Those Energies of Love are reaching out to us, and inviting us to ‘unbind each other, to let us go free’. We can either wallow in what we think we ‘can’t do’ or at least each day get used to a simple conscious practice where we ask ourselves what we ‘can do’ and open our Hearts to what we discover there. Below are some thought that came to me this morning….. AND THE EARTH BREATHED……

A great darkness suddenly came over the whole land. Fear became the ruler as so called freedoms seemed shattered. There was weeping and suffering and all certainty of anything was gone. But some quietly stopped, and pondered, and then learned to listen, and they began to hear a new song, a song of love, that pierced the Earth and pierced their Hearts. And the Earth began to Breathe as she flaunted her Beauty for all to see as though for the first time. The pollution subsided, the grey skies began to clear, the birds sang and the fish swam. Rain fell upon the Earth and people learned to dance in gratitude as they jumped like children in her puddles. They felt the warmth of the sun on their bodies and the coldness of the frost under their feet and the gentle breezes upon their faces in a way they had never done before. The sunrises and sunsets, and the night sky was finally looked upon with delight. There was great rejoicing in the world beyond the human. The Earth smiled like a baby looking into the eyes of their Mother, for she had never known what it was like to be so loved and so noticed. And then the people began to notice each other and every living creature. Compassion grew their Hearts in Love and no longer could they cry ‘go back to where you came from’ - No longer could they sing while others suffered - No longer could the people proclaim freedom for themselves, while others were imprisoned. As the people emerged from their self-made tombs, and daily learned the song of Love, the darkness subsided, and the Light began to shine upon the land. Through the darkness they learned the ‘joy’ of simplicity, of Love, of Compassion, of Connectedness. They would learn to tell of their stories down through the ages, of where they had forgotten each other and the Earth upon which they walked and how they had ALL suffered. They remembered where money had become their god, and all the suffering and dying it had caused. The whole people awakened and emerged from their misery. They were surprised that happiness could be found from within their dark and isolated days from each other, and how this happiness, poured Light upon the whole of the Earth until there was darkness no more. They sang and danced and wept with each other, with the Earth, and with every creature, and as they were brought forth from their ‘tombs’, they bowed down deeply to all that was before them and within them, And they came to know at last, what it was to be truly FREE. ©Annemarie Reiner

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