Brother Jonathan Maury of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist recently wrote:
“Our connectedness to one another in God rests on the foundation of all those who have gone before us as believers – a lineage of saints stretching back to Jesus’ first disciples, those without whose witness to God’s mighty deeds we would not ourselves be disciples.”
I am a man of faith, who, as a young man, turned my back on religion because of the innate hypocrisies I saw. As I aged, I began to realize that religion is more than a narrow theological view. The word religion comes from the Latin religio, which means to reconnect, to retie the binds that hold us as a people.
I also discovered that the message for Christian churches is rooted in the experience of Jesus’ disciples and the first century evangelists, not the Roman leaders of the 4th and 5th centuries. An open church, meaning one that is willing to view the Gospels and other biblical writings as a means to understand our world today, means that the message spread throughout the ancient world, needs to be re-interpreted for every age.
This is becoming more difficult to do with all of the constant distractions that try to remove us from the good words that the Bible and other religious writings bring us. By this, I mean the writings that religions all over the world use as a basis for their beliefs. Each of these religions interpret the messages in a different voice, but we all pray to one God.
To reconnect with these ancient philosophers can be challenging, but all profess the message of Love that Jesus offered for all who recognized that God is part of our lives, or as Jesus said, the kingdom of God is within us. Loving God is the highest love we can experience, but, this divine love allows us to look at each other, see God in the faces of all we meet and love them for who they are, not what mistakes (sins) they have made.
However, we must go further; if we are truly to Love God, we must love all He created, from all people down to every grain of sand on a beach. We must love the earth itself and the plants and animals that inhabit the earth along side of us. If we can do this, we can truly recognize the re-connection that we so longingly crave to find.
We have not done this. We have missed the chance to be able to experience a truly divine existence, experiencing all that God has given us.
I lament the lost opportunity; none-the-less, I will not stop trying to change my little part of the world. I strongly believe in the ripple effect. I know as a teacher and later as a college professor, I planted seeds in the minds of my students will, eventually, blossom into a greater opportunity to improve how mankind lives on the planet Earth.
One of my favorite folk groups of the 1960s was and still is The Brothers Four. They sang a song called “Well, Well, Well.” The lyrics included the line: “The Lord brought a flood, but a fire next time.”
Now, I am not one who takes all of the biblical stories literally, but occasionally, I reflect on this song. I know God loves us. Otherwise he would not have created us. He gave us free will to do as we saw best.
Will our free will cause the Earth to give up on us because of the way we have spoiled it?
I trust that mankind will learn to reconnect with each other and in doing so reconnect with the beauty and the necessity of a strong vibrant planet.