Posts Tagged ‘universal spirit’

MARK 9:38-50

38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

42 “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell.47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

49 “For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

As certain as the sun rising tomorrow is the habit of human communities who think of themselves as holding exclusive property rights to legitimate authority and absolute truth. Despite the fact that Jesus himself cast his net of compassion so wide as to include all the world, it wasn’t long after his departure that his followers began to shorten their throw and worry more about who was right and who was wrong. Alas, if this story is more than the author’s criticism of his own community and reports back to an actual episode from the life of Jesus, then this habit of exclusionary thinking was present already then.

In our attempt to make sense of this tendency within human groups (of whatever brand or type), we can bring forward some recent reflections on the inner power of intercessory prayer. We said there that, rather than assuming a separately existing deity, ‘out there’ and removed from the dynamic urgencies of human life in the world, intercession can mean something of great relevance to our day if we interpret it as somehow a function of our personal participation in the universal Spirit or life of God, present in and throughout all things.

From this perspective the common ground and interdependence of everything with everything else is the Fact of facts that we ignore to our own peril. Compassion, then, would be the natural outflow of this deeper identification: you experience the suffering of another because you and the other are deeply and essentially one.