Today I heard someone who is the head of a religious congregation preaching from the pulpit. He was sharing a passage from The New Testament- John 3:3 – “Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” While I understand the intention behind it and honor the practice of Christians who truly live their beliefs each day with love, not judgment and hatred of those whose beliefs differ, the way it was delivered and what he went on to say, in a room with people of varying faith traditions, it sounded condemnatory with the implication that the rest of us who didn’t ascribe to this teaching had better prepare for someplace a bit hotter at the end of our earthly incarnation. Fear based language at its finest.
A few years ago, I experienced a miracle (although I do notice them daily, since my favorite definition comes from A Course In Miracles as a ‘shift in perception.’) when my car ran out of gas on a highway on a cold and windy night. I misjudged how much I had and was running on fumes when it sputtered and stopped. I called AAA to bring me some nourishment for my Jeep’s tummy and was told that it might take an hour or more. I wrapped a blanket around me and had a celestial conversation, asking for support to arrive sooner. Cosmically coincidentally, I was on my way home from hearing Neale Donald Walsch who wrote Conversations With God, speak at a local venue. Less than 15 minutes passed and a police car pulled up behind me. The officer got out and walked to my car. I rolled down the window (good thing it was manual) and he asked if I needed help. Sheepishly, I told him that my car’s tank was on bone dry empty. He offered to take me to a gas station to fill up a container and bring it back so I could drive back and fill up the tank. As I sat in the back of the squad car (the first and hopefully the last time), he said, “It’s funny, I don’t usually patrol this stretch of 611, but something told me to come by here.” I smiled and told him what that ‘something’ was. He then shared with me that he was a “God fearing man.” My smile turned upside down when he said that and I responded that I was “God loving and not God fearing.” Just as with the minister’s scripture reading, I knew what he meant, but still felt gob-smacked by the thought that in the face of God, in the heart of God, we should have anything to fear.
The God of my understanding embraces all and expresses that no one is outside the circle of love and grace. Both, in my mind, are unearned. Do people do harmful things that are labeled ‘evil’? Sadly, yes. Does God disown them because of it? I don’t think so. My take on it is that through love inside and love in action, those things that we as humans do that are expressions of our own pain can be remedied. We can reconcile again by turning to whatever good Source we know to guide us to healing and back to wholeness. We can see ourselves through God’s eyes.
http://youtu.be/ZsASBIDsvN0 Through The Eyes of God by Barry Goldstein