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Fertilize compassion

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

From 1 John 2
As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false. Just as it taught you, remain in him.

What I think John means here is that Jesus’ touch, his pouring on of the spiritual oil, his anointing, changes the way we learn. When we look through our own eyes we're also looking through his. As Peter Weiss said in his play Marat/Sade, “The important thing is to pull yourself up by your own hair, to turn yourself inside out and see the whole world with fresh eyes.” For me that means the eyes of Jesus.

I think Jesus used his imagination to discover his intimacy with God, whom he learned to call “Abba, Father.”

A wonderful definition of imagination is “a violent pairing of opposites.” The warm friction I feel when I rub my hands together is available in my mind when I rub differing ideas together. I think that is something Jesus did ALL THE TIME.

In a book I’ve been reading about story-telling the author suggests that a story begins when the trouble starts. And usually the trouble equals the conflict between what we want and what we have, the gap between our hope and our reality. “Trouble is all the obstacles standing in the way of happily ever after.”

So the first question my character asks is, “What do I want?” Jesus really got that.

When I use my imagination the way he teaches me, the result in me is wider mind and other-people-point-of-view. After that, worry-free, generous compassion and thought-free sacrifice guide me into the way of Jesus.

St. Anthony gave away everything, walked out into the desert, lived to be a hundred, and was happy as a lark. Augustine read a book about St. Anthony, immediately walked away from his gluttony and lust, and became the father of modern theology. And it all started with a little anointed imagination.

I remember again my alma mater’s motto, “In thy light we see light.” And what amazing lights we see. With quiet confidence Jesus said to his disciples, “You will do greater things than I have done.” It is so hard for me to believe that.

But Jesus insists that I turn my worry-ing into warrior-ing, embrace my imagination and give myself away. He pours out his holy oil, and I don’t want it all to just drip off my self-protection. I want to soak it in.

Lord, it’s so cold outside! So I can’t just walk out there with no clothes on and let your anointing soak in with the sunshine. But please, Lord, even when I’m inside in my PJ’s, pour out your precious oils of gladness and give me a blessing of beauty to share. I promise I won’t duck. Show me how to lick my lips, and laugh.

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