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Waiting without despair

Friday, March 2, 2007

Matthew 5:20-26
Jesus says, "I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. ...

"Anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment ...

"Anyone who calls his brother a fool will be in danger of the fire of hell ...

"Go and be reconciled with your brother; then come to the altar and offer your gift to God."

Psalm 130:6
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning ... more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Jesus does not insist that I abandon my self. Instead he simply asks that I treat others the way I want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). That golden rule seems so simple and is bedrock in every religion and every culture. Or should be. We don't live that way, but we know we should.

Should. How about "we know we could?" Can I treat my brother the way I want to be treated? Is there enough of everything to go around?

During August 1976 I discovered an amazing community of young people in California. Called the Creative Community Project, these people shared everything. We sat in circles to eat meals, and broke peanut butter sandwiches into parts and gave them to each other. A little seemed to go a long way. I stayed with the group for two years, and the sharing continued. Their relationships with one another more accurately mirrored their personal relationships with God than any community I've been in before or since.

The 60's and 70's word for this kind of group was "commune." We shared our home and our food and our clothes and our money. Since then I've been in many groups where we share some of those things, sometimes. And in our family we have practiced sharing it all with each other, with some success.

But there is always a gap between the ideal and the real. Jesus' call to radical and complete freedom from the "grasping self" rings in my ears. What haven't I given? Who isn't in "my" community? As my friend points out, when there is a "we" there is always also a "they."

Enter the psalmist's soothing words ... "my soul waits for the Lord." God's touch and grace changes everything, makes all things new. My failures are erased in the light God sheds on all of us. That is what I wait for.

Come, Holy Spirit.

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