Ancient Teaching/Modern Learning: Of cheeky Prayer

Posted: June 15, 2018 by Ty in Ancient Teaching, Modern Learning
Tags: , , ,

Ancient laws were fairly simple. Do not wipe out a village for small in fractions. We have an example still today with our Common Laws in Canada, because, well a system of justice makes things orderly. It provides a system that removes vigilantism and revenge. This was the kernel of the writings in the Hebrew Bible book of Genesis around eye for an eye. Jesus was trying to move the world beyond tribalism and revenge when breaking bread on the Mount he spoke:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

-Matthew 5:38-42

The challenge being we hear these words and have taken it to mean that we should be push overs, that we should allow for abuse, and be passive. That was not the case. The assertive measures given were a non-violent method of resistance that kept one safe in the times of the Roman Empire. Yes you read that right.

The cheeks: it was a turn of defense that closed the gap and threw the attacker off balance to allow for escape. Anyone that has studied non-violent crisis intervention, or some of the monastic martial arts ala Aikido know about this. It was not retaliatory in the vein of revenge but protecting one’s own life.

Coat/cloak: The simplicity being taught within Franciscans and other mendicant orders 1200 years on was that we are simply holders so do not be afraid to lose consumer items. The protection in these words being that you were already seen as a not entity, and as such if you do not give up the shirt your life is forfeit, so add insult to the one attacking the untouchable and give your coat. Do the holy action upon the holy person to reveal the hypocrisy.

Go the extra mile: Safety- it produces more space, shows you are willing to do more to aid a better society, again opening up the hypocrisy of the bully. No longer being the bullied but taking the reigns and empowering the by standers to come along side which flows into the idea of removing—

Begging/borrowing- truly live in the Jubilee spirit. Give what you give without expecting payment back or out of any other notion than being able to help. What form does helping take in your world today.

What steps of simple kindness can you take that keeps yourself safe, but resists an unjust system? That shines light into a darkness? That shows those who the world still casts aside they are fully persons?

The original eye for an eye law was to reveal we all carry the cosmic dust…these were getting beyond literalism and fundamentalism (and some cases extremism) to remind humanity: we are all in this together. The ripple effect, one little action can change things for the better. Assertive action can create transformation communally.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,[o] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

-Matthew 5: 43-48

What does prayer do? That is always a deep question, and one constantly explored. I remember sitting in Mass one morning (weekday masses after night shifts in emergency shelters always seemed to percolate the most thought). It was such this day as the priest spoke of praying for the dead. He stated quite emphatically it was not about praying them into paradise, that was done in the moment of death when all that kept them away from full/deep communion with the Holy Mystery was purged away (purgatory-rather instantaneous).

No, praying for the dead was about your own heart. It was about removing the shackles you have placed upon yourself so that you are able to reconcile a new day with you and the Holy within.

Contemplate that. Praying is about reconciling your whole being to the interconnectedness of itself.

Now, re-hear verses 43-48, three times:

First hearing, spend time with what emotions are drawn up out of your core being. Spend time with them, best way to release them is through some form of colour work whether it be paint, chalk, sidewalk chalk, crayons, pencil crayons.

Second hearing, spend time with the memories that wash over. Which one truly resonates and sticks out for this moment in time. Write it out as a truly F-you letter to the enemy. And place it with the colours.

Third hearing—just spend time with you. Remind yourself God is love. You are love. You are not what your enemy has led you to believe you are.

In the release moment when you are ready—destroy that which came out from the first two hearings. Spend a moment to grieve the ending, knowing you may need to come back to this moment, or you may not…but the prayer was about love of yourself, and releasing…so you may love your neighbour as you truly now love you.

Ready to embrace a true F-You moment of life?

Authentically L-O-V-E— YOU.

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