Posts Tagged ‘Light’


I could spend some time writing about the Joker movie I just saw, and the social commentary around stratification, promises, mental health, illness, and the entrenchment of hate to the point one can be dehumanized and become the other—note how this movie may tie into our reading of the Minor Prophets (the Twelve) in the Hebrew Scriptures. Which brings us to Habakkuk and the prophet that spoke out against betrayals of covenant and contracts.

Minor prophets as we know, with a wink and a nod, are simply short of word count, nothing more…yet they can be read timelessly as any good holy scripture can, they are not soothsayers or fortune tellers, rather they point out the injustice of the system. Habakkuk can be speaking anywhere from 687-536 BCE (don’t you love archaeological text dating?).  He zeroes in though on Babylons betrayal of Judea.

Say what? A political power breaking a contractual agreement or accord even? Surely this has not standing with our world today. Hmmm… if only one could think of examples in America, Alberta or Canada when a new governing party comes into play and rips up the previous governments agreements with employees, other governments for “reasons” (read: political partisanship and gamesmanship). It creates a volatile world, and community. As the Tedurah would would phrase it, a bad gal bladder, for humanity. It creates uncertainty and that the office is not what holds the power to speak for a collective, but only the whim of that political party until the next one takes over. If this is true why would anyone bargain or enter into talks wholly and impartially for the good of all, for the duration?

Once more the woes in Chapter 2 strike to the heart of what the cause is:

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.

-Habakkuk 2:9-10 (New International Version)

Woes, that moment of scolding plus, where it is laid out that what is happening is allowing a cancer to grow. It happens to sprout out of self-centredness and a drive for profit over people. Within the Prophet’s words in chapter 2 in fact, there is five woes brought forward in a snazzy tune as you note the excerpt from above…crimes of the oppressors, that is the agreement breaker– Babylon (that whole thing about not bearing false witness, or do not lie, or as Jesus said, let your yes be yes and your no be no).

The woes include plundering, extortion, bloodshed, degradation of nations and people and idolatry.

Take those five woes into the political climate of where you exist. What needs to be spoken up and out against? What is working to disrupt? This is the work of Habakkuk.

For as we move into the psalm of the third chapter the woes have been laid out, the ground work St. Paul would use for showing grace has been picked up, and now the psalm of hope rings out for those waiting and doing justice. Hope that it will bear fruit, for ya see, it may grow slower than evil, than discouragement or apathy, but when hope takes root, slowly but surely…

it grows.

Cultivate hope. Let the light shine in.


The hardest part of any change within is being present during it. For good or ill, the journey always has more points of discovery than when the destination is finally reached. But also in the journey one needs to realize when they have reached a point of a new journey beginning. Jesus opened up about the internal transformation, and how the ripples would affect the community.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

-Matthew 5:13-16 (NRSV)

Salt? What a complex thing to be compared to as a change agent. Complex how you say? It is about being a flavouring in the world. It speaks of salt of the earth. Creation. Being in the here and now. Salt has been used in at least 3 ways:

  • Preserve for meats (protein, needed sustenance)
  • To bring flavour out of foods.
  • Agent of destruction. Yes, you read that right. When an invading army had completed the burning down, proving their “god” was more powerful. The men all killed, children enslaved, women raped to eliminate the last vestiges of the previous people. Crops burned. Then the ground was salted so nothing could grow.

What does this mean to your own journey of self transfiguration? What are pieces of you that need to be preserved? Other pieces that need some flavouring (care and cultivation)? And pieces that just need that destruction (wiped out/healed of/moved on from)? The salt metaphor is for your journey, it is about you and the salt that is to be lived into. Then taken out into your community in love of neighbour. Personal transfiguration to communal transformation.

Are you feeling salty today?

The three-fold use of salt removes the muck that hides your true self. Transfigured and continuing to transform your light begins to shine. People notice, wonder why the change. Will you share what it feels like to take self-care seriously? To embrace your true worth? To stop listening to the exterior that has become interior monologue? Do not accept abuse. You are worthy. You are salty and that will continue to transform the good, and destroy the…well destructive crops planted long ago and today to stop you from being you.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter,[c] not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks[d] one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 5:17-20

crossanIt is rather simple. We tried for centuries, millennia even (up to this point in history how long had Homo Sapiens walked the earth?). All the ancient stories had pointed to this self-worth, love of neighbour by embracing the whole self (spiritual and physical). Not living in hate or our of fear, but in a more offensive four letter word:

L-O-V-E.

We used all the teachings to create a caste system of oppression, hatred and violence that is still perpetuated today.

That is the system being smashed. The Love thread is what is to be fulfilled.

The question is:

What will you do to let your saltiness shine outwards in Love?

 


We began questing, and have set up a regular rhythm. So expect a few reflective posts to come out of thoughts around and out of the Qur’an. Just like when the Rainbow Chapel was meeting, I continue to encourage folks to read spiritual works in groups together aloud. It is not only because most were crafted for this, but also allows for different life journeys to be brought to the text, and wisdom bases. Also, to have the generations involved is a whole other blessing, for how can the young learn to discuss what they believe if it is not modeled by their elders, and community happens when play happens and food is shared. As well, I encourage exploring other spiritual texts than those you are familiar with or from your tradition for it opens a new world of insight. As always I encourage use of the spiritual discovery tools discussed in other writings of mine to dive deeper into what the Holy Mystery is speaking to your soul.

Sura 1: The Opening:

  1. In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.

  2. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.

  3. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

  4. Master of the Day of Judgment.

  5. It is You we worship, and upon You we call for help.

  6. Guide us to the straight path.

  7. The path of those You have blessed, not of those against whom there is anger, nor of those who are misguided.

Remember as you journey through the words, it is not a literal understanding (as with Conservative Christian scholarship of the last 120ish years or allegory but rather the rhythm of contrast) it is the rhythm of contrast that reveals the unity that binds all through, with and within the Holy Mystery that is love.

The journey after opening brought us to the longest Sura 2, The Cow. It is actually quite a recitation that a student of the Hebrew Bible would recognize. Each time the Nation of Israel got a mulligan, they spent time—whether it was a leader, prophet, judge or king, reciting the story of the people and the law up to that moment in time. A device to remind the people of what the Holy had brought them through, and who they were as a tribe. As we began to explore the second Sura, this familiar journey was reminded. In the historic moment, Islam being officially the third religious sect sprung from the Abrahamic and Sarai Covenant with the Holy (first two: Judaism and Christianity, anthropologically this can be broken down to multitude more, but I will not digress). Reaching half-way through it showed a great discussion around monotheists, and polytheists as the contrast presented for those who have found the path and those that haven’t. Yet within the contrast what can be seen is not the challenge of how many spiritual beings exist, for all are within the one. What is seen to be judged is found in 2:14:

  1. And when they come across those who believe, they say, “We believe”; but when they are alone with their devils, they say, “We are with you; we were only ridiculing.”

That is, is what we say what we do…or do we only profess kindness while plotting only for our own glory?

How many recognize this challenge from other wells that they use to drink from the Holy River?

  1. Their likeness is that of a person who kindled a fire; when it illuminated all around him, God took away their light, and left them in darkness, unable to see.

-Sura 2:17

A reminder as the teaching the Holy light would shine into the darkness and confuse it had been around since the ancient myths of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods for humanity. What this verse does, is starkly remind us when we choose to live only for ourselves, to forget love of neighbour and self that flows out of the Holy River, the light never existed and all that is left is darkness.

Are you living the light or lying in the darkness?