Minds Open to Understanding
Ignorance and minds opened to understanding, the two poles of consciousness described in our lessons for this Sunday. In ignorance we join the crowds who imagine violence will save lives. In ignorance we create nuclear weapons and call them peacekeepers. With minds opened to understanding, we see things as they really are and we begin the radical work of forgiveness, healing and building communities based on loving and serving others.
To be fair, in this week’s reading, Luke actually writes, “He opened their minds to understanding the scriptures.” How many times have we heard lessons and either glazed over at the strangeness of it all or simply reduced it to a history lesson?
It is the task of today’s seeker, today’s disciple and today’s church to understand how these scriptural stories, as strange or fanciful as they might seem, offer a contemporary description of and guide for our lives.
Each service, each sermon, each sacrament and each human encounter are opportunities for us to have our minds opened to what it means to live in a world where the values of God’s reign confront the powers and principalities of this world. Each time we listen, forgive and serve others, we fortify our identification with the Prince of Peace. St. Paul writes that we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is a life-long, life-altering task to continue on a journey that contradicts the prevailing world spirit. We slouch slowly towards Jerusalem as we seek to build a center that holds and a spirit that soars.
We also move back and forth between the sacred texts and our secular life. This alternating movement has a way of continually challenging us to spiritual growth or of tempting us to forget all about it. What happens instantly in scripture, is really the prolonged work of a lifetime. All the saints press on to make it our own, we continually challenge the remnants of prejudice and hatred that we have unconsciously absorbed. Sometimes we take one step forward and two steps back. But if we can see this slow process as a gradual transformation into the image of Christ, we move forward in faith, hope and love. We see the darkness of our ignorance gradually give way to the clear light of the spirit. When our minds are opened, life just begins to make sense in a new and renewing way. We become agents of consciousness!
Together, let us encourage each other and press on to make the resurrected life, our life and our essential truth.