As I was reflecting on this week’s scripture passage from Mark’s gospel, the following words hit me between the eyes:
As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
In the spirit of Imagination/Contemplation, I immediately thought of how these words might apply to me and to my own Divine calling. Not to say that I am Jesus, but to say that I/we are called to be like him in love. The reason the Jesus story matters is because it invites us beyond the smallness of our human egos to the great love that dwells within and then seeks to be known through us. Jesus came to save us from ourselves – from the too small self that is ruled by our fears, unhealed wounds and unhealthy societal conditioning – so that the God-self within us can shine. Like Jesus, we are both fully human and fully Divine and we are here to unleash the inner Divinity that is imprisoned by all those things formerly mentioned. This is what Jesus did for himself and then tried to teach others, and which we are now called to do.
In the words above that bore a hole into my brain, I heard the calling of my own Soul – looking out over the horizon of humanity I felt deep compassion for all of humanity’s pain. I felt the struggle. I saw humanity’s pain and woe. I heard the cries and moans of complaint over all the difficulties and challenges of the human condition. And I felt their/our longing – the deep, empty, vacant longing for that which we cannot name – the longing that some have called “for God” and what others have described as “home.” The longing to be reunited with what we have lost – not even knowing what it is we have lost. It is the common pain of the human condition and I felt in every fiber of my being. We are all lost sheep just trying to find our way home.
And in the midst of the pain that I saw in the ocean of humanity, I felt my own pain. I remembered discovering that pain and finding the fleeting relief of this pain in my intimate relationship with (that which I call) God. I remembered finding enduring relief of that pain in coming to know myself – all of me. My personal pains, losses, struggles, traumas, betrayals, places of brokenness and imperfection. I found it in every rejection I had suffered and in finding my way beyond that suffering. I remembered and in the remembering – I re-membered myself. I put myself back together piece by piece by piece by re-locating every lost part of myself and welcoming myself home.
And then I saw myself helping those sheep find their way home because now I knew the way. This is what Jesus modeled and what he calls us to do – each through our own unique gifts. Some will be healers. Other teachers. Still others civil leaders, artists, craftsman, advocates, workers for justice, etc. etc. etc. We are each uniquely gifted to be a vessel of Divine Love in the world and in Re-membering ourselves we are then called to lead others home.
This is who we are. This is what we are called to do. It is not enough to simply call Jesus our “Savior” and “Our Lord.” In fact, we don’t even need to consider Jesus either of these things to find the kind of salvation that Jesus brings. Jesus saves by showing us the way to our true nature as One within ourselves, with the Divine and with all of creation, and then he asks us to do the same. Just like he did with the disciples. Jesus didn’t offer to feed the 5000 hungry people…..he empowered the disciples to do it. He asks us to do the same.
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