By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge
In our Jesus story (Luke 17:20-27,33), I could imagine Jesus breaking into the Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine” as he walked with the Pharisees in this passage. Talk about a group of people seeking for some definitive … these were the guys. What was definitive for them – the be all and end all of life – was the law. They believed, like so many modern-day Pharisees still believe, that if they lived by the strict letter of the law, they would win God’s favor. So, they sought after God’s kingdom all the time – looking outward to laws and rules to follow to please God.
Jesus tells them they’ve got it all backward. You can obey the laws all you want, Jesus says, but until you realize where the kingdom really exists, all your effort will be in vain. You can obey every single law ever written, but if you don’t realize that the Holy lives within us – that the Kingdom of God exists inside of each of us – all that rule keeping will make us nothing but vain morality cops, angry at world that won’t keep the rules we believe God gave us.
We can’t make our lives secure with anything outside of ourselves, Jesus tries to tell them. All the rules, sacrifices, jobs, relationships, possessions that we cling to – they are all impermanent. Like our egos, they wither like grass. The only thing that lasts is your eternal Self, that soul that is neither born nor dies. This life we are living is but a parenthesis in eternity – we are all part of that eternal being, that field of quantum energy that is the Holy. Our task in this parenthesis, is to cleave to that Holy self, welcome it, and live into it so we can be welcoming, compassionate, loving, peaceful and merciful human beings to everyone we meet in this life.
This is our only task in this world, Jubilants, to welcome ourselves and others without condition – which is part of that soul expansion we talked about in our last via – opening our soul until everyone, including ourselves, are made welcome. Whatever we do in the meantime … whatever career, mate or house we choose to live in … is our chance to reflect to the world that inner peace and love we have achieved.
We are here to change the world, Jubilants, to make it more welcoming for us all. But the world out here only changes when we change the world in here. If you want the world to be more loving, more just, more peaceful, more joyful, then cultivate all of those qualities in yourself, and the world will change.
Think that’s a bit Pollyanna? Imagine if we all understood that. It’s what Jesus was trying to teach … when you realize the kingdom is already here … already in you, then you understand that the only world you can control is in here – and if we would all embrace that idea, then our outside world would reflect that.
Be the change you want to see seems like such a trite statement … but it’s absolutely true. You cannot change any other person in this world. You can only change you. Stop frustrating yourself by arguing with those who disagree with your or getting angry at the way the world is changing or the direction we’re going. You can’t change any of that … without changing yourself first.