Today I saw a few more headlines about the Obama’s search for a dog to come with them to the White House. I find it amazing how much press this dog is getting and indeed how much it will get once chosen! And you know what? That dog will have NO IDEA how important, well known, famous and powerful a family it will have become a part of. It will simply love unconditionally, totally blind to human judgement.
If the dog for some reason would need to be taken out of the White House and given to another family – say, a poor family – it would be blind to the difference in surroundings, the difference in the economis status or importance of the family that it is now living with. It would simply continue to offer love.
Perhaps we all could learn something from our canine friends. Perhaps we could all benefit from removing the filters of judgement ingrained in us and become blind to the differences in people. I know that I would do well to become more like a dog. God knows that I have filters of judgement within me of which I am not even aware; yet they are there. Perhaps today I could begin opening myself to a wider circle of people and, like a dog, welcome whoever walks into the path of my life, no matter their appearance, economic status, belief system, political persuasion, etc.
Matthew 8: 18-22
“The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
Have you ever felt that way before? Have you ever felt like your were homeless and there was no place where you could relax and simply be yourself? Certainly as a gay man, I have yearned for a community of faith where I could lay my head and a society where none of us had to hide.
If we are to truly follow the way of the Christ we will at times feel homeless. We will find ourselves rejected at worst and uncomfortable at best in the presence of some people, even some religious people. As we push the envelope of who is welcome and who is not, we will increasingly feel out of sorts and homeless. As we break religious law or practice in favor of love and compassion we will increasingly find ourselves unwelcome in our own homes. Truly following the way is not easy, and at times it can be a lonely journey. I have wondered and still wonder at times if there are others like me out there? One of the reasons why I began this blog is to provide a sense of home for those who feel themselves to be outside the walls of the religious norm and a point of connection with others who feel the same. It’s my “shout” out in cyberspace to others like me. I hope that this is and continues to be a place where people can find comfort in knowing there are others like them out there; a place where those of us who live “outsidethewalls” can find home.
Instead of concentrating on how I am feeling homeless, how am I myself making a home for others to lay their heads? How am I providing a space and a heart where others who feel homeless can find the bread of compassion and wine to warm their hearts?
Have you ever looked at a baby, or perhaps a dog, or your Partner and felt such love that you spontaneously said “I could just eat you up!” It’s like close is simply not close enough in those moments. In the tradition in which I was raised, today the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated. While I have never resonated with atonement theology (Jesus, the innocent lamb who is sacrificed for my sins to appease the angry god) there is something about the eating and drinking that does resonate with my spirit.
This concept of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb who was sent to die for my sins to appease the angry god seems to me a direct influence of other religions of the time and the making of sacrifice to appease the gods. Again, this has never resonated with me. But the image of a God who wants to and is literally inside us does resonate with me. The experience of loving someone so much (as I wrote of the other day) that you literally want to walk inside them does resonate with me. And this gets to the essence of what Eucharist means. It is about me getting inside someone and him getting inside me. It is about an intimacy that is peaceful and holds no fear. It is about a presence that says we are never alone. It is about the vulnerability and complete safety of being known as I am . . . and loved. For the rejected ones of Jesus’ day, it was about being welcomed to the community. It was about the crumbling of cultural and religious boundaries where there was no longer “Jew or Greek, slave or free, woman or man.” All were welcome and all were one. It is ironic and unfortunate how divisive this table has become and, in some communities, how exclusive. This is not the table of the Christ.
“Where two or three are gathered, there am I in your midst.” It’s as simple as that. The Divine so in love with us that he/she could just eat us up!
No matter what others may say, no matter who you are, know that you are welcome at the abundant table of the Divine.