Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Teachings of Jesus No. 6

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

We all come into life with a pure heart and we never lose it. None of us. This I truly believe. It’s the possession of every precious infant, baby, every child. The “terrible twos,” I know, contradict this, but that aside the heart of every human is wrapped in purity and contains the seeds of goodness in endless supply. Children are our greatest example of this. Their purity of spirit and soul is what we want to keep alive. None of that ever goes away. The struggle to keep that spirit healthy within us, however, is a colossal, roughhouse tussle of personal endurance and inner strength as we develop and mature and get immersed in the realities of life. Because out there in the real world things can get ugly devastatingly fast. And in the midst of the ugliness no one sees God. There is a scene in the musical “Wicked” where the good witch Glinda, trying to accept Elphaba, the green wicked witch of the West, asks, “Are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?” The life of Elphaba answers it. Inside her was a pure heart, a heart fighting for justice, for fairness, for the underdog, for animals, and freedom, and for herself; the right to be a person of worth in spite of what had happened to her; in spite of the wickedness she wore, like her black cape and spiked hat, symbols given to her by those who wanted her wicked and rejected because her unique greenness clashed with the ordinary sameness of the masses; because, simply, she was different. And this is where God comes in. We learn to see God here: in others, all others; in nature, in art and music and theater, in books and movies; in the sublime, the sacred; but also in the earthy, in the human, in weakness, in suffering and in tears. God comes out of the glory of the clouds and meets us in our all too gritty humanness, in the wickedness we wear, in the agony of souls in want. Which is really nothing more than our search for goodness within ourselves and in others. My grandson Austin puts his hands on my face and looks me in the eyes, his blue eyes beaming, he smiles and he sees past my wicked costume and feels something pure touching him from my heart. And me? When I look back at him, I see God. I see love; something that transcends my fears and all of my impairments; all that is still incomplete within me. Neal Young’s great song line, “I want to live, I want to give; I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold,” gets close to what Jesus said. Keep seeking the pure heart—in ourselves and in others. It is a lesson we so rarely learn. Jesus would have us to keep trying. 

(Note: While cleaning up old posts I inadvertently deleted this one. It was posted earlier, then dropped off. It's out of order but now it's back in the list. ~ TM)

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