Brian’s Reflection: Friday, June 13, 2008
There's no use doing a kindness
if you do it a day too late.
We have used the Bible as if it were a mere
special constable's handbook, an opium dose
for keeping beasts of burden patient while
they are overloaded.
- Charles Kingsley, born on June 12, 1819, in England
Well, it has been such a hectic day (moving! and getting prepped for radiation-guiding implants tomorrow!) that I never got the Reflection done. So, I am using Kingsley’s thoughts for today. I’m sure he forgives me!
The second quote first. Aside from the fact that Kingsley is bang on, his insight is always a critical one. Tom Harpur and may others make the same point. The “institution” (read: church) dumbed-down the Gospel and the result has been that most people never discover the power of the Gospel message, that we don’t hear the call to radical transformation, that we never get the intended gifts that will make us fully and glorious human. Sad. However: I can’t help but wonder if “God” planned it that way – and if God did, I can’t think why - yet! This isn’t a “Christian” thing; it’s a Human thing. “Prayer” is the human language of Caring.
The first quote is very important, I think, in our understanding of Prayer. Remember that Paul said, “Pray always”. Why?? Because in Prayer, timing is of the essence. Prayer, as I boringly say over and over, is not to affect God. It is to affect US. The purpose of Prayer is to bind us to the Path that leads to Christ-likeness. We have to find ways to “Pray Always” - because there’s no use doing a kindness if you do it a day too late”. Kindness and thoughtfulness and generosity and compassion depend for their power on being there at the needed moment. Clergy are taught this: when a person calls for you to come to a dying friend, go then, even at 2am. That’s when the power of Divine Love radiates with all its full power.
My advice this weekend? Don’t accept any dumbing-down of Sacred Writing. (In our day, “fundamentalist” or “literalist” approaches.) It isn’t about keeping rules; it’s about Love, that core character of God and Humans. And, Work on your timing!