FirstDay Sermon: The Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will see God. “A Bible Remix” –MotherJana

My faith, for me, has always been experiential, meaning that I see how God is working in my own life so that I can understand the larger laws that govern the universe. (As if I can understand the larger laws!) But God is very personal to me, and we’re intimate companions. I know God is always there, always ready to nurture and comfort, even when I don’t feel it. And yet the more I pray, the deeper I go in my practices, the more I feel God’s presence, the more I hear God’s messages, in all the moments of my life. (Except when I’m yelling at my kids. It’s kind of hard to hear God there.)

I totally understand why some people don’t believe in God, and I think it has a lot to do with the limitations surrounding language. People who call themselves atheists aren’t even atheists, often—they just take issue with the way “God” has been talked about and used. But even atheists, in scared and confused moments, pray.

Everyone looks for meaning in their life. Everyone. Everyone wants a deeper connection. Everyone. And God is not some removed overlord existing in a cloud. How did we get this stupid idea? God is essence. The essence, the golden pith, that runs through all things. And that Essence, that pith, is Love.

The most important thing on the spiritual path is to practice learning to see this Love, and learning to hear this Love’s music. (Other senses are important too, of course, but let’s just start here.) Unless we invite God into our hearts through our bodies, we can’t really know God. God just stays on the fringe, and we remain protected by firm walls we’ve put up. God is dancing and putting on a show but we’re wearing a veil and looking at the ground.

Everyone knows beauty. Beauty takes us out of ourselves for a minute, lightens our hearts. So beauty is something external that guides us toward the internal, toward searching, seeking, trying to understand. And if we’re brave enough, and we keep seeking, it is as though we put on new glasses, and the beauty multiplies in places we haven’t seen before.

I think that people who have it relatively easy in life, people who get the jobs they want and their partners love them back, or have always had a decent amount of money in their bank account, may have a harder time knowing the grace of God. This is just a theory, a total generalization, and I’m sure many people can prove me wrong. But when everything is going well and has gone well, you have less potential to witness divine grace. You don’t know fully the power of prayer, of the way the Great HeShe is looking out for you and dancing and singing alongside you and showing you each beautiful step. If everything always works out in your life, you can stay numb, and you have an excuse to be blind. You don’t need those glasses, because you’ve been seeing just fine without them. So why put them on? Leave them for somebody else.

This is why Jesus reached out to those who were suffering, those who were of the lower classes of society, those who weren’t necessarily beautiful. He had divine grace and knowledge, and he knew that when people who were considered inferior were given the gift of divine grace and divine healing, they would be humbled by that gift. They would be appreciative. If they got a new start in life, they would try their best not to take it for granted.

All of this is to say that your struggles in this life are an opportunity. They force you to plunge the depths of your being for what’s really there, what really exists in you. They encourage you to really see, so that when things get better, when the sun comes out, it’s so much warmer and more perfect than you imagined, and your whole body is filled with the desire to repay. And the cool thing is, you don’t even have to. God just wants you to be happy. Happy and grateful is enough.

The people who have struggled and fucked up and done stupid things, those are the ones who have the potential to receive God’s gifts of grace more viscerally. And God loves showing off. She just gets a kick out of that shit.

“Dancing Feet” by Vaibhav Mehta is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0

Categories: journey, spirituality and faith

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