God as Peace
The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God.
I love the blessing from the end of the Eucharist service. I’ve often been caught by the way it matches heart with knowledge and mind with love. The blessing is old, so I doubt the matching is an accident. What might it mean?
The gospel reading this week from the Gospel of Thomas quotes a very direct, confronting saying of Jesus:
There was a rich man who had much money, and who said: I will use my money that I may sow and reap and plant and fill my storehouses with fruit so that I lack nothing. This was what he thought in his heart. And that night he died. Whoever has ears, let him hear.
Does the reading imply that the peace of God is death and heaven afterwards? I don’t think so. The saying sits in the context of many other sayings in the tradition about not hoarding, not storing away in barns. Some sayings apply to possessions, but others to emotional attachments, even to thoughts. The path the sayings describe is not one of filling one’s storehouses with fruit, but of emptying oneself of everything.
This is clearly, as they say in Tibet, “crazy wisdom”. We live in a society in which we are driven to accumulate: possessions, money, property, friends, love, knowledge. We build up our self-esteem, we increase our wealth, we gather knowledge. Surely asking people to give up the safety all this provides is just dumb?
How safe does all this acquiring make us, do you think? How peaceful is the filled-up life? How satisfied? How complete?
The Jesus sayings propose a different path, one of emptying out, of clearing away. As the blessing I quoted at the start implies, if we incline our thoughts towards simple devotion to the Divine Beloved (however you understand what that means) and seek the knowledge found in our own heart, then perhaps we find the “peace which has never departed”.
If the mind is full of chattering, worrying, anxieties and plans there’s just no time to try this experiment out. It’s only when we turn away from what seems like the normal thing to do and quieten down and listen, turn our intentions within in devoted attention and sit – then perhaps we notice that the Beloved was always there first, graciously pouring out Love for us and in us.
Perhaps, if we were to try that experiment and to see if the results might be what the sayings predict, then we might conclude that this crazy wisdom might not be so crazy after all.
So, until I see you next,
may the peace of God
which passes all understanding
keep your heart and mind
in the knowledge and love of God.
My blessings on your journey,
Service – 6pm
The service this Sunday will be a “Sophianic Eucharist”. The service praises Sophia or Holy Wisdom as the immanent, feminine face of the Divine and celebrates the sacred marriage between the immanent and transcendent aspects of Spirit. The service features prayer and chant and the sharing of the Body and the Blood in the form of bread and wine.
Sophia Café – 7pm
Sophia Café follows the service – stay around for tea, snacks and conversation. Each week starts with a short talk by someone from the community followed by open discussion.
Topic: Who was Simon Magus? (based on the essay by GRS Mead)
Presenter: Lynette Watters