Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sheep or Goat

Rob Bell in his book, "What We Talk About When We Talk About God"

“Jesus told a story about a king who was making decisions about his subjects, separating people "as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." The sheep, we learn, are the ones who brought the king food when he was hungry and water when he was thirsty and clothes when he was naked and looked after him when he was sick and visited him when he was in prison.

The sheep are confused when they learn of their good standing with the king.

"Uhhhhhhh, king?" they protest. "When were you hungry or thirsty or naked or lonely or sick? We've never seen that!" They ask because of course they understand the king to be quite wealthy, not lacking in basic necessities like food, clothing, and friends.

He responds, "Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

The king here makes the astounding claim that he is somehow present with and standing in solidarity with all of them, and that love and care and compassion shown to others is love for him.

Jesus tells stories like this one often, stories that speak to the divine presence in every single one of our interactions—a unity, power, and love present in all things, hidden right here in plain sight.

This story Jesus told raises the haunting question: What are we missing? Is there an entire world, right here within this one, as close as our breath, but we aren't seeing it because we're moving too fast, we're separated from the source, cut off from the depths, our eyes not as open as they could be?

Jesus comes to help us see things as they truly are, moving forward, with greater and greater connectivity, higher and higher levels of hierarchy leading to holism beyond even us as all matter is permeated by the redeeming energy and power of God.

The first Christians had a way of talking about this massive movement, bigger than any one of us, that's sweeping across human history: they wrote that God is in the process of moving everything forward so that God will be over all and through all and in all, and in another passage in the Bible it's written that God does what God does so that God may be all in all.

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