I distinguish between the Tradition and the Church, the latter being the family of God loving and Man serving children of God and the former being the record of their evolution in time and space. For a long time we have conceived of Church as ‘Other-than’: it is a place you go, a service you attend, it has customs you follow, it is a place wherein virtues are glorified and vices condemned, it has uniforms, a hierarchy, and a chain of command, there’s magic and holy men with varying degree of access to the ear of the Almighty; it baptises our babies, marries our children and buries our dead. IT is Other. IT is not me. IT is what we think the Church is but to so think would be erroneous. IT is a derivative of the Church. IT is produced by the Church. IT is designed to support and reflect the Church but IT is not the Church. The Church has been called to establish the Kin-dom on earth not to convert people to a set of beliefs but to establish peace and equality, mercy and justice, righteousness and joy.
The Kin-dom is founded upon love and can only be established through unselfish service. The gateway to the Kin-dom lies in your own heart and consists in your personal experience of the saving truth of the Father’s love. Such an experience surcharges the soul with divine energy and empowers you to bear the fruits of the spirit. Knowing the love the Father has for you, you likewise know the love He has for all His children. Knowing that the Father lives in each one of His children conditions your response to and treatment of them, in that you will endeavour to so live that your actions will reflect the Father’s love for them. As we progress in spiritual grace and wisdom, as we become ever more suffused with the Father’s love, we reflect these Father-like qualities into our exchanges with our fellows. Thus spiritually illuminated our lives bear the fruits of the spirit, we exhibit in our lives the selfless and enlightened love of a parent as they attend to their less enlightened and immature children: gentleness, kindness, patience, humility, tolerance, forbearance, and generosity.
The Church is not a organisation based on certain beliefs it as a family whose foundation is the personal experience of divine love, the experience of knowing that God loves you, the experience of knowing and loving God, the experience of knowing and loving the works of God – His Universe and His children. The Church is, therefore, an Inspired Community, a community inspired by love, energised by love. Love is the first impulse and the last act of the ideal Church. The primary objective of the individual is to allow the nurturing and transforming energy of divine love flow through you in acts of selfless service. The more you remove self from the equation the greater the divine love revealed, while selfishness is an effective barrier to the divine love. So, how can the church effect positive social change?
Firstly, there is the realisation of the sufficiency of the Father’s love and His ability to meet all your real needs. This frees you, to a large extent, from worldly or material concern. Thus liberated you are also consecrated to the fostering the well being of your fellows. Being so consecrated calls forth an attempt at an honest assessment of how one lives one’s life. Does the way you live your life work harm upon others, directly or indirectly? If the answer is YES then common decency requires that you change the way you live. Devoted consecration to the health, well being and prosperity of one’s fellows is inimical to any system of oppression, abuse, injustice or inequality. Thus does the Church work to undo or rectify any social, industrial, political, economic system or inherited religious tradition that have enshrined or institutionalised inequality and injustice.
The Church is full of imperfect people, living in an imperfect world and it is conscious of the fact that we share this world with spiritually blind, wicked, manipulative, corrupt and self-serving individuals and groups. But as spiritually inspired individuals and community we know that we can overcome evil with good, selfishness with selflessness, wickedness with righteousness, greed with charity, hatred with forgiveness, fear with faith, ignorance with wisdom and understand that the dignity of the children of God cannot be besmirched by the acts of the wicked.
The Master has said, and so we believe, that the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against this consecrated fraternity of God loving and Man serving souls. The acts and plans of the wicked have their roots in their own self and are, therefore, bound to the finite and temporal and will inevitably be effaced by the Sands of Time, but the plans and purposed of the selfless have their roots in the Eternal and Infinite One who is their source and thus shall their plans prosper now and forever more. Thus safe in the knowledge of the Father’s love and overcare we can safely abandon and replace any unjust system or abusive modality.
Jesus taught us, ‘Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends’ but in his own life he went further in that he willingly lay down his life for even his supposed enemies and having invited us to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ Our love should not be restricted to just friends, family and lovers but even to our enemies, our haters, our users and abusers. Without doubt, a tough act to follow. If Jesus was willing to lay down his life he did so in the full knowledge that he could take it up again. He tells us not to be afraid of losing the old life because such a sacrifice is necessary if we are to reap the new and better life. Today we are seldom called upon to ‘lay down’ our lives, for the time being anyway, but that said, should we not be ready to lay down a spiritually and morally bankrupt way of living? One thing is certain, we will not be able to take up the New Way so long as we cling to the Old Way. To lay down a way of life, especially in concert with one’s whole community, has got to be easier than laying down your mortal life all alone upon a cross. If the Master was willing to do this for even his enemies, could we not do this for one another?
And so I pray for the Church to awaken, for it to come to its senses, to strive to attain the divine dignity of the children of God, to vanquish darkness with light, to reject the morally and spiritually bankrupt husk of a life offered by this world, to arise and choose a Better Way, to strive for the attainment of a Better World, a world that is not merely better for you or your preferred social group but for all. To reject the ways of this world is to invite scorn, condemnation, vilification and accusation and it’s hard to go it alone but in the company of mutually consecrated brethren it’d a lot easier and the more the merrier. In the passage of time what was once called madness will be recognised as an act of sanity in an otherwise crazy world.