I skim the headlines then flip over to the classified section of the paper. The personals are always interesting. It is amazing how much can be said in so few words. In a couple of dozen words or less, a person can say all he or she needs to say. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if the classifieds contained ads from other physical and metaphysical entities.
For example: “Beautiful planet filled with life looking for new life. Must be willing to respect all other life forms and the planet itself. Beautiful oceans, mountains, deserts, and night skies available at no charge. Air, water, and sufficient food free to all (some work required). Apply: Planet Earth.”
Here is one of my favorites: “Ultimate Creator looking for relationship with humans. Must be willing to trust, love, learn, and forgive. Protection and guidance guaranteed. Perfect afterlife given freely to whole-hearted participants. Apply anywhere with an open heart.”
I think my own ad is rather interesting (because I have God-given needs just like you): “Have life will share: Spiritual struggler with life’s scars seeking relationship with common souls. Must be mutually accepting and able to give and receive without strings attached. No phone number necessary. Contact available through Divine Providence.”
The ad for the day would read: “Free twenty-four hour experience complete with cosmic events. Wide range of sensations available (some rather intense). Participants must truly participate for quality experiences. To apply just be aware.”
The church ad could say something like: “Souls wanted. Must have positive imagination. Loving hearts made even more loving. Out of this world retirement plan.”
You do not have to say much to say it all. An “I love you” can cover all of the bases. A gentle smile and an “Are you okay?” is enough begin a life-long relationship. Maybe the back page of the paper needs to be the front page.
There is no particular reason to celebrate today, which is why I am celebrating it. I have never cared very much about what sort of “special day tag” is attached to any given day. How I feel about a day is not determined by traditions attached to any twenty-four hour period. All that matters is that, “This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.” Once again, today I will celebrate for my favorite reason: ninety-eight point six and breathing.
If you are alive enough to read this, you have every reason in the world to celebrate this day like it was every holiday all rolled into one. There are no lesser days in the creation. We live only to the level that we grasp the significance of just being alive. Nothing special has to happen today. This day does not have to be a reminder of some past event or of some “great” person’s life (however we might imagine greatness).
Play your favorite music; dine on your best dishes; wear your favorite outfit. You are experiencing something very rare and worth more than all of the money in the world. You are conscious. You are aware of everything that your senses can sense.
So, celebrate being at work or being at home. Paint funny pictures on whatever cast you may be wearing. Put streamers on your wheelchair. Watch the sunrise or the sunset like it is a first time experience. This day is as much a gift as any you will ever know. It is a celebration because YOU are celebrating it.
We humans are “organizational animals” — but so are others. Ants, skunks, bees, birds, fish, and just about every other living organism organizes to survive (“Birds of a feather flock together…”). What we humans do that animals do not do is worship our organizations. It is difficult for us to remember that institutions exist for us — not us for them. They are mere tools, created by us, to further some principle of life.
The principles behind the concept of government have to do with the dignity and freedom of the individual plus his or her protection. When a government becomes the oppressor instead of the liberator, it has lost its way. When it has blind adherents to its actions, it becomes an idol. The same is true for the church, for any company, or for any other social or political organization.
We humans have a way of letting things we create become our masters. How often has a non-denominational movement become a denomination? How quickly systems create “systems idiots” (people that are products of a system and do not know how to function except in that system)! Conditioning is easy. We bow to our tools instead of using them.
I believe in love and the God that embodies it. I believe in people as made in the image of that eternal principle/being. Everything else is just a tool for the worship of the first and the enhancement of the second — not ends in themselves. When a church becomes more politically than theologically defined, it needs to ask itself some painful questions. When governments reward evil and punish good, they too need to be brought into question.
Institutions are like babies. Once you have one, you have something that pretty much has you too. Institutions have egos. They grow by fifteen percent per year and have their own demands. Despite our efforts to make them in our own image, we too often end up being shaped into theirs. Blind loyalty is idolatrous. Forgetting the principles behind an organization makes one a mere cog in a faceless machine.
We need our tools, but not for their own sake. The ends do not justify the cruelties of the means. In the final day, we will be measured not by our memberships but by our brave loyalties to and expressions of unconditional Love.