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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Human Nature

Take the Leap

One thing you learn when you've lived as long as I have—people aren't all good, and people aren't all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all our lives. Right now, I'm pleased to be in the light.”
Neal Shusterman (Unwind)

Ahhh...human nature. Albert Camus famously said, “Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.” We are such curious beings. Right this moment, I am sitting on my porch watching a brand new, barely-out-of-the-nest squirrel leap from limb to limb, from power line to tree branch. He has no question whatsoever that he can leap across space, and land, if not gracefully, at least solidly, on what ever he chooses. He does not worry about dark and light, or whether he is a good squirrel or a bad one; he just leaps. When darkness comes, he sleeps, when daylight comes, he goes in search of food and chases other squirrels up and down trees. From the tip of his nose, to the tip of his tail, he is 100% squirrel.

But we humans—we are different. We worry about everything—whether we look good, whether we are considered by others to be smart and attractive, whether we are good in the eyes of God, who frankly must be mystified by the manner in which we've evolved. From regular old, intelligent mammals, to these bizarre city dwellers who live in skyscrapers and daily devote our lives to the accumulation of wealth and power. Who concern ourselves with the kind of car we drive, and the sort of people we hang out with and how they may or may not enhance our standing in the world.

And it certainly didn't start with modern humans. In the lectionary reading for today, in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 9, the powers-that-be have summoned a man who was born blind, whose eyes Jesus has opened, and demand to know by what magic this healing happened. When the newly-sighted man tells them the truth, they hurl insults at him and throw him out. That was thousands of years ago, but it sounds quite familiar, doesn't it? If one of them had healed the blind man, I'm pretty sure the response would have been different. We humans have difficulty appreciating power in others, especially if they're not “one of us.”

We had a conversation in Spirituality Group this week about whether God is all good. Most Christians are taught that God is only light, and that anything that is not light is not from God. We really want to believe that there is something in this universe that is all good. But there is not. We have to account for darkness, and darkness is not separate from light. God is the God of darkness as well as the God of light—God is all. The Old Testament records it as Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient--all powerful, ever present and all knowing.

We are meant to wrestle with our human nature, not reject it. We are meant to allow it to teach us and make us whole. We are meant to acknowledge our darkness, as well as our light. Like that confident little squirrel, we are meant to take the leap, and trust that we are exactly as we are meant to be.

                                                            In the Spirit,


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