At some point during the night the moon moved closer to the earth. I’m not sure how this affects anything, all I know is that low in the sky I could just about see the small American flag which had been planted on it waving in the solar wind. I drove home with it’s bright face before me, the window down, the cool almost spring air rushing through, reinvigorating. It was a cold breeze, one filled with the smells of a recently watered land. Pine, and cedar, and oak, and desert smells of all kinds. An all natural car deodorizer. All was bathed in a light blue light, the trees and water reflecting the light of the reflecting moon.
Today I helped out a friend who was in need of relief. Not that there was a significant problem, only too many small problems had added up and she was feeling the stress of life lived. In praying for her I was prompted to lend a hand. She welcomed the assistance, saying later that she knew I didn’t have to go out of my way to help, so she appreciated it.
I don’t know about that, not the appreciation part. I prayed for her, and felt a burden of response. I guess I didn’t have to help, but it was more than just not being nice, it became a divine directive, I think.
There is an aspect of the Spiritual life, of community, which I do not have concrete proof about, but which is forming stronger in my head. Christ said our burdens would be light. Yet, very few Christians I know, people I know, carry light burdens. Accumulated stress is our generation’s hallmark.
Community terminology has taken on spiritual connotations. It really is a practical issue, almost above all. We carry each other’s burdens, helping out and being helped out, mutually living this life in a way which society frowns upon. If someone needs a meal, it is provided. A laugh, it is provided. A job, it is provided. All those things in life which we need are met, and we live to help others meet their needs, all of us using our gifts together. The spiritual aspects of this arise from the practical. I can pray and fast and study on my own. I can stare at nature and delve deeply into the ways of the spirit without others. It is the spirituality of the practical which cannot be found, and this is a spirituality which is essential to human life. The Greek division of body and soul has leaked into our conception of physical and spiritual. We see life and religious life as distinct, both those outside and inside the communities of faith.
Jesus didn’t see this, the prophets didn’t see this. Physical was bound up in spiritual, one might say, in a circumincessive manner. We worship, the Prophet says, by feeding widows and orphans. We serve Christ, he says, by bringing him food and water, and visiting him.
It is these things, these oftentimes subtle things, which create a thorough spirituality. There is nothing out of the bounds of a Christian act of worship, the sincere love of God and neighbor. Being mindful of these little things, these seemingly practical tasks, and letting even these be our response to God, is how we sharpen our discernment in hearing God.
The burden was too heavy for her, but not because God had given her too much. God meant for others to assist, to carry the cross as Simon once did. Our burdens our light not because God does not give much, but because he intends others to help. A cautious word when we feel our own burdens too heavy or see another crushed with weight. Of course I had to help, it was not only a gesture of friendship it was my acceptable act of worship on what many consider a holy day of celebrating God’s miraculous relief.
I pray your Purim was wonderful.