We absorb, we learn in so many ways.
At a recent Meeting for Theism with Attention to Jesus (at Friends Meeting at Cambridge), our attention centered on the Loaves and Fishes passage. Skillfully led by Chris Jorgenson*, we interacted with chapter and verse in a variety of modalities. We listened. We read. We meditated. We spoke. (We might have written but didn’t have time.) And we stood to offer a gesture illustrating a favorite verse; in other words, we embodied.
Embodiment. Have been thinking about that. So wanted to post this:
I was raised a Unitarian-Universalist—which means that in Sunday School and in sermons, Jesus always seemed to get lumped together with Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and other “great prophets.” The Bible, I recall being taught, was a crudely translated, politicized text and not to be trusted. Depictions of Jesus in art and movies or plays seemed to depict either a pretty/ pretty simpy guy or gruesome and bloody.
So although I now embrace Jesus’s teachings—thank you, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time—I’ve spent years not getting Jesus!
Until I met Ralph Greene.
The occasion? He was the leader at a NEYM workshop entitled “Civil/Revolutionary Strife and Radical Witness.” More and more pulled to radical witness but not knowing a thing about Ralph Greene, I signed up.
So did over 30 other people! Which completely threw our “befuddled and tongue-tied” leader! (Who then proceeded, over 2 days, to give an excellent presentation on Benjamin Lay, Ralph Sandiford and William Hunt.)
Let me be clear: I’m NOT saying this elderly, Quaker pastor from Downeast Maine is Jesus Christ. I’m saying that for me, this gentle and kind man so embodies that love and compassion girding Christianity that for the first time in my life, I got all that devotion to Jesus Christ! I’m saying that the moment this thin, tall, slightly stooped guy in a baseball cap and chinos walked in the room I felt that love. I experienced a life spent in service of the ideal: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
And, I guess I’m saying, to strive to embody such love as we cheerfully and gently walk over the earth just might be the most radical act of all!
*Much-loved member of FMC, former coordinator for youth programs for New England Yearly Meeting (NEYM), Alternatives to Violence trainer; the list goes on and. . .