When I think of the life I have led, I sense the powerful flow of all that has brought me to the NOW moment. In my sermon this past week, I made reference to the very first New Year in my memory. Early one morning my mother told me it was now 1961, and with that, my three-year old self became aware of linear time.
The face of a clock was meaningless to me then. Though I could not yet read, I was awakening to the world I came to inhabit. The sun came up, the sun went down. It was time to get up or time to go to sleep. Rhythms got established that have endured for decades. Neural pathways, structures of thinking and behavior were put into place that have guided me and located me in this universe ever since.
In time, some other neural pathways were set as well. I heard things about a God I could not see, but whom I could address in those “Now I lay me down to sleep” moments at bedtime. This sense of Source was very clear to me as an experience of light, warmth, and security, mostly embodied in a loving mother. It is a place to which I still return in meditation, as time becomes non-linear and I reconnect with those early experiences that have been stored in my body memory.
Compressed in linear time, however, things have not always felt so secure. When I was five there was a missile crisis. I didn’t understand what that meant but I heard the president speak about it on TV. I absorbed the tension and fear of the adults around me. The following year that same president was killed in the bright Texas sunshine, and at six years of age I witnessed the murder of his accused assassin on live television. My beloved grandfather had just died. My parents were often in conflict. It occurred to me that God was angry, perhaps even angry at me, and if that were the case, I must have done something bad. Perhaps I was bad.
Enter a well-meaning Sunday school teacher doing the best she could with the material she’d been given, planting the seed that this “angry God” feels the need to exact a punishment, and you have the makings of an early stage theological crisis, one that might have been avoided. Some never have to face it. Many of us have had to find a way to transcend it, often in the second half of life. Others simply stop where they are and live within the toxic confines of “original sin” and whatever their brand of religion might prescribe for the condition it created in the first place.
I am convinced that we are living in the dawn of a New Reformation, a necessary clearing of stagnant past energy. Whereas an earlier reformation addressed unchecked abuses of power within the sixteenth century Church, this one addresses the theological abuses that have accumulated in its wake. The earlier reformation was made possible by technology (the printing press) and fueled by a growing capacity of the populace to read the printed page. This one is a digital reformation, fueled by the exploding capacity of the populace to access spiritual practices and communities which can now include and transcend the walls of any place of worship.
The New Reformation awakens us from the dark night of original sin, and calls us into the beautiful morning light of Original Blessing. In our awakening, we can then create communities of practice that affirm what John’s gospel refers to as “the Light that lightens every being coming into the world.”
Good morning! And so it is. And so it shall be.
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