5. Such a life must be characterized by humility. We aspire to be honest, real, and down-to-earth. Humility is opposed to the arrogance, isolation, and deception that pride brings. We accept our spiritual poverty, our limitations, and dependency and also accept responsibility for the use of our gifts and strengths for the service of God. The humble are willing to receive as well as to give. Humility respects and esteems others. It is a form of the love that does not seek its own way. We seek to be a grace-filled community as we “wash one another’s feet.”
“We aspire to be honest, real, and down-to-earth.” I have said for many years that the “world” (i.e., those outside of church) is looking for real people. People who are transparent. Many of us are just so tired of all the faces that people wear. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones we meet at the office and then we see them in a social gathering and they’re something else completely. I believe that, down deep in each one of us, there is a yearning for authenticity. Authenticity brings security in that we know what type of a person someone else is (good or ill). We know where we stand with such people. We don’t have time for people who are wishy-washy. Life is too short for people are our friends one minute and then stabbing us in the back the next. We long for people who are “stand up” people. People who give of themselves for the benefit of others.
At the same time, we don’t want those same people to lord it over us about how “humble” they are. Just because someone is open and honest, doesn’t give them the right to be rude or disrespectful.
(That reminds me of the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. There’s a scene where Ricky Bobby (played by Will Farrell) says, “With all due respect...” and then makes a derogatory statement to Mr. Larry Dennit, Jr. (played by Greg Germann). Then the conversation goes like this:
Mr. Dennit: What did you just say to me?
Ricky: What? I said it with all due respect!
Mr. Dennit: Just because you say that doesn’t mean you get to say whatever you want to say to me!
Ricky: It sure as hell does!
Mr. Dennit: No, it doesn’t -
Ricky: It’s in the Geneva Conventions, look it up!
Okay...back to my reflection.)
We are wanting people who are authentic and respectful. We are wanting people to be like Jesus, whether we realize it or not. And that is exactly what we are striving to be in the Lindisfarne Community.
When we read the stories about Jesus, we see someone who was transparent and authentic. The old proverb, “What you see is what you get,” comes to mind. And while we believe that Jesus was much more than “what you see,” he wasn’t less than that. Not only do we see authenticity in Jesus, we see “realness,” true humanity, or, as the Common English Bible puts it, we see Jesus as the true “Human One.” I understand this to mean that Jesus is what humanity is supposed to be like. It is who we are at our deepest level. But we have forgotten what that looks like - until we see him. That’s why Celtic Christians referred to Jesus as our “remembrance.” That is, when we look at Jesus we remember what we truly are.
But, it’s not easy being Jesus. As the Understanding puts it, “We accept our spiritual poverty, our limitations, and dependency...” We know that we can’t do this, be this, on our own. It takes us humbling ourselves to each other and to the “Wild Goose.” When we can be our best - and make no mistake, we are at our best when we are serving others - it is then that the “world” will see Jesus and not us.
Being Jesus, however, has a great price. When we continue the stories about Jesus we see what others did to him. Those in power, those who continue to be false, who oppress others, who turn a blind eye to the struggles of those in need, will do whatever they can to “put away” the one who liberates others. Those in power will “crucify” (figuratively and, perhaps in some ways, physically) those who come to serve the world and speak of the falseness of the powerful. That’s what happened to Jesus. And as history shows us, it will happen to those who walk in The Way.
That’s what service is all about though, isn’t it? When we become authentic people, when we become the Human One, we will surrender our own wants and desires and wills to give completely of ourselves for humanity and the world. And when we are through in this world’s realm, eternal life (i.e., life with/of God) will continue our lives in God’s realm.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC