When you feel the subtle joy of connecting heart-with-heart with another being, human or other, that is the sense of your true nature. Your nature is hospitable, for the Heart is invitational. The Heart welcomes all, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, economic status, the good or the bad done, and not in toleration, but inclusion.
While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew's house, many tax collectors and other social outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. Some of the Pious Religious group saw this and asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with such outcasts?"
Jesus heard them and answered, "People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. Go and find out what is meant by the scripture in your Bibles that says: 'It is kindness that I want, not sacrifices.' I have not come to call those esteemed as the respectable ones, but the social and religious outcasts."
*Gospel of Matthew
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The Sage was welcoming to all who came to him. Some of these visitors showed no interest in his teachings, and some were of shady reputation. The Sage's followers had concerns about the Sage's and the group's esteem among outsiders. Some questioned whether the Sage was not behaving as a spiritual guide should. When asked about his inclusive hospitality, he shared a parable.
The Abbot welcomed to the monastery visitors the churches viewed as irreligious. Monks would often see him invite such a person to sit with him in the garden or share tea with him in his cell. He would spend hours talking with such men. Many thought even worse was his entertaining of women in this manner. He also invited these outsiders to shared prayer and mealtime. Most of the monks found his welcoming them to the times of worship as especially sacrilegious.
The Abbot's reputation for this suspect hospitality grew outside the monastery. The more the reputation grew, the more of these visitors came. Church leadership became more concerned about what they saw to be a brazen flaunting of the sanctity of monastic life.
One monk risked asking the Abbot about his generous hospitality. "Father," the monk spoke, "forgive me, but may I ask you a question?" After consent, the monk inquired, "Father, why do you risk the reputation of the monastery and church censure by entertaining outsiders considered impious?" The Abbot replied, "Son, would you risk our reputation or your censorship by welcoming Christ when he comes to visit us?" "But," said the confused monk, "I've not seen Christ come here." The Abbot spoke, "I pray that one day you will be able to see. Christ has been coming day-after-day, while you, like most of your fellow monks, seem unable to see."
Said the Sage, "To see is to see, not to see merely the image. When I see the Christ, how can I not welcome the Christ?"
Video can be accessed on original site via upper left artist-title. Anyone who knows the Heart of the universe is Love, that we all belong together, can relate to this song regardless of being of a religion or not. Here is the non-church Jesus.
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We know the Sacred others embody when we know it within ourselves. This knowing is one knowing. This seeing is one seeing.
Experiencing the Sacred in the other is a spontaneous feeling-sense, not a belief. So, moral or spiritual teaching does not lead to the inclusion of others as our equals. In the mind, there will always be someone whom we see undeserving of welcome. In the heart, no one is undeserving of our welcome.
Yet, we need more than to see the other as equal to us. We need to see the other as a living image of the Holy. We are lights in the Light, so we reflect that single Light.
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When a preschool boy, in the early 1960s, we in American were amid much racial conflict. I lived in the deep south, in Georgia. I recall seeing the face of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Macon Telegraph. Where I lived, almost all whites believed in the racial inferiority of the blacks. Whites and blacks had separate places to socialize, live, worship, attend school, and eat out.
I have a vivid memory from this time. This memory I am glad to be able to recall. For years I could not speak of it without feeling deep shame, and I did not speak of it until the sixth decade of my life. It reminds me of the racial prejudice in which my culture raised me and the power of Love to inspire and enable me to outgrow that early training.
I was in our family car uptown with my father and two brothers. We were moving along a street when an aged black man walked across the road before us. I leaned out the window and began yelling insults at this man. The only word I seem to recollect is the word "blackie." I had never spoken such words before, never addressed impolitely any black person. My nature was of kindness. My father told me to hush, and I did.
What I did was express the thought of the white world around me. I had been educated not to see that man of color as he was-an equal, even more, a bearer of the Sacred. The white culture taught me to see him as a blackie. In some sense, then, I was trained not to see him at all. Thankfully, Love taught me differently.
As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you: live in my love.