Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Universal Redemption

 
 

The Cantor's Song

On Universal Redemption

Jun 19, 2009

Saying For Today: We judge by outward appearance; Wisdom Herself judges by inward heart.


Welcome to OneLife Ministries. This site is designed to lead you prayerfully into a heart experience of Divine Presence, Who is Love. While it focuses on Christian teaching, I pray persons of varied faiths will find inspiration here. Indeed, "God" can be whatever image helps us trust in the Sacred, by whatever means Grace touches us each. Please share this ministry with others, and I hope you return soon. There is a new offering daily. And to be placed on the daily OneLife email list, to request notifications of new writings or submit prayer requests, write to barukhattah@embarqmail.com .

Blessings,
Rev Dr Brian K Wilcox, MDiv, MFT, PhD

Interspiritual Pastor-Teacher, Author, Workshop Leader, Spiritual Counselor, Chaplain

Brian encourages support of the 4-Star Christian organization Compassion, which supports children worldwide; for more see www.compassion.com .

Opening Musings on the
Universal Redemption of All Things in Christ

God has many faces, and we have many cultures; therefore, there are many religions within the embrace of the Wisdom of God, the Word - Jesus Christ.

*Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Interspiritual Christian Leader, Chaplain, Author of "OneLife Ministries" and An Ache for Union, (b. 1960).


Evil, being negative, as is punishment, neither can stand eternal.

*John Scotus Erigena, Irish church leader, (b. 815).


All beings exist through the same birth as the Son, and therefore shall they all come again to their original, that is God the Father.

*Johann Tauler, Catholic, Dominican, (b. 1290).


The Father willed through Christ to reconcile the universe once more unto Himself, and so to restore all things whatsoever and wheresoever they be.

*Dr. John Lightfoot, On Col. 1:19,20. English Bishop, (b. 1601).


God must be accomplishing a design invariable and without the shadow of turning, the design to save every one of us everlastingly.

*Florence Nightingale, Pioneer in Nursing, (b. 1820).


The Holy Spirit establishes the righteousness of heaven in the midst of the unrighteousness of earth, and will not stop or stay until all that is dead has been brought back to life and a new world has come into being.

*Karl Barth, Swiss Reformed Theologian, (b. 1886).


If the Divine spark in the soul cannot be destroyed, then we need despair of no sinner... Since God created men to have fellowship with Himself, they cannot for ever be separated from Him... After long wandering, and by devious paths, sinful man will at last return to Him in whose Image he was created; for this is his final destiny.

*Sadhu Sundar Singh. East Indian, Sikh convert to Christianity after having a vision of Christ and, later, Christian missionary, (b. 1889).

Story: The Prayer of the Old Cantor

It was the most holy day of the year in Berdichev. All hasidic Jews gathered in one synagogue. They waited for the rabbi, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, to finish praying.

The rabbi was a very holy man, and he often became so absorbed in praying he would cry and shake. Sometimes he would speak things they did not understand. But they knew he was their steadfast advocate before the Heavenly Judge. If anyone could get their souls inscribed in the Book of Life for the next year, their rabbi could.

But as the pause continued, and he cried, muttered, and paced in front of them, the people thought, "He's asking a lot from us. We are fasting! How long will he detain us?" Still, they waited quietly.

The rabbi stopped and faced the people. At last he would pray for them, they thought. They became very attentive. "At this time," he said, "I cannot continue. Today, someone must be so committed to this prayer that he would be willing to die while he prays it. This person must sing it."

The people were thankful for the efforts the rabbi underwent, week after week, for them. But this was different altogether. He had never insisted one of them do the same thing! So, they waited. No one stepped forth to sing the prayer.

The rabbi spoke again, saying, "One of you must sing the prayer. In this holy moment one must sing it, one willing to die in the act." They looked around at each other, and most of them had ideas about who should sing the prayer. But no one spoke.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak said, "There must be someone willing to sing this prayer now, knowing it may be your last words in this life."

They heard a bench scraping, and slowly someone was standing up. Oddly, the sound was not coming from the side of the synagogue where those esteemed important sat. Still, they were relieved to hear the sound of someone rising.

Turning to see who it was, they saw an old man rising slowly from the bench against the back wall. They were shocked. Him? Once, this man had a gorgeous voice and, in fact, long ago he had been Rabbi Yitzchak's cantor. But he was so unsparing of his voice in service of the Creator, he had begun to lose it. By the time he more croaked than sang, the cantor was asked to stop singing in Service. There had been an awkward period when he insisted on singing, but the congregation had resolved it by hiring a new cantor. After a Service wherein the old cantor, with his old-style melodies, could not be heard above the new cantor's robust voice, the old cantor stopped singing. For years no one had given him even a thought.

But this day he crept slowly toward the bima. The rabbi saw him, smiled, and stood aside. When the old man reached the bima, he turned around to face the congregation. He opened his mouth. What came out sounded more growl than song. The people covered their ears. The old man went on, anyway.

This man was to represent them to God in Heaven? People in the prestigious seats started exchanging glances. Yet, now, they began being distracted by other sounds from their beloved Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. He was bent over in pain, moaning, and crying.

The old man continued singing the prayer, his rough voice cracking completely. For a moment no sound came out, except his labored breathing. His voice cracked repeatedly. The silences became longer than periods of singing.

By now, the rabbi was writhing on the floor. He trembled, and his legs began to twitch.

The congregation was stunned, and the old man's singing was painful. But none of them found need to throw themselves on the ground and hold their sides, as did their rabbi. They were used to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak falling into ecstasies in the Services, and they had learned not to interrupt him. His agonies seemed to continue, and his moaning became fainter. They thought he might be in danger and considered whether to intervene.

At last, three villagers approached the bima and knelt beside Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. One of them touched his cheek. "Holy rabbi, are you all right?," they asked.

After a time, the rabbi opened his eyes, and he spoke, "It's just as well that you roused me. If you had not, I would have died." The rabbi slowly stood. "But I dearly wish," he said, " that you never had. You see, in the silences in that old man's song, I heard the music of the Most Holy One, our Creator."

Once again, the rabbi faced the congregation. As he prayed, their voices joined in equal fervor.

Comments

We judge, easily, by outward appearance. We project this onto the One Who Is Love. We assume, then, our sense of Beauty is an accurate estimation of Beauty. We create prejudices based on the subjective judgments of those about us, and those from our earlier years - including religious training, often given us by prejudicial, nationalistic persons.

The above story, agreeing with the Gospels, shows us our subjective judgments, which are often no more than socialized opinion, often do not reflect objective Truth.

Scripture teaches the Universal Christ Himself does not make estimations on the same basis we tend to. We judge by outward appearance; Wisdom Herself judges the inward heart.

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

*I Sam 16.6-8, NLT

Blessings! In Christ!
Rev Dr Brian K Wilcox
June 19, 2009
barukhattah@embarqmail.com

SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYERFUL REFLECTION

1. What social institutions shape our perception of persons? How?

2. Which do you believe has the most influence on shaping most the esteem of different types of people by Christians: media, Gospel of Christ?

3. How does the Gospel of Christ challenge the social norms by which we evaluate persons based on race, sexual orientation, economics, religion, gender, ...?

4. Have you ever felt unfairly judged by prejudices in social or religious systems? Explain.

5. Do you find it sensible and spiritual that God would eternally judge a person for a non-eternal state of being in a single lifetime? Or do you think exclusive claims in faiths reflect more human prejudice than Divine Grace? Explain your response, and logically. Do not appeal to circular reasoning by quoting Scripture.

* * *

*OneLife Ministries is a ministry of Brian K. Wilcox, of SW Florida. Brian lives a vowed life and with his two dogs, Bandit Ty and St. Francis. Brian is an ecumenical-interspiritual leader, open to how Christ manifests in the diversity of Christian denominations and varied religious-spiritual traditions. He is Senior Chaplain for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, Punta Gorda, FL.

*Brian welcomes responses to his writings or submission of prayer requests at barukhattah@embarqmail.com . Also, Brian is on Facebook: search Brian Kenneth Wilcox.

*Contact the above email to book Brian for Spiritual Direction, retreats, or workshops. You can order his book An Ache for Union at major book dealers.

 

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