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Embracing our Royal Personhood
A meditation for the 3rd Quarter Moon (Via Positiva)
“So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Jesus, Matthew 20:16
That is a hard sentence to understand and accept: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” It has divided Christians for millennia. I never really understood it myself until I spent many years in Creation Spirituality and it took the help of Rabbi David A. Cooper’s wonderful book, God is a Verb, before I fully understood.
As panentheists, God is in all things and all things are in God. So what does it mean for God to call or choose anyone or anything? Is this an expression of ego or something else?
The word of God echoes through the cosmos, spoken a new in every moment as it continually makes, expands, and evolves creation. We can hear it in the stillness of meditation, the rush of the wind, the song of the birds, the trickle of water, and so many other places I could list them forever.
Within this word is a call to wisdom, to justice, to co-create the world to come with God. This call rings out for anyone who listens, but it isn’t our fault if and when we don’t hear it. This still, small voice is all too easily drown out by the noise, pain, and chaos of the life in the world.
There are also many forces in this world that work hard to keep us distracted from this voice, this word. Greed, power, white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, fear, terror – these are all diversions from the path meant to keep us divided, feeling alone, weak, and scared so those with power can keep what they have and not be blamed for the inequality and suffering they need to bake into the system so they can keep what they have.
When we are struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over our head, pay for medicine and healthcare, or whatever we have to do just to survive, we can’t hear the voice. We cannot even hear our own thoughts, much less the voice of the Holy One. It is almost impossible to respond to a call we cannot hear.
We are called to live. Not to this life or that life, but to live, to be alive. If we want to help people hear the call, the solution is not to preach to them but to alleviate their suffering. We have to tear down the systems that oppress, divide, and keep people down and build up new systems that facilitate life.
Many are called… everyone is called… the word of God calls out continuously. So why are few chosen?
There is nothing special about being chosen. Chosen is a response to call.
“The closest we can come to thinking about God is as a process rather than a being. We can think of it as ‘be-ing’ as verb rather than noun…Most of our verbs are considered transitive, which require a direct object, or intransitive, which do not. [Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi] suggests that God-ing is a mutually interactive verb, one which entails an interdependency between two subjects, each being the object for the other.”
Rabbi David A Cooper, God is a Verb, 69
The word calls, but we are not chosen until we respond to that call and come alive.
So many people get distracted by the sin and the forgiveness of sins and forget that Jesus came that we “may have life, and may have it abundantly (John 10:10).” As he said, “For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven;' or to say, 'Get up, and walk (Matt 9:5)?'”
It is hard for us to accept our royal personhood. We know all that we have done, and often have guilt for either our past actions or those of our culture, nation, religion, or community. That bitterness goes both ways. The misdeeds and violations done to us and our peoples also cloud our minds and keep us from hearing the call and accepting our chosenness.
This is why Jesus encouraged us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. (Matt 6:12)” or “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us (Luke 11:4)...” It is easy to see how forgiveness is a part of the Via Negativa (The Path of Silence) where we let go and let be, but it is equally a part of the Way of Bliss or Via Positiva.
Forgiveness grows from our earthiness and is a key factor in the cosmic hospitality we are called to take part in. For the sun shines on the just and the unjust and the rain falls on both as well (Matthew 5:45) for we are all children of God. We desire good to come to our friends and our enemies alike because we understand how suffering longs to spread and afflict others.
Once we accept everyone is a child of the earth made of the same dirt and filled with the same water, we begin to see our royal personhood and live.
Chosenness is a Responsibility
Everyone is entitled to basic dignity, goodness, and life. We should all have a life free from hunger and sheltered from the harshness of the world. No one deserves to be mistreated, harmed, or neglected.
This may sound like a fuzzy, almost psychodelic dream where everyone gets along, but it is actually a call to action. Once we come alive to our own royal personhood, we see it in all others, too. It is not something that makes us special; it is a reality we have a part in co-creating.
Once we come into this newness of life, we become an enemy to racism, sexism, nationalism, homophobia, transphobia, and all the other illusions that keep us separated and in bondage to others. We rise up against the powers of greed and division that hold wealth and power in a few and seek a path to bring prosperity, health, and life to all.
I do mean all. We cannot truly live if Earth, the rivers, the air, and the rest of the environment isn’t liberated as well.
There are many paths to this awakening, but all are found within the four paths of Creation Spirituality from those born from awe, letting go, creating, and transforming the world through justice and celebration.
Listen, my siblings, sisters, and brothers. Listen for the voice of the Holy One calling your name and speaking your heart into being. Embrace your own dignity and value and do all you can to prepare a place for others to realize and live their own royal personhood. This is the great work we do in our daily lives and how we make the world a better place.
We cannot save the environment until most people want to live in the world and not flee from it when the liars, grifters, and dividers call out to them.