First United Methodist Church – Omaha
Rev. Kent H. Little
Date: September 22, 2019
Wisdom Reading: Bhagavad Gita, Meister Eckhart, Luke 17:20-21
Message: “I See You”
Bhagavad Gita –
And when they see Me in all and see all in Me, then I never leave them and they never leave me, and the one who in this oneness of Love Loves Me in whatever they see wherever they may live in truth they live in Me.
Meister Eckhart –
The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kindom of God was coming, and he answered, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you.’
Meister Eckhart was born (we think) in Germany 1260 and died 1327 0r 1328 in France. He was a Dominican theologian and writer, a German speculative mystic. In his writings he posits a union between the individual soul and God… a birthing of God within and without. This birthing… this union is the result of a detachment from all things. To live, as Eckhart said “without the why of life” to live in the moment seeking nothing… not even God… and in Eckhart’s way… God will find (be born in) you.
The passage we read this morning… when Jesus was asked by some of the religious leaders of his day when the kingdom was coming, he said… “The kindom is within/among you.” The kindom… the Presence of the Divine is already here… within you… in this moment…
Eckhart says as much when he states –
“There exists only the present instant… a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.”
“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
I believe this willingness of being without the why of life lends itself to the understanding of how we nurture our spirituality. To some degree I would say, we nurture that deeper spirituality not by seeking it, rather… by allowing it to find us, so to speak. To invite those practices that speaks deepest to our heart and soul. I believe that is why there is such diversity in practice, understanding, and meaning to spirituality and connection with the Divine. One practice may speak deeply to one person and hold no meaning at all to another and vice versa. Eckhart speaks to this diversity in spirit when he states…
“Some people prefer solitude. They say their peace of mind depends on this. Others say they would be better off in church. If you do well, you do well wherever you are. If you fail, you fail wherever you are. Your surroundings don’t matter. God is with you everywhere — in the market place as well as in seclusion or in the church. If you look for nothing but God, nothing or no one can disturb you. God is not distracted by a multitude of things. Nor can we be.”
Sitting in my friend’s home in North Carolina earlier this month he brought up to me a phrase I have been pondering ever since. It was written in a book by Gordon Kaufmann. The author spoke of those who are spiritually tone deaf. This phrase is not meant to be negative but rather just a matter of the way we do or do not encounter things of a spiritual nature. There are those who just seem to be more in tune, so to speak, with spirituality and those who are not as much. As long as those who are not… and those who are… do not become judgmental or prescriptive about their way and practices this understanding can lead to better connection and relationship. I believe it is also important, when speaking of this kind of thing to be clear about how one understands and defines spirituality. What may be a spiritual experience for one person may not make sense to another and vice versa. I am still working with this theory and pondering … perhaps that will be another sermon.
However, to a large degree, for those of us who choose, we wait of God to become aware to us … being in the present moment… letting go of the why of life, being willing to simply BE… listening for, being prepared for, being awake to, and mindful of the God who is already present… Eckhart would use language of birthing God in this instance…
“We are all meant to be mothers of God…for God is always needing to be born.”
We are nurturers of the presence of the Divine… for in our seeing… in our awareness we can become awake to God in all things… in all persons, creatures, living things… As Paul says in Acts… aware of God in whom we live and move and have our being. All things, everyone… permeated, immersed in, filled within, surrounded by, buoyed up in the very Presence of God. Eckhart would say this is the source of peace in our lives…
“Only those for whom God is present in all things and who make the very best use of their reason, know what true peace is and truly possess heaven.”
Richard Rohr says it similarly when he writes –
We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God’s love is maintaining us in existence with every breath we take. As we take another, it means that God is choosing us now and now and now and now. We have nothing to attain or even learn. We do, however, need to unlearn some things.
As in the Hindu Gita we read this morning –
And when they see Me in all and see all in Me, then I never leave them and they never leave me, and the one who in this oneness of Love Loves Me in whatever they see, wherever they may live in truth they live in Me.
We will never look into the face of any other human being, creature, or living thing and not see the image and love of God. To this we are called. Eckhart exclaims…
Every creature is a word of God.
I remember the scene in the movie Avatar when Jake finally makes connection with Neytiri and she says… “I see you.” In the film “I see you” is used as a greeting similar to the Indian/Hindu Sanskrit greeting “Namaste” … in the movie “I see you” implies a deep respect of the whole being and the interconnectedness of all live. Every creature – I would all… all creation… is a word of God and we are called to “see” the very presence of the divine in ALL…ALL…
This is expressed deeply in the verse we shared from Eckhart in the wisdom readings this morning…
“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”
May we all, wherever we find ourselves, take time to be awake to the presence of God in all we see and encounter, in all we say and do… may we let go of the why and SEE the sacredness of all persons, all creatures, all creation… it can change the world.
May it be so. May it be soon. Amen.