The Spirit and the Law

Hagar and the Angel of the Lord, by Allison Clarke.

Question: Have you ever wondered why God stopped speaking to us 2000 years ago?

Answer: (to be accurate, it’s more of a Jewish ‘answer a question with a question’ kind of thing) What makes you think that God has stopped speaking to us?

The only people who think that God is no longer speaking to us are fundamentalists of some kind – whether they are orthodox Jews, Muslims, Christians or atheists. Most of the rest of us know full well in our hearts that God is still speaking to whoever is listening. And just as He/She always has done, God is speaking through the despised ones; the ones who simply aren’t orthodox; the heretics.

Moses was a heretic. Jesus was a heretic. Mohammad was a heretic. I am absolutely sure that all three of them are horrified at what is still being taught in their names.

When you have lost your direct contact with the Divine; your spirit; you simply have to hold on tightly to the law becauses there is nothing else left. That’s why fundamentalism is rising world-wide; because people are clinging tightly to the law like drowning folk to a lifebelt. Thy are not listening to the prophets of today* because they are too terrified to let go and trust God to speak.

Frankly, that’s just the same as refusing to update your computer or your mobile phone. Pretty soon you get out of synchronisation with the whole of the world’s evolution and end up living in your own little time warp.

To be fair, people didn’t listen much to the prophets in Biblical days either – at least until long after they were dead. But for far too long, the Bible and all its teachings, have been set in stone (a violation of the second commandment). In very simplistic terms, God knows that we have invented the fridge, antibiotics, hot running water and condoms and God can adapt to that. God is downloading the updated Bible every day – and just a very few of us are updating our settings.

I bring up the Ten Commandments because I believe that they are Universal Law. Cultural patterns change (as my great teacher once said), Universal Law does not.

The ten commandments were ably summed up by Jesus of Nazareth when he partially quoted the book of Deuteronomy and added his own spiritual upgrade: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is similar to it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Rabbi Hillel put it even more succinctly: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Law. The rest is commentary. Now go and learn this.”

Problem no. 1 comes with the fact that very few of us actually have been taught about a God that we can love. So, if we are people looking for certainty, we’ll base our faith on fear and hang on to the rest of the laws with an iron fist.

Certainty and the law are for beginners. They are there for those who simply can’t be arsed to investigate for themselves; those who won’t stand outside under the stars and say, as St. Francis said, again and again, ‘Who are you, God? And who am I?’

If you do that, believe me, God answers. It might not be an answer that the ego likes but God, the great and wonderful all-pervasive Love that binds the stars and the dark matter together, is still speaking a perennial message of goodwill. But God will never intrude upon our free will. God will wait until we indicate that we are willing to listen.

Just as a footnote, you may be wondering, ‘who are the prophets of today?’ They are plentiful. Like Jesus they will, first, point out the evil and wrongdoing in the world and speak up for the abandoned. Then they will teach techniques for healing this with love. I’ll name a very few below – but there will be one who speaks to you: someone today who is teaching the Word of God to the Nations and, specifically to your heart. And if there is not, it’s because you can do it yourself, for yourself. Please, go out tonight, whether the stars are out or not, drop your certainty that you are right, just for 20 minutes, and listen.

* People such as Eckhart Tolle, Pope Francis, Byron Katie, Richard Rohr.