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Friday, May 13, 2016

Doing Good

One of the things that keeps me going when walking through a valley, when high on a mountaintop, wherever I am on my journey, is to be in service of others, to do good. John Wesley and countless others have suggested - do as much good as you can for as long as you can.

From my childhood onward, I have aimed for this and participated in many ways in life, from rolling bandages for lepers in our youth group, to making quilts to give away, to go half way around the world to teach and share freely without the thought of compensation. I used to be able to say I never made a ruble in Russia until one year the group in Tver gave me 200 rubles (at the time about $6).

Thinking about all of this, it came to me that there is a vast difference between doing good and being a do-gooder. At least in my lexicon, doing good is giving what is needed without thought of praise or manipulation -  a sort of human giving of grace in the manner of God's Grace. A gift simply given, no strings, perhaps anonymously, but for sure no gratitude or anything else expected or even wanted.

On the other hand, a do-gooder may foist upon someone what they think they need, and furthermore expect recognition for whatever is done or given. It may be to manipulate the other. It may be to make the other obligated. It may be to puff up a shaky ego system.

Doing good is likely inspired by the Divine. Being a do-gooder is likely inspired by ego.

It is a little like Jesus telling us to pray in private rather than to be puffed up with public display. Which would be the genuine prayer, genuine communion with God?

In our weary and seemingly angry world, it is as if from the center of the earth and from the highest heavens comes a call to do good, to bring love, to live in peace, to walk and talk and be a full part of the Way Jesus taught, Lao Tse explained, Buddha exemplified, and all mystics do their best to describe. Before the artificial construct of Christianity was created by men, there were sincere followers of The Way of Jesus, the Jesus Movement. Imitate the Christ life as fully as you can, was the goal. What if we returned to that goal?

God of the Universe, God of my soul, lead me to walk Your Path. Lead me to live The Way of Jesus. Wash from me all that is unChristlike. Bathe me in Your Light. Teach me to imitate Christ as much as is possible. I come to You open and willing to merge with the Truth and live the Truth and be the Truth. Let it be so...

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