Follow the leader, part 1

What is the point of faith if not to participate in changing the world for the better? Once fully cognizant of their connection to the Infinite, what do Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed (in chronological order), go about doing? They change the world by standing up to the oppressive rulers and systems of their time. Moses gathers his people and rallies them against Egypt. Once he is awakened to the suffering of the people just outside his palace gates, Siddhartha (eventually Buddha) relinquishes his inheritance and birthright as king.

Jesus also senses this Oneness with God, and it compels him to stand up against the Roman Empire in much the same way Moses rebelled against Egypt. But whereas Moses was a warrior, Jesus pushes for peaceful non-compliance with the systemic evils of Rome. Jesus, in his enlightened Buddha state, sees the foolishness of bloodshed. He understands the ancient Jewish mystical view that violence only begets violence—a lesson Moses learned the hard way. Once enlightened, violence is impossible. Changing the world can only be done by peacefully refusing to comply with systemic evil.

We are the instruments of change. It doesn’t do the world any good to sit and wait for the second coming of Jesus. The second coming is within us. It’s within all the Martin Luther Kings, Mother Theresa’s, and other ordinary folk who do extraordinary things like volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, or buy some extra groceries for a friend in need, or feed the homeless, or fight for new shelters, or help free those incorrectly and unjustly incarcerated.

Faith is and should be a powerful force for change in this world. The people who have had religions created in their names were normal folk like you and I. The power of their stories is not that they were born special, but that they did special things with their lives, because they gained deep spiritual insights that changed them at their core. That’s an incredible example for the rest of us, especially people who claim to be followers of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. Because it’s the followers who become the Martin Luther Kings and Gandhis, and it’s the followers who end up changing the world one loving step at a time.

Prayer: I follow not because I expect a reward, not because I think I’m right and others are wrong, but because following fills me with love and compels me to act with compassion and justice. Enlighten my being with awareness of you, my glorious God, through whom I am capable of anything—even changing the world. Amen.

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