The attack in Paris yesterday filled me compassion. The French and British peoples have a mixed relationship. Yet I saw news of that office attacked, the ease and complacency of the attackers, the names called out before their execution, the casual bullet as an already wounded policeman was murdered. And it hurt. So much more than the thousands dying so far away. The thousands who are less close.
And I turned to Him. Asking for some sense in all of this. There seems to be an “us and them” being hurled in our faces. Attacks across the globe. All in the name of religion. Offence taken on behalf of The Prophet. Legalism lifted to a whole new level. Fundamentalism fighting for real. Love and worship distorted to hatred and casual taking of life. Now “we” are on the receiving end. Knowing for the very first time (in my lifetime) how that feels. Finding out how I react. And wondering how “they” felt when “we” do it to “them” – have done it to them (oh boy does history paint an objective picture) – and sadly – still do it.
Proximity is real.
We seem to have a zone of compassion around us. A geographical zone. Maybe that is why all the charities and fundraisers have to use that personalised perfect sad teary child every time. Our proximity zone protects us. Those images crash through that buffer zone. All of us connected to creation and innocents.
Maybe that is the biggest reason for getting out of our safe lifestyles, our safe churches and our safe proximity zones. To connect with those outside. To crash our own buffer zones. And perhaps that is the best reason for connecting with GSHJ – God Soft Hands Jesus. For really connecting. Rather than keeping Him outside our safe-almost-there-but-not-quite proximity buffer zone. The one we can choose to step into – or out of.
When we connect we crash the proximity zone. We connect with part of us. We connect to creation. We connect rather than disconnect. And when you are killing your own rather than the enemy – when you are hurting one with whom you connect –then it is real. Then it hurts. Then it touches.
Wherever, and however, we prop-up our selective-proximity-buffer zone, it is the same disconnect. And where there is disconnect, there fundamentalism feeds. Religion and god and fundamentalism: a lesson in belief maintenance.
Whether it be casual murder in the name of god. Whether it be casual blindness to those in need around us. Whether it be a distancing ourselves from our next door neighbour. Whenever we take over god’s job – take offence on god’s behalf – know better that god – know who god loves and who he doesn’t – know why god loves and why he doesn’t – when we decide free-will is not the answer – then there is disconnect.
And there fundamentalism festers in division dissent disdain.
And I have no answers.
For that is to take back the work of God. That is for me to know better than my Father. That is when guidance and relationship cease and casual killing begins. Killing quickly with bullets and bombs or killing slowly with disconnect and disdain.
”As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”
Now it may be that Jesus was sitting in the boat and was already full of compassion. Was always full of compassion. And no one noticed. Except that is not what is written.
“As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them”
Don’t know about you. But the more I connect with Him the more I want to connect with you, with my neighbour, with those murdered, with those murdering.
Because the more I connect – the less I fear.
”As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him …” Mark 6:34-44