Down to Earth Bodies

Down to Earth Bodies

picking_through_garbageIn Matthew you have some references to the last day. On that day, some will stand before him and say that they prophesied in his name, cast out demons in his name, and did many deeds of power in his name. They seem to recognize him, know his name, speak collectively as an organized group who apparently know him and operate under the authority and auspices of his name, and converse with him with confidence and a sense of membership in his movement. Then there is the other group who stands before him on the last day. He thanks them for feeding him when he was hungry, giving him something to drink when he was thirsty, welcoming him when he was a stranger, clothing him when he was naked, taking care of him when he was sick, and visiting him when he was in prison. Their response is one of surprise! They ask him when they ever gave him something to eat, gave him a drink, welcomed him, clothed him, took care of him, or visited him in prison. They are told that whenever they did any of these things to the least of his people, they did it to him. It unsettles me to consider that those who know his name, use his name, and are members of the organization under the name, that those who promote and are involved in religious and spiritual ministries with dynamic visible results, are the ones who are unknown by him. Their defense is their very recognizable and successful religious activity. They deal in prophesy (religious language), exorcism (purifying the world and the church), and deeds of power (triumphal living as a form of witness). In stark contrast, those who are considered blessed and are even called righteous are those who don't recognize him, have no defense at hand, and aren't involved in any recognizable religious activities. They deal in water, food, clothes, medicine and visits. It unsettles my thinking, my religion and my spirituality when I realize that adherence to a religion, participation in its efforts, and familiarity with God may have nothing to do with being righteous. It is just as unsettling to think that simply caring for others on the physical and even unspiritual level is righteousness. It pulls me down from spiritual preoccupations to the level of earth, body, flesh, and the physical well-being of all people everywhere. It's almost like the first group was consciously and intentionally trying to change things. The second were, without agenda or program, simply kind and generous with the people around them. The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen on his trip to India.

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