Dear old and new friends,
The great German composer Johann Sebastian Bach attended school at Lüneburg. More than once he was known to have walked fifty kilometers (about 31 miles) to Hamburg to listen to the renowned organist J.A. Riencken play at the Katharinen Church there. Returning on his way to Lüneburg penniless and famished he sat down to rest against the back of a roadside inn. Someone inside threw two herring fish heads out on to the rubbish heap next to where he sat. Bach picked up the fish heads to see if he could find any part of them edible, and to his surprise found a coin in each head! With his discovery he had more than enough for a good meal and to make another, more comfortable, pilgrimage to hear again the great master Riencken on the organ.
This is a true story, although it sounds like a fairy tale, about the power of hunger to find a hidden treasure. More than for food, we have a craving that must be embedded in our DNA to also concretely experience the Divine Mystery of Mysteries. It is this aching, ancient appetite that is the reason we go to church or the synagogue where their sacred environments, the religious music and age old worship services, satisfy our yearning hunger. Upon departing these holy sites, however, that hauntingly holy hunger returns. Since no other establishments in our society claim to feed that unique hunger, many just cease going to them. They then seek to quench that appetite elsewhere amidst the community of cheering crowds in giant sports stadiums, attending the theater or by the arts. While these actually provide sustenance they cannot completely satisfy this deep longing.
Do not despair! Only open our eyes! That itinerant Galilean Teacher did not initiate the Kingdom of God! He rather proclaimed, “Open your eyes for the Kingdom of God—the enduring Presence of the Divine One—is right here in your midst.” Obviously for him this enduring earthly Godly Presence had been existent since the moment of the Love-saturated Big Bang. He sought by his parables to flip upside down people’s thinking and perception of reality so they could see that the invisible God in their lives and the Divine’s Dwelling wasn’t restricted to Jerusalem’s Temple, but was vividly alive in their daily lives.
Our eyes are no longer opened by Jesus’ parables. We are now required to perform that task ourselves by prayerfully prying wide our eyes to see with faith our Divine Beloved within everything we encounter. Then like Johann Sebastian Bach we can find surprise divine gifts even in the garbage. Since the Kingdom—God’s Abiding Presence—is here wherever we are, whatever we judge as secular is actually only the unseen sacred. So to all that seems contrary to what is sacred, open your eyes to find the All Hidden Divine One…and then feast upon it to your heart-soul’s content.
Perpetually pray, “Open my eyes, Lord!” Then seek to satisfy your holy hungry in the good, the unpleasant, the beautiful, and the ugly…even in the garbage.