A Two Worded Spirituality
Dear old and new friends,
Often spiritual disciplines seem complicated. Here’s a simple one, so down to earth no one could guess you were involved in a holy action that’s only two words long: “Be kind.” It is taken from the fourth chapter of Ephesians, verse 32: “Be kind to one another.” That sounds so easy, yet I assure you it isn’t effortless—at first. You might ask if being kind isn’t just old fashion courtesy, proper etiquette. I recall an early lesson taught to me as a teenager by my mother, “Edward, a gentleman never causes pain!”
Etiquette easily becomes only external, while genuine holy kindness flows from the heart and soul. “Be kind to all” can be a short, simple rule of life that becomes effortless by taking time to express it until it is habitual. The writer of Ephesians saw that simply being kind to one another was a cure-all for the rudeness, anger and bitterness of his day. Now two thousand years later kindness is the Alpha medicine for we who live hectic lives of impersonal, hurried encounters, and even rude behaviors.
Our Kindness results from being in the Mystical Christ, so we are kind to our kindred; we are in a family-relationship with everyone and all creation. That has been proven today by quantum physics.
Be kind to those you love…and those you know and don’t know. Kindness means a loving respect that treats others not like they are inhuman robots or clogs in a machine, but as one’s kinfolk.
Be kind to strangers, of whom the ancients wisely said were angels in disguise; be kind to the homeless, the migrant and alien.
Be kind to animals, your pets and stray cats, to birds, and dogs who bark at you like angry rude bosses.
Be kind to all of creation you come in contact with in your daily life. Treat trees or dandelions not as inert “things” but rather with a gentle reverence as God-inhabited sacraments and relatives of yours.
Be kind finally to yourself! Stop being a constant judge and jury of your actions and thoughts. Don’t become mechanical like all the machines around you; take naps, read novels and do other unproductive activities. Be deadly serious about playtime, having fun and relaxing.
Kindness is shown by thoughtful words, smiling greetings, and by wordless gestures as in this true story. John Ceil Rhodes was a South African and fabulously wealthy man since he owned the Kimberley diamond mines, and was also a rigid observer of proper dress and behavior. A young man invited to dine with him arrived late by train in Kimberley and had to go directly to Rhodes’ mansion in his rumpled, dusty travel clothes. Joining the other guess all attired in formal evening dress as they waited for the appearance of their host, he stood embarrassed, painfully out of place. Finally John Rhodes appeared in a shabby, old blue suit! The young man learned only later that previously Rhodes had been in full formal dress, but upon learning of the young man’s dilemma rushed off to change his clothes.