Sung by a glorious choir - this one is merely adequate - we are swept up with the idea that Haydn was surely a person who believed in God or the idea of a god. Idea is a powerful word.
Idea references an archetype in the Mind of God - or, more precisely, Goddess, considering that idea ends with a feminine A instead of a masculine O.
To have an idea is to experience what is God-given. Instead of heavens we can easily think of universe. Universe is yet another indication of the feminine, for Uni is Goddess, as well. She is Mother Goddess to the Etruscans.
Look at the night sky, imagine the enormity of the universe. Really, we cannot imagine it. The name GOD has more definitions than there is room to name them. Religions old and new will disagree until the end of time. Why not wrap ourselves in idea?
Love is central to many religions, but not all. We take comfort in the knowledge that to love one’s neighbor as oneself only requires keen good will. Loving one’s neighbor (a catch-all for everyone in the world) has nothing to do with emotion. It is an action without action. Many of us cling to hurt feelings, resentment we don’t want to give up. Having said that, it often takes two to tango to this beat, as well. But let it be on others, not ourselves.
However, we must be careful that all this love doesn’t have us feeling just awfully proud of ourselves. And for goodness’ sake let’s not try for perfection. Not only will we fail, but suffer exhaustion in the process. We must love ourselves before we can love others.
Having said all that, we remain perfect in the Mind of God, for He created us and loves us just as we are. There is ’way too much emphasis on purity.
Charlie Rose interviewed George Clooney last week. The genuine Mr. Clooney was raised a Roman Catholic. He told about having to confess his sins once a week. He said something like, “What does a kid know about sinning?” Then he laughed that he had confessed to adultery, his eight-year-old education having no idea what that was, but that it was connected to being an adult.
Ancient writings about God must be carefully studied. Even today, clergy are trying to scare the hell out of us. The beginning of wisdom is not the fear of God, it is the awe of God. That’s just one of the hundreds of mistaken translations along with mistaken scholarship. Even if we were to read the Hebrew in which the Old Testament was written, the nuances would frequently escape our modern minds. There remain Old and New Testament scholars who even though wrinkled and gray continue to try to figure out more exactly what the writer was saying. It is difficult to feel easy in heart, mind and soul if you’re afraid of God-knows-what.
Love God and do as you will is to quote Augustine of Hippo.
If you love God you will do His will. Catchy phrase, no?
Aye, there’s the rub. Who knows what God wills? Scripture is confusing and often confused. Then we hear from “experts” what and who we should be. Augustine himself had a few tricks, prayed: Make me chaste and continent but not yet.
Most of you of you reading this belong to one of the Three Great Religions, already mentioned in another blog; you’re probably Christian of whatever persuasion. Some of you are nominal Christians, not religious in the sense that you do not attend services with any frequency, nor have any particular interest in Holy Writ whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim. Despite what you’ve heard, the Old Testament and the Qu’ran are not alike, but not exactly unlike - and of course Judaism refers to what Christians call the Old Testament, Jews as the Written Torah (this is a mere drop of information in the study of Judaism).
Material written long, long ago is not always reliable (neither is material written today - look for typos).
Muslims avow that the Old Testament/Torah is corrupt. It seems to me that the Three Great Religions spend more time arguing than listening, never mind loving. The idea is to love everyone, not to condemn their beliefs unless they are intent upon killing us, which appears to be what we’re often keen on.
One of the most famous and favorite Bible verses is found in First Corinthians: Chapter 13. You know the one, it begins: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
Find this glorious chapter in your own Bible, read it and ponder it. You’ll have noticed that I prefer the KJV (King James Version). The rhythms of what is called “Jacobean” (King James) English is more soft on the ear, floating even harsh words poetically. By all means, find a Bible that speaks to you more clearly. For now, remember that charity is defined as love, “and have not charity” translates to “and have not love.”
The New International Bible has found an audience. It is more clear and also gender-neutral, if that’s important to you.
Whatever we believe in a religious sense, we must love ourselves first, love others and find happiness.