A Brief Exploration into the Gospel of Luke

Essay by Deshna Ubeda on 12 April 2018 2 Comments

I would like to take a moment to explore the Gospel of Luke. When I read Biblical passages these days, I am looking for the deeper meaning behind the words. Meaning, I am not just looking for the dates, context, and scribes, though these are important pieces to the puzzle. I am looking for what the crisis might have been that caused the author to write it and how does the scripture speak to that crisis. I am seeking the wisdom that the passages hold for me in the moment as I read them. The wisdom found in sacred texts can shift as the reader shifts...that is one of the reasons why they are still valuable to modern seekers.

Please login with your account to read this essay.
 

Question

As someone who considers “God” to be primordial Being, through whom and in whom I have my own being, I find it impossible to understand prayer. Do you have any suggestion as to how prayer should be embraced? I come from a Roman Catholic background, but am no longer an adherent. I have pursued the theology of Bultmann, Tillich and the wonderful Scottish Theologian, John MacQuarrie, whose existentialist/ontological approach to the mystery of Being has led me to, what I believe to be, a more wholesome and logical interpretation of God. 
My difficulty now, however, is understanding where/how prayer fits. Any advice you can give would be deeply appreciated.


Answer

Dear Michael,

I appreciate how your evolving understanding of God as Being inevitably calls into question fundamental and practical understandings of your spirituality, such as prayer. In my most recent column I began an exploration of Christianity as a non-dual spiritual practice. The implications of a non-dual Christianity for the conventional practice of prayer are transformational. For starters, within a non-dual Christianity there is no separate entity we call “God,” for the mystery often called “God” is most accurately perceived as being the Being of all. This means each of us is a unique manifestation of Being – distinct but never separate, and that there is not a separate entity to entreat or petition or implore. Being is not some thing out there or in here. Being simply is (and as the East recognizes, Being also implies the emptiness of non-Being – which is a topic for another time).

Within a non-dual Christianity, integral to our spiritual practice is the dedication or entrusting of our lives to the truth of who we are and the life of our unfoldment, as well as to Being that lives and moves and expresses as us. We live lives of gratefulness, because Being is essentially gracious – Being is always already Boundless Love and is our own true nature. The spiritual path thus becomes one of realizing our true nature to such a degree that it transfuses and radiates our entire being without hindrance or veil. When we sit in meditation. When we serve others. When we are sick. When we are at play. Whatever we do, our spiritual practice invites us to realize that we do it as Being expressing itself graciously and freely. The surprisingly spontaneous creative arising of Being, moment-to-moment, captivates our hearts with awe and gratefulness. Our response is song, dance, silence, painting, parenting, sculpting, gardening, etc. All creative expression is sacramental, as it embodies and manifests in sensual ways the undeniable ebullience of Being.

As a teacher, and as a priest in the Episcopal tradition, I lead communities in worship. I endeavor, through education, meditation, conversation, to invite these individuals and groups to inquire into and come to understand the deeper truth of their experiences. I continually reform the language of liturgy – to the degree I judge possible relative to the community’s capacity and within the latitude granted by my polity – so that it more fully embodies the non-dual Christianity of which I speak; wherein “God” is appreciated as symbolic speech – poetry – for gracious Being.

~ Kevin Thew Forrester, Ph.D.

 

Comments

 

2 thoughts on “A Brief Exploration into the Gospel of Luke

Leave a Reply

Cancel