Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Beyond Physical Sustenance

"Yeshua said, "Do not fret, from morning to evening and from evening to morning, [about your food--what you're going to eat, or about your clothing--] what you are going to wear. [You're much better than the lilies, which neither card nor spin. As for you, when you have no garment, what will you put on? Who might add to your stature? That very one will give you your garment.]" .......Gospel of Thomas Saying 36

This is one of the most misunderstood saying of Christ by certain denominations of Christianity. When God or the Divine is made into an object exterior to oneself and is assumed to be the dispenser in the material domain, one takes the beseeching role while God takes the provider role. This anthropocentric visualisation  was provided in the cultural ambience of a community which was steeped in magical and mythical consciousness to communicate the Divine care that is dispensed drawing a parallel to human relationship such as the Father and the Son. This was common to many religions and the Trinitarian concept of God was also the result of positioning the higher power with the attributes of creative parental Father, transforming or liberating Son and the  sustaining or preserving Spirit.

In this verse Yeshua, clarifies the primary role in the creative process which rests with the Divine but this does not mean that there is no participatory role for the creation. It is the desire to a tendency of excesses which is decried by the Divine teacher. The reason why the lilies of the field are shown as example is that nature participates in Divine creation and earthly existence without any independent or individual agency but they are well taken care of by what is provided in its natural state of existence.

Especially the theme of the garment does not address the physical covering to cover the body or to protect one from the negative effects of the climate or to cover ones physical nakedness. Whatever is given to us in our earthly stature, even if it is rudimentary or bear minimum, we should not worry over its quality or to what stature it elevates us. Yeshua specifically targets the false teachers of his time who wore expensive, flowing garments but who were full of pride and deceit.

If in praying "Give us this day our daily bread", we are truly sincere and full of faith then it is implied in that request, "Give me a job. Give me a house to live in. Give me the daily requirement of food, basic need for clothing and the knowledge needed to live a holy and happy life. Only when we externalise God and do not understand that it is he who is the very essence of and sustaining energy in every single cell of our bodies, we start to worry whether there is any connectivity or lack of communication as to the needs of our bodies. This duality is the result of a ego centred consciousness.  And if we learn to seek the kingdom of God first, which is realising the truth that the Divine is integral to the physical, then all these things we need will be provided to us.

 There is also another understanding that is very essential. We do not pray, "Father, give us this day our daily ice-cream," but "Give us this day our daily bread!". 
The promise is, "My God shall supply all your NEED" .........Phil. 4:19 - not all that we WANT, but all that we NEED. There's a lot of difference between what we may want and what we need. An ego centred mind would not be able to discern what it NEEDS but always craves for what it WANTS.

Though this saying is simple in nature, its import should be the essential tenet of our daily living.
May we be blessed with the discerning wisdom to go with the flow in the deepest understanding that there is deep purpose in every creation and the ambit of the Divine care is naturally inbuilt in our existence.

Love to you all

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