As I have lifted up many times in other sermons, in the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for God’s kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We are literally asking for God’s Way to take precedence in the working out of our lives. In other words, we are asking to be governed by God–what I am calling a Spiritocracy. Not to be confused with a theocracy which is when the government is run by priests or other religious figures who think that they rule on behalf of God.
Rather, what I mean by a Spiritocracy, is each individual person living as one born of the Spirit–as Jesus said to Nicodemus–or as Paul refers to in Romans 8 where he says that, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”
The word translated as flesh in these writings comes from the Greek word sarx, which in this case of this passage I am referring to, could be translated as “human nature apart from divine influence”.
To live in a Spiritocracy is to know that you have no nature apart from the divine influence.
In his 1990 book Memories & Visions of Paradise, Richard Heinberg points out that ‘Every religion begins with the recognition that human consciousness has been separated from the divine Source, that a former sense of oneness has been lost. Everywhere in religion and myth there is an acknowledgment that we have departed from an original innocence and can return to it only through the resolution of some profound inner discord. The cause of the Fall is described variously as disobedience, as the eating of a forbidden fruit and as spiritual amnesia’.
Recently, I quoted Richard Rohr who said, “Knowing our true identity as sons and daughters of God can save us thousands of dollars in psychotherapy. Knowing that everyone else is a child of God— and treating them as such—can save the world!”
I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it. But, if someone were to ask me what the mentality of one who is governed by a Spiritocracy was, I would point them to that statement because to the citizens of the Spiritocracy, their primary service to their community is to remember their true identity and then in any way they to invite others into that remembrance. So if M. Scott Peck is right that evil actions are ultimately the result of trying to escape the pain of spiritual growth, then remembering our true identity and reminding others of theirs would be the essence of overcoming evil with good as we have been instructed in Romans 12:21.
In the farewell discourses John’s gospel–the last lessons Jesus shares before his betrayal–in chapter 15:5,6 it says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in Me, and I in them, bear much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Abiding is the deepest expression of being with. It is manifest love and it is the enduring posture of the citizens of the Spiritocracy. It is out of this abiding that every good and perfect gift comes.
“The world was already perfect before our struggles to make it so.”
Since writing that as the last line of my poem, God’s Plan, I have been on a journey to understand what that means. I think I’m finally starting to get it.
The first line of that same poem is, “It started in the beginning and it ended in the beginning.
I invite you to consider the possibility that as citizens of the Spiritocracy, our work here is to make contact with the beginning–the world that was already perfect before our struggle to make it so–and live it into the present moment with God and the rest of Creation.
What you can plan is too small for you to live.Excerpt from “What to Remember When Waking” by David Whyte
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
For complete sermon notes click here.