Honor thy father and thy mother
Well, we’re half way through this series on the Ten Commandments. What have you learned so far?
Did you notice that the first 4 had to do with loving the God of your understanding? First, recognizing that there is only One God and then that we should honor that God and not carelessly use the name we’ve given to that God to attempt to strengthen our vow for earthly things. We were reminded to watch what we say when using our I AM.
And last week we were given reminders of what the Sabbath REALLY means and how we can honor it.
How did you do with that? Take any naps?
Now we will begin looking at how to get along with each other. Seems as if THIS is something we can’t seem to get right!
Lets all commit to doing our part to promote peace and love in our world, wherever that is and however that looks.
And that is my political statement for the day. Your responsibility is to do what is yours to do.
So, back to walking for 40 years through the desert, we would have to quickly learn how to get along with the other people in this group of thousands, would we not? Try to imagine that for a moment…..these people were not just Jewish, there were Gentiles included too…any slave was set free from many countries, anyone who wished could travel with the group. And all their animals and many pieces of household goods packed in all sorts of animals and carts and wagons.
Now, how would you handle getting along with all that?…….
Right, A bit difficult.
Today we take a look at “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
This is the only one of the “10 words” that includes a condition…’so that you may live long in the land your Lord is giving you.’
What do you think that is about?
Eric Butterworth reminds us, “we are spiritual beings, so God is our true father, and the divine tie always transcends blood tie.”
He also states, “we will never be able to fit into any human relationship until you can see yourself as a child of God.”
This statement falls into what Neal Donald Walsh states in his Commitment: “You shall honor your mother and father-and you will know you are the Son of God when you honor your Father/Mother God in all that you say or do or think. And even as you so honor the Mother/Father God, and your father and mother on Earth, (for they have given you life), so, too, will you honor everyone.”
John 3:16 reminds us – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
We are the “the only begotten Son”, each one of us.
The spiritual fulfillment of this commandment lies in our reverence for our Creator in whom the father quality of wisdom is joined with the mother quality of love. The masculine & feminine attributes are likewise present in each of us, the image and likeness of God.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
Emmitt Fox says we must recognize God as the only Cause, the only Power – & that is where we receive days that are long with no troubles or difficulties.
Where our part in ‘cause’ comes in is in our thoughts.
The word ‘Man” means a thinker, your acts happen through your thoughts.
But thought has no power unless it is accompanied by feeling – male & female. Balance!
Our Challenge, then according to Leonard Felding, is – How do you honor a parent when there’s tension between you?
The Parent-child relationship one of the most complex for humanity. But we can find honor for our parents by understanding what honor means.
The word for honor actually is 2 sided – heaviness, weightiness, difficulty, burden or honor, give importance or weight to someone, sooooo, this could mean honoring your parents is a heavy burden or it can be an opportunity to give weight or importance to bring honor & dignity to 2 people who need your support.
Whether we honor them as an irritating burden or a heartfelt opportunity, depends on:
1. Deciding whether or not to forgive. We often have unresolved resentments, we can choose to forgive to allow for the possibility of better relations. Edwin H. Chapin, “Never does the human soul appear so strong & noble as when it forgoes revenge & dares to forgive an injury.”
Incorrect to assume forgiveness means we have to forget, whitewash or minimize the things that happen…”forgiveness presupposes remembering” Paul Tillich
Forgiveness is an action of the heart, defined as – pardon or release from punishment; to give up anger, resentment, or the need for revenge; to show mercy or compassion. Each definition – They acknowledge an offender & an offense, but also allow you to turn your heart toward healing & release. Forgiveness allows you to build a positive while making sure to not repeat what happened.
2. Learning to create healthy & respectful limits
WE need to set healthy Boundaries & respectful limits – and that means how you chose to let people get to you emotionally & how well you protect yourself when someone is too close.
3. Uncovering the best ways to help your parents as they grow older or decline in health.
How do we help our parents as they become ill, when they feel isolated, and they become increasingly dependent on us for financial, emotional, & caregiving support.
Ask for help as you need it;
View yourself as a caregiving manager instead of a victim,
Stay healthy yourself
This is a chance to feel close to your parents…both your earthly parents & your Spiritual parent.
Our Sr. Joan calls this – The Law of Caring
And I can see why….
Chittister tells us this Commandment asks us to look at how we care for those who have gone before us, have shown us the way…and to consider our debt to the generations to come.
It is what we learn from those before us that enable us to go forward fearlessly
While pursuing my license from Unity, I was required to attend a weekend retreat at the Village. I chose one for Gay & Lesbians. It was a wonderful experience filled with music and discussion, meeting others. That’s where I first met Kathleen.
One part, the Saturday evening before we would finish on Sunday, the leaders asks all the participant to move to different sides of the room, based upon our age. Those on one side, over 50 and the other under 50.
Then he explained that the ‘younger’ side could thank the ‘older’ side because they set the tone, they led the way to change, to go from harasment and sometimes physical abuse, or more, to tolerance and finally acceptance. (Still working on that one)
It was a very moving experience, to be acknowledged for the path that you helped to forge so that others could find freedom and acceptance.
I believe THIS is what Sr. Joan is talking about.
The people who go before us, bringing the energy of the Universe higher and higher. They deserve our special care, reverence & acknowledgment.
We are seeing this happen in our society recently with the Woman’s Movement revival and the Me too and Times Up movements.
We too often disregard yesterday’s knowledge as obsolete. “When the Sage dies, the whole world morns.” The Talmud.
It was a sad time when I came to understand that the younger women in the US had no idea about what the people from before 2000 did for Women’s Rights. And how frightening it seemed to us as the legislatures in States and the Federal Government were chipping away at those rights. The Circle has come around again.
This commandment demands respect for the past & keeps us in touch with our roots. It questions what it means to be a family. I can attest that my idea of family goes way beyond my blood line.
The Native Americans teach: no decision should be made without considering its effect up to the 7th generation
If only our leaders around the world would remember this.
We must learn to consider the past seriously & the future thoughtfully. We do not wish for history to repeat itself with dire results.
This Law of the Heart asks that we honor whatever it is, whoever it is whose place in our life has been a place of honor, the ones who brought us to growth, to a wholeness of life, whose ways have given direction to our own path.
Confucius: “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men & women from beasts?
Eric Butterworth – adds that this Commandment could ask us to accept the burden of your female and male sides. And the burden that you are heavy with the Christ of your being, the whole creature that you are created ultimately to become; your unborn possibility of limitless experience; …….it tells us to respect ourselves.
He believes putting too much emphasis on the role of our parents makes graven images of them – too often stifling of individuality and personal development.
Then we let guilt color our thinking, believing personal unfoldment has no place.
But as we honor our father & mother & all family relationships, we free each person to their own experience, and accept that freedom for ourselves. We shall respect the individuality, honoring all privacy, encourage everyone’s intellectual & spiritual growth.
Meister Eckhart “No matter what the relationship, your first loyalty must be to the divine flow…and to let God be God in you.”
Think about this – if we put family, country—anything!—ahead of our commitment to expressing as the Christ, as God expressing as us, we will not be able to fully express that Christ energy. We need to be in the flow of love constantly – Jesus taught –“love your enemies” to refuse to honor parents who seem to have been less-than-stellar examples of good parenting, we are placing OUR OWN conditions on God’s commandment!
Our spiritual commitment must be absolute if we are to manifest our Christ nature in our human experience.
It must be more important to us than even our closest human relationships, more important than the personal challenge and discomfort that will inevitably express as we allow the Christ energy to guide us through life.
It’s not that we must sever the bonds of family that are so important, but that we must always put our commitment to Spirit first.
It’s a lot like the First Commandment. The Lord of our Being must be our highest and only priority. If we create “false gods” by making other things or people more important than God in our lives, we will not be able to follow Jesus and express our Christ nature.
SO it comes down to this …..What is mine to do? What is my purpose and how do I make my way keeping with Spirit in ALL things…expressing God as me in all ways.
Let’s begin our meditation with this affirmation:
I AM an expression of the Divine, created in the image and likeness of God. The same Christ Spirit that was in Jesus is in me.