Father Mark, Reflections


Equality does’t always come in the same shape…

I love Independence Day.  It’s more than a day or a weekend to me.   For God so loved the world that he gave….     In the beginning, when God put the holy thumbprint on creation, giving all creatures that roamed the earth autonomy—even humankind.   Human kind has struggled in its history to live out of our autonomy wisely.  So after the Law and the Prophets weren’t quite enough, God gave “…his only begotten Son…” so that we might know what autonomy truly is as eternal life is eternal autonomy to become our true soulful selves immersed in God. 

God is like a bottomless well that continually flows into us, like the shining sun and rain on all, Jesus says.  When the Founders realized this they came up with a term called equality to describe the actions of God.   Equality comes out of the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matt.7:12).  This is also the fly in the ointment.  We don’t always treat others as we would want to be treated.  Sometimes we don’t treat ourselves with respect either. 

Equality means that God shines on all of us.  But we have to figure out what to do with the sunshine and the rain.   Sometimes others use sunshine and rain better than I do.  My beans didn’t bear this year.  Others of you have had a bounty of a bean crop.   I have too much shade that blocks the sun which isn’t good for gardening.   God didn’t put the trees there.  In a developed area, people did.  The sun still shines.  If I want a garden, in order to receive the sun I need to remove a tree or two.  It’s a choice I have to make. 

I’m also studying for a tech license in HAM radio.  It might come in handy in a rural area, especially during hurricane season, if things get rough or if I have to go to the coast again.  The desire is there.  But the electrician’s brain isn’t.  I don’t have an electrician’s brain.   They say that a ten year old child has passed the test and I’m sitting here with three Master’s Degrees and am struggling with decibel computations and voltage across two components in parallel with a voltage source.   I can’t get the concepts into my brain.  My learning style isn’t auditory based either, but through visual and hands on experience.   How do you say, “Frustrating?” 

So did God not make me equal with the ten year old?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, I have the same liberty to study, take the test and pass as the ten year old.  But the ten year old has a brain that is wired differently than mine.   This is the point where I have to be careful.   If I confuse equality, equal opportunity with egalitarianism, equal outcome, then I could talk myself into thinking that the FCC should give me a HAM license anyway.  If I cross over this line and blur the two concepts of equality and egalitarianism, there’s a world of chaos just waiting to be created.   Say I demand the HAM license even though I don’t understand the concepts well enough to pass the test?  What’s the outcome of this?  Good for me right?  What about everyone else?  By not understanding the functions and rules, I could interfere with important communications that actually might impinge on someone else’s life, say in an emergency.   

If I am living out of the independence given to me honestly, by applying the Golden Rule which in essence living out the Great Commandment of Loving God and one’s neighbor as oneself, then I shouldn’t expect to be able to get a license and operate a radio unless I know what I’m doing.   This means one of two things:  study harder and longer or give it up.  The choice is mine.  

When people come to me wishing that they could be like a doctor, or lawyer or some other more lucrative profession, I ask them if they would they choose me to be their brain surgeon if the need would arise.  Stunned at the question, I answer for them—no, because it’s not my gift.  I didn’t study to be one.   I could have tried to study to be one, but I might have not been good at it.  Most of all, I wouldn’t have been happy.  The sun shines and all the varying kind of wildflowers cover the grasses and fields in their beauty.   St. Paul knew this in his example of “one body, many parts.”  We need each other.  Doctors or lawyers cannot do what God has given me to do in my life.  Yet we’re all equal.  The paychecks are different.  But I have the freedom to leave what I’m doing at any time.   The point is, I am called to be doing what I am doing and as Paul says further, his grace was not in vain.    

So in the liberty that God has given you, and that the Founders and Framers acknowledged to honor in you, what is God calling you to be and do?    I can tell you from my experience, it will probably be a varied number of things throughout your life.  God is always about the business of stretching us—even when we’re retired, to expand in the Spirit’s Image and Likeness.  And as much as there are those times when decibels and voltage across two components in parallel with a voltage source mentally knock me to the ground, I am still in God’s cradle of Liberty just as you are.  God stretches us so there’s more space for God to be in us.  Stretching is like exercising one of those muscles we didn’t know we had.   It doesn’t always feel good.  So what.

So where does God want to stretch you next?