Easter weekend. The first rays of the sun shine through the blinds. My family is still asleep, and all is quiet, a strange quiet. We have not prepared for work or school for several weeks. We are inside, ordered to stay home. “Social distancing”, a phrase new to our vocabulary and our lives. I miss my friends. I miss being around children all day at work. Humans are social. It is hard to live at a physical and mental distance from each other, the feeling even more poignant during this holiday.
Where does all this war come from? Why do we hate each other so? In the Bible, Jesus taught his disciples about the Father’s kingdom, a kingdom of Love. In the kingdom of Love, Jesus said we must learn to even love our enemies. At the end of Jesus’ life, Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant to try and protect Jesus from violence. Jesus corrected Peter and responded in peace by laying his healing hands on the servant’s ear.
Jesus taught us to show love by healing the helpless, bandaging the bruised, washing the wounds of the world. As we recognize our oneness, we spread sacred Reiki healing around the world. We are all brothers and sisters, beloved children of the Creator.
The Creator is Love. God is the definition of love. God is an infinite ocean of love. Each of us is only a droplet in this ocean, reflecting the light of the Source. We become perfect when we embrace ourselves in that love, give voice to that love, embody that love on this physical earth.
War is the opposite of love. War is the opposite of God. Why do we divide ourselves in war? Why do we mourn our fallen soldiers, then go on and create more war? Why did my Christian community teach me to love war as I was growing up?
My heart cannot understand all the praise my family gave to war. My heart grieves the adoration my church gave the military and hi-tech weapons. There is big money, and greed, tied up in US weapons manufacturing. The masters or war sell this to the churches as “patriotism” and “pride”. My church taught me that the United States only fights “just wars”. They said that war is how we free the victims and the oppressed.
Yes, for sure, God’s heart is for the victim and the oppressed. But war creates oppression, not solves it.
Still, there is hope. I think of the American churches who welcome Syrian refugees with open hearts and homes. This New York Times Article is a great example. I think of the Quaker churches who have always preached peace and nonviolence. I think of the churches who have declared themselves sanctuaries. They are housing Latin American immigrants caught in political wars. Each of these churches flow as bright droplets of light in the ocean of Love. They understand the teachings of Jesus and the heart of God.
I am grateful to my childhood church for encouraging me to read the Bible. There is so much beauty and love in its pages. There is theological explanation of the human condition. There is grace for the many mistakes of imperfect humans. We are all learning to trade darkness for light, greed for charity, fear for hope.
The Bible teaches me that we must tame the war inside ourselves to stop all the war outside.
On this Memorial Day, I hold my Bible and I read the hope of Isaiah. I share the prophet’s hope that someday the whole world will beat their swords into plowshares. Someday we will practice war no more. Someday we will have no more fallen soldiers and refugee victims. I hold out my hands of peace and I pray for Reiki healing over this war-torn world.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore. read more
I have often said that I am a healer in need of healing. All of the best spiritual healers in the world have suffered many ailments. It takes deep empathy to learn the art of healing. I often pray to walk a mile in another person’s shoes so I can change my world.
Right now I am in great need of healing. I have developed a cataract in one eye that is progressing very rapidly. The diagnosis shocked me, because I am only 32 years old. As much as I know about medicine, I always thought of cataracts as only a disease of advanced age.
I have been near-sighted most of my life, so, ironically, my problem started when my eye suddenly got much better and my glasses were uncomfortable. I went to the optometrist, and she had to change my glass prescription three times in a month, ultimately cutting my prescription in half.
Unfortunately, with each prescription change, I noticed a cloud starting to descend on my vision, like looking at the world through the spreading fog of a bathroom mirror after a hot shower. I also started to lose my near vision, even as my far vision got better. This hurts me because I love to read and write, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Working on my websites has also become a challenge.
I have an appointment with another opthalmologist, but they have already said that surgery may be my only option. I do not want to follow that path right now. I had a horrible experience with ankle surgery, and I am not eager to have surgery again. I know that Western medicine has its place, but I want to pursue holistic healing first.
I am practicing Reiki and meditation with my vision. Maybe this is a life lesson for me on my spiritual path. Perhaps my spiritual vision is affecting my physical vision; a temporary foggy patch as I ascend the clouds to another level of the mountain. I also think I need to learn to rest my eyes more, just rest in general. I have a high-stress day job, and maybe resting my eyes is a way to help me learn to calm down more and let all my worries fly away.
I am also learning to empathize with those who struggle to see in any way. I have thought often lately of the story in the Bible about the blind man whom Jesus healed (Mark 8). When Jesus first put his hands on the man’s eyes, the man said he saw “people looking like trees walking around.” Jesus then put his hands on the man a second time and he was healed completely.
I always thought this story was a bit odd. Why did he see people like trees? Now I can empathize, because the blurriness and fogginess that I am experiencing looks somewhat like that description.
This story also reminds me that healing takes time. The miracle may not happen completely or at all on the first attempt, even for the greatest Healer of all time. Maybe the man was not quite ready to see. Maybe he still had fears. After all, if he had been blind for most or all of his life, learning to see, although a great gift, would completely change his identity.
This principle is also true of the first week, or the first year, or the first decade of the healing process. Healing is a soul journey as much as a physical one. I want to participate fully in this journey. I believe that I will come out the other side with my vision restored, and even better than it was before.
I bless you on the healing journey, friends, and I would appreciate if you could send a little Reiki and healing energy my way as well.
She felt the cold air rush in on her face and graze her naked skin. She looked at her partner next to her in the bed, wicked smile starting across his lips. “You’re going to get it now, whore,” he whispered. She stared into his dark eyes, looking for a sign of humanity, a sign of life. She only saw blackness, and demons.
She had given him everything he asked, and she hadn’t even demanded a very high price. She hated the rough treatment, the constant pain in her body and mind. She felt all their glances on the street. They all knew that she was a dirty woman.
Her parents had sold her into prostitution when she was only ten years old. The midwives gave her the herbs and the treatments. All in secret. She cried with each miscarriage, each life cut short by cruel circumstance.
But then the miracle happened. The herbs didn’t take and, at age sixteen, she gave birth to her beloved daughter, the light of her life. She hid away her child, protecting her from the judgment of society and the religious leaders.
By day she shared bread and fish with her daughter, and the rare treat of an apple or some grapes. They liked to climb trees and play hide-and-seek in the warm morning sun, when people assumed her husband was busy studying Torah. She lived her own lost childhood with her daughter. A kind man knew their secret and had built them a shelter. She laid her daughter to bed there at night, and breathed a prayer of protection over her. Then she sneaked out to earn their living.
This was the only way she knew to buy a better life for her daughter. Society gave some protection for widows, but she was only a whore with a child, never married, an illegitimate family. She knew that nobody wanted to help, so she had to fight, the only way she knew how. There were plenty of men ready to oblige.
She had continued in this life of hell for twelve years. The child was almost old enough to marry now, and, hopefully she could find a family with a son who would understand. She only had to turn a few more tricks, keep up the secret a little longer.
She knew she shouldn’t have trusted him when she saw him. He was a religious leader, a young man from the learned class. But he was handsome, and, more importantly, he had money. Lots of money. He asked her to do the deed in the morning. She had thought it unusual in daylight where people could see, but he assured her that his parents would not be home.
The sheets were soft white and the blankets rich purple. She imagined herself a queen dressed all in palace purple as she allowed him to come into her. She closed her eyes and moaned a little to please him while she pictured her daughter, a new happy bride in a happy house, sunshine filling the windows and a flourishing olive grove growing in the field. The dream of abundance swallowed up her pain.
But the icy fingers of the wind ripped her dream into shreds. The older man stood in the door, his religious robes dark against the morning sun. She tucked her head and shivered underneath the sheets. She did not cry; she had lost all of her tears when her parents abandoned her. She only thought of her daughter.
The young religious leader rose from the bed and calmly put on his clothes. “You can take her now. Do with her as you please. We’ll take care of these two trouble-makers today.”
The older religious leader came to the bed and grabbed her from the sheets. He threw her on the floor and threw her clothes on top of her. “Get dressed,” he sneered. “You know what we are going to do to you.”
The two men dragged her out of the house and down the street. They brought her to the Temple. She saw a young man teaching in the center. She had seen him somewhere before. There was a crowd whispering and talking around him. She marveled as she saw him answer a young man’s question and touch his hand. What kind of religious leader was this?
The men whisked her through the crowd and threw her at the teacher’s feet. The crowd fell silent. “We found this woman in the middle of adultery!” they proclaimed triumphantly. “Moses said in the Law to stone these kind of women. What do you say?”
The woman stared into the man’s face. He had kind eyes, a compassion she had never seen from any man. He whispered into her ear, “Don’t be afraid, I know what they’ve done to you.” He looked at the men who had dragged her in, and she saw his eyes turn to thunder.
“Well, what do you say, Yeshua?” The young religious leader sneered the name and tapped his foot impatiently. He bent down and picked up a stone from the ground. “We don’t have all day.”
The woman whispered “Are you Yeshua? The great healer?” She had heard all the stories. Hope filled her heart.
Yeshua bent down and wrote her name on the ground. He wrote the name of her daughter.
He stood up and proclaimed, “He who is without sin, throw the first stone.” The young religious leader grimaced and tightened his grip on the stone.
Yeshua bent down and wrote another name. The older man touched the young religious leader’s hand. “Let it go,” he whispered. Yeshua continued to write, name after name, sin after sin, of all of the religious leaders.
The young man and the old man turned and walked away, followed by all of the religious leaders and most of the crowd. The woman kept staring into Yeshua’s face. A dove made a mournful coo in the still morning air. What was happening?
Yeshua straightened up and looked around. “Are you the only one left? No one condemns you?”
“No, Master,” she whispered.
“Then neither do I. I know you were forced into what they call sin, but you are free from the bondage today. I have arranged for one of my disciples to care for you and your daughter. The Father loves you and has chosen you for this moment. You will be honored in heaven for your bravery.”
The woman knelt at the feet of the Master and cried.
The sea lapped at his ankles, spraying its waves toward the crowd like a playful puppy dances around its owner. The sea loved him. He smiled at the water, an expression of his appreciation and his understanding of the unknown depths.
His mind turned back to his boyhood days. He splashed and dived, the salty water burning his tongue and eyes. He walked in the shallows. He loved how the sand felt squishy and cool on his toes. His eyes pierced through the blue and gray, looking for flashes of color. Fish, seaweed, sea stars. He loved them all.
He waved hello to the fisherman in their boats. They waved and smiled back, leaving their course language and salty habits behind for a moment to revel in the joy of the young boy. He had a way of bringing them happiness and an uncanny knack of bringing the fish toward their vessels.
“Come in on now. It’s time for supper.” The wind carried her voice over the hill.
“Oh, just one more moment, momma,” the young boy pleaded back.
Then he saw her come over the hill, his baby brother on her hip and his little sister trailing behind. “Yeshua, you need to get your head out of the clouds for once. Get in here and wash up. I don’t have time for your childishness.”
Her stern tone cut his heart. He knew that she loved him, but she had so many worries. Would his father come home tonight? Or would he abandon the family once again, running to the arms of his lover, or the bar. Would he start trouble with the Roman soldiers? Would he go to jail or would he come home?
Don’t be afraid. The Voice whispered in his heart. She loves, but she has forgotten how to be a child. The kingdom belongs to little children like you.
“Come on Yeshua.” His mother grabbed his hand and tore him from the sea. A tear fell from his eye to her hand, and she looked at his face. Her tone softened. “Come on, kiddo. It will be ok. I know you love it out here, but we must be ready for father to come home.” She looked out at the sea, memories filling her own eyes. He wondered often about those memories, but she never shared her story.
“Tell us a Sabbath story, Rabbi!” someone shouted from the crowd, jarring his thoughts back to the present. The Rabbi took a long look at the sea, and then he turned around. The lines on his face betrayed his weariness and lied about his young age. He sighed and sat down on a rock. The crowd jostled closer to him, impatient to hear him, touch him, take some of his magic.
“Father, help me have patience,” he breathed.
Yeshua looked at the pleading crowd, and his heart melted for the thousandth time. They are just children, full of foolishness, he thought. They do not mean to harm.
“Love is the greatest miracle, the only true magic,” he began. The people quieted down, and even the lapping waves seemed to calm in the warmth of the teacher’s voice. A few birds called to each other, flying lazily in the late summer afternoon.
“Love is the kingdom. Love is the awakening. Whoever desires Truth must first seek Love. You follow all manner of rules and religion, but you have not learned the deep magic of Love. Love YHWH, love your neighbor, love yourself. You oppress and hate each other, and the world is destroyed.
Follow me in the way of compassion and understanding. You have seen the leper healed and the lame walking, but I tell you that a far greater miracle is within your reach. The greatest miracle on earth is a human heart changed by Love.
You have learned Law and you have learned Philosophy. You argue all day about the best way to earn power and get money. You think you are so smart in all your endless arguing, but you do not love. You are but stubborn mules who do not understand anything. Leave the world behind and pursue the greater kingdom. Love invites you in.
Love is healing. Love is life.”
The message ran long and the people grew weary. A few dozed in the long rays of the evening sun. The disciples surrounded the Master and said, “Rabbi, you must dismiss this crowd and send them away to buy food. They are tired, and this is a deserted place.”
Yeshua looked hard at them. “Have you not heard my words?” He shook his head. “You give them food.”
“But Rabbi, the crowd is huge. How can we possibly feed them?”
Yeshua stood up. “Who here has brought food for the day’s journey?” The crowd stirred and mumbled. Some people glanced at the satchels and baskets sitting in the grass next to them. Good, respectable, law-abiding Jews always brought a supply of food with them in these times of the Roman occupation. You could never know when you might have to dine with sinners, or eat an item sacrificed to an idol or prepared in an unclean way.
Yeshua stood up and looked out over the sea. Father, I ask you for a miracle, his thoughts prayed. Change their hearts and let them see you.
“Rabbi.” The small voice weaved into the master’s thoughts.
Yeshua turned around to see a small boy tugging at his coat. “I have some food that I want to share.”
The disciples walked over. “How can this little kid help our situation?” they demanded.
“Well, open his basket and see,” Yeshua gently responded. He bent down and looked into the boy’s eyes. “My child, you are creating a miracle. Watch and see.” The twinkle in the master’s eyes danced back in the eyes of the boy.
Yeshua shouted out to the crowd. “Look here. We have five loaves and two fishes. We will have miraculous provision.” He opened his hands to heaven and prayed, “Heavenly Father bless this meal we will partake in together. We are one and we dwell in your oneness. We are learning the meaning of love.”
Yeshua lowered his hands into the basket and broke the bread.
A woman approached and laid her basket at his feet. “Rabbi, I would like to offer my meal in thanks to heaven. I will share my small portion with my brother.”
Another man approached and silently laid his basket down.
Bread, fish, fruits, vegetables. One by one, people from the crowd came and laid down their portions.
Some grumbled, “What if there are sinners or unclean people in the crowd. Are we not commanded to stay away from them and their food?”
Yeshua smiled. “Little children, you do well to follow the letter of the Law, but you do not understand the spirit of the Law. Love fulfills the whole law. Love makes the unclean clean again. Moshe preached the Law, and the people felt the fierce love of YHWH. But your teachers have elaborated on the Law for centuries, and turned it into endless rituals without feeling or compassion. I again preach the deeper Law of Love.
The Law of Love heals your bodies and heals your hearts. Share with each other and learn the deeper truth of love.”
Soon, the hill was filled with food and givers. The small portions grew into bountiful feast, filling the stomachs and hearts of all.
Yeshua smiled and turned back toward the sea, now calm and reflecting the twilight stars. He prayed silently. “Thank you, Father, for showing your children today that Love overcomes all fear. There is so much bounty you have provided us on the earth, we just need to share and love.”
That fateful, terrible, wonderful night.
Oh, she loved him. That was for sure.
But why did he have to come on to her like that? Why could she not find the strength to resist? Or did she really want to resist?
The love had overcome her, like the gentle passion of a lone candle. The passion mounted until hot lava filled her body, seeping from her ears and coursing down to her toes.
But single candles have a way of becoming wildfires. The wildfire left its mark in her swelling belly and scattering friends. Even her family threatened to disown her. How could she dishonor us like that? Didn’t we raise her better?
She had felt the quickening, the beginning of a life. She crooned love songs to the spirit growing inside of her. Perhaps this child could make everything all right again. Her lover had left after that night, gone far away on a journey. To where, she could not know. But he had left a life behind. A life that she now grew and nurtured, alone.
Suddenly, he appeared again. He shook her from her bed, ripped the blankets from her body. Moonbeams fell through the window and landed on her naked belly. He stared at the deep mound of flesh, the round mark of womanhood. This was not the young maiden he had left behind. His eyes turned the color of the night sky. His lips curled back in a sneer. The baby kicked inside of her, and the moon hid behind a cloud. She closed her eyes at his rage, bracing for the storm.
She opened her eyes again as a woman placed a warm rag on her head. She felt a burning pain in her abdomen, an emptiness where she had before felt life. No more movements came from deep inside, no more heart kept time with her own. She could not bear to look down at her belly. She could only bear to close her eyes once more. She heard the woman whisper, “Shh. Rest now. It is done.”
She slipped back into darkness. Blood filled her dreams. She screamed out for her lost child, screamed out for her own lost childhood. It was all gone now. What did she have left? She wandered through a field of blood, looking to regain something, some fragment of what was lost.
She woke up and the blood filled the sheets. She screamed out in pain and fear. The woman came and changed her sheets. The woman held her hand over the sunken belly, praying words of comfort, praying for a miracle. The blood kept coming. Sometimes a trickle, sometimes a flood. For years, the blood kept coming.
She became an outcast, a pariah forced to live among the “unclean.” She felt worthless, alone, unloved. The agony in her heart mixed with the burning in her belly. The blood was so painful. She wished she could die, wished she could go to heaven and meet the child torn from her body. She wished that night had never happened. She wished and wished, but all she could do was continue to live among the dead.
She began to hear whispers in the camp. “He is a great healer.” “He can cure leprosy.” “He can drive out demons.” “Some think he is the Messiah.”
She listened and scarcely dared to hope. “But can he help me?” she asked eagerly.
“No one can help you,” came the reply.
“You are the worst of the unclean. You broke the law of adultery, and you killed your child. Not even he can help you.”
The words pierced her soul and brought forth rivers from her eyes. She ran from the camp into the woods. She threw herself to the ground and cried out, “YHWH, save me from this hell”. The leaves rustled and a wind tickled her lips.
Suddenly, a response came back. An almost-silent whisper in her heart. “Go to him. He will heal you.”
“But I can’t do that. You heard what they said. I am a sinner and an unclean woman,” she whispered.
“Go to him. He will heal,” the voice replied.
She rose off the ground and dusted off her dress. Her clothes hung in rags around her shoulders and knees. She could not hide the bloodstains, the years of accumulated pain, the sign of her uncleaness. Shivering, she stepped forward toward the village.
“What is she doing here?”
“How dare she leave the camp. She will infect us all!”
The crowd jeered and scattered at her approach. Tears and embarrassment burned her face. Still, she kept her head high, kept her eyes looking ahead. She had to find him. This was her only chance.
Suddenly, she saw him. She walked faster. Then broke into a run. Her heart pounded in her ears, blocking out the screams of the crowd.
If only she could reach him. Just touch him. He could heal her.
She came closer and closer. She tripped over a rock and tore a gash in her knee. Fresh blood mixed with the old blood on her dress. She lifted her head and saw the hem of his robe. She reached her hand out and grasped the hem. Power surged through her body. She felt her womb close up.
The blood was gone.
She looked up and locked eyes with Yeshua, and she knew that she would never be the same.
Matthew 9:20-22 20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 22 Yeshua turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.