Food for Thought: Being in the Question, September 4, 2019

Food for Thought: Being in the Question, September 4, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Being in the Question

 The Lamb, by William Blake

Little Lamb who made thee

Dost thou know who made thee

Gave thee life & bid thee feed.

By the stream & o’er the mead;

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing wooly bright;

Gave thee such a tender voice,

Making all the vales rejoice!

 

Little Lamb who made thee

Dost thou know who made thee

 

Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,

Little Lamb I’ll tell thee!

 

He is called by thy name,

For he calls himself a Lamb:

He is meek & he is mild,

He became a little child:

I a child & thou a lamb,

We are called by his name.

 

Little Lamb God bless thee.

Little Lamb God bless thee.

 

 

TheTyger, by William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

 

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

 

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

 

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp,

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

 

When the stars threw down their spears

And water’d heaven with their tears:

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

 

Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

 

Further ideas about Nonduality/Unitive Consciousness 

  • NOT saying that there is no difference, but holding both in a single source
  • The essence of life, which is unitive, creates both the lamb and the tiger
  • Everything belongs

 I have talked in the past about “both/and” instead of “either/or”—which we see in particle physics, for example, which insists that light is BOTH and wave AND a particle.

 

Blake explores but does not answer the question, “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”

  • It is not about avoiding the reality of the differences, nor coming to a certainty about the underlying reality, but holding in the mind something perhaps “too wonderful” for comprehension, so to speak.

(A simple and emphatic “yes, he made both” just circumvents the depth of the pondering sometimes with an “I don’t want to think about it any further” decision.)

The question, “How did these two come from the same source?” doesn’t get quick satisfaction!

Another subject with questions that are “left open”—Death

Does he who makes alive also kill?

‘Now see that I, even I, am He,

And there is no God besides Me;

I kill and I make alive;

I wound and I heal;

Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

What happens when we die?

Why does the Bible say it is the “last enemy” to be defeated? Is it always an enemy in the Bible? In life? In Spiritual experience?

Does God need it for the time being for the plan to come to pass?

Why do good people often die early and wicked people live on and on?

 

Are questions without final answers part of spiritual growth and development?

Why is the poet OK with remaining in the question?

Does spiritual growth demand that we let go our need for control of the answers?

 

A Lamb who knows that somehow God is also responsible for the tiger

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,

The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;

And a little child shall lead them.

 The cow and the bear shall graze;

Their young ones shall lie down together;

And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,

And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.

 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord

As the waters cover the sea.

 

Despite the unanswered questions, the biblical vision is for the transformation of the tigers, while the little lambs remain the same. (speaking of humans here now)

Jesus the Lamb (also the Lion), calls “sheep among wolves”

A lamb who knows the one who also made the wolf—what a trip!

He who bears the sword is a minister of god.

                              The authorities that are set up are to be respected. (despite being under wicked influence)

But still aiming at their transformation and riddance of violence.

What difficulty! What unanswered questions!

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