Yeshua says: The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of knowledge
and hidden them away.
They did not go in themselves,
nor did they allow to enter those who wish to.

You, however, be as shrewd as serpents
and simple as doves!

(Matthew 23:13; Matthew 10:16)

Religion can be a problem. It was a problem for Jesus; his most consistent conflicts arose among those who held positions of power and authority in the religious hierarchy of his day.

As a “religious official” myself, I need to hear Saying 39 carefully and ponder it deeply.

I need to ask myself if I am hiding the heart of faith away from those whose faith I am intended to nurture and encourage.

Whenever I use my religious position for my own benefit, I inevitably put obstacles in the way of those who wish to “enter” the realm of faith.

When my position in the religious establishment becomes for me a way to promote my own sense of personal identity, I become a stumbling block for those who seek the light of love that is the presence of Christ that true faith always seeks to serve. I close the kingdom to all true seekers, whenever I cling to the perks, privileges, prestige, and sense of entitlement that can derive from my position, instead of laying aside any power that my position may bestow.

As Yeshua points out, I fall prey to these pitfalls of religious leadership whenever I “do not go in” myself. When I do not enter the realm of love and occupy in my own life the terrain of faith, I will default to using my religious position to accomplish whatever I do not find in my inner being due to my misuse of my position.

This is why Yeshua warns his audience to “be as shrewd as serpents and simple as doves!” Religious consumers need to be cautious about the leadership to which they commit themselves. We all need to seek to be “simple”, that is single-focused, not divided in our motives pretending to seek the good, the true, and the beautiful, while actually serving our own interests and ego needs.

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Today I will seek to “enter in” to an awareness of the presence of love that brings together the fragments of my life in a unity that is “simple” focused on opening to the truth and beauty I seek to find in my own life and to nurture in others.

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