Mark 12:34

Seeing that he had answered with discernment, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

how far is not far

in linear terms
inches and kilometers
are measures of hope
for we can go halfway
and halfway again
until we are practically here

for discerning wisdom
near only works in horseshoes
to be close to wisdom
is indeed faint praise
until enlightenment dawns
monkey-minds jump their hoops

to confuse these
turns encouragement
strangely dull
closing ears
warning off
dilettante pretenders

To be not far from a participation in what it means to be in the presence of G*D raises a question about the boundaries of a presence of G*D.

One import is that there is a distinction to be made between hearing, seeing, understanding, and doing. We return to how it is that Isaiah’s vision and Jesus’ parables can be seen and heard, and even memorized, but that until they are implemented there is no real comprehension.

It is important, then, to find ways of assisting people to act as though loving Neighb*rs is not distinguishable from loving G*D. Before the joy available here can be experienced, it needs to be lived. This is why removing discriminatory language from the institutions we belong to is important. The removal doesn’t get rid of prejudice, but it allows people to practice the mutuality and partnership necessary to have prejudice diminish to the point of finally no longer poking itself into all interactions.

Hearing this whole scene is very much like the time Jesus equated rich people with camels. The disciples were shocked—“Who then can be saved?”

“If this scribe, who agrees with Jesus, still isn’t in, the best we can do will always fall short.” Only silence or a question can deal with this realization. The disciples asked; the crowd remained silent.

The Reader may also need some quiet, wilderness, time to wrestle further with the interaction between G*D and Neighb*r before beginning a new practice based on this partnership.

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