Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sing Your Sacred Song

L. Dwight Turner

The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life that never realized its full potential. You must decide today not to rob the world of the rich, valuable, potent, untapped resources locked away within you. It has been said that the wealthiest place on earth is not in bank vaults, Fort Knox, or underneath Bill Gates mattress. No, the wealthiest place on earth is the cemetery.

Beneath the gravestones lie so many dreams that went unfulfilled; so much potential that was never realized; so much purpose that was never discovered and manifested. I am reminded of the poignant verses of Tagore in the Gitangali:

The song that I came to sing remains
unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing and in
unstringing my instrument.

I actually got goose bumps the first time I read Tagore’s words. I vowed at that moment that my song would not go unsung. Whatever contribution I was to make to this world would be made before I came to rest in that wealthy domain we spoke of earlier. I can also say that my song continues, with new lines, verses and melodies as my life unfolds. For this, I am ever grateful.

It is vital that every person understand that we are responsible for developing the potential stored within us. We must deepen our contact with our divine potential, which I call our Sacred Mind, and do all that we can to nurture, feed, and actualize our true potential. Further, we must recognize that as we move forward in developing our optimal potential, we can never afford to stop. In essence, when we travel the metaphysical journey, we are either moving forward or backward. There is truly no place to stand on the spiritual path.

Spiritual growth is a complex subject and we could waste much time and space exploring the more arcane aspects of personal unfolding. However, I choose instead to try to keep things as simple as feasible, especially in the context of a short article. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a topic that seems to cause many sincere seekers to go off the tracks and race down many unproductive rabbit holes. I am talking here about the subject of “purpose.” The issue of purpose is intimately connected with potential and it is often difficult to talk about one without delving into the other.

Many of us are so obsessed with “finding our purpose” that we ignore more important aspects of the spiritual journey. Granted, the Creator seems to have arranged things in such a way that each of us came to this planet with a unique mission. In spite of this, however, all of us share components of a more generalized, universal purpose. In my own journey, I have come to define a central aspect of this universal purpose shared by all believers as follows:

“I must become the optimal version of myself for the glory of God and the benefit of others.”

“Well, I can’t argue with that,” you might say. “But how do I pull it off?”

Good question. Space does not permit a detailed explanation of the complete methodology of becoming the best version of yourself and, besides, I believe that each of us must find our own personal way of unfolding our divine nature. Still, I think we can look at two practical things we can do: define and visualize.
Begin by spending time developing a definition of the best version of yourself. What qualities will your highest self possess? What kind of activities will be a central part of your life and your spiritual development? How will you earn your living? And most significantly, how will you be of service to others?

Once you have a workable definition, set aside a special time each day and see this best version of yourself in your mind’s eye. See yourself manifesting the qualities described in your definition, engaging in the activities you listed, and serving in your best capacity. This exercise of your imagination is a key component of making the best version of yourself a reality.

From the outset, you must learn to consistently see the best version of yourself and your life unfolding in your inner vision. The power of the mind’s eye is uncanny. It is through our capacity of thought and inner visualization that we are capable of taking something out of the realm of the unseen and making it a reality in the realm of the seen. This requires faith: faith in yourself and your abilities; and faith in the principles of optimal cognition. If you have a problem, see it resolved; if your have a business, see it succeeding; if you have a dream, see it unfolding according to your desire. Let this positive image become a part of yourself, sinking down into the subconscious mind and your inner spirit, the central core of yourself.

A fundamental principle of Positive Psychology states that whatever you keep before your mind’s eye will affect you, either for good or for bad. If you consistently focus on negativity and dwell on your problems, your mindset will become darker and your problems will worsen. If you focus on limitation, lack, failure, and defeat, that is the kind of life you are going to create. Instead, try focusing your mental energy on success, victory, health, abundance, peace, joy, and happiness. Our innermost spirit, which is one with the Divine Source, has as its purpose the unfolding of your greatest good. Don’t lose sight of that truth. In order to create the kind of life you want, you have to get your thoughts and your inner vision in alignment with the power and purpose of your innermost spirit, called by our Quaker brothers and sisters the “Inner Light.”

This visualization process is not a fantasy or an escape from reality. It is, instead, based on centuries of practical application and positive results and utilizes one of God’s greatest gifts: a spiritual imagination. When life presents you with problems, many times there is nothing you can do about it. However, you can have complete control over your response to any problem life sends your way. You can have greater peace of mind if you just choose to have the right kind of thoughts. Focus your entire being on finding solutions, rather than wallowing in the problems at hand. Work diligently to find your Inner Light, and when you do, continue to take proactive measures to deepen and maintain your contact with this sacred aspect of your being.

Be persistent and keep at it in a disciplined, optimistic manner. Before you know it, you will hear your song ringing up from your Sacred Mind. From that point forward your life will be more positive and meaningful. And when the day comes when you leave this world, you won’t be making a deposit in the Bank of Dead Dreams.

© L.D. Turner 2008/ All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Essence of Spirituality: Radical Compassion

L. Dwight Turner

Jesus Christ was not a man of compassion; he was a man of radical compassion. From his voluntary mission to this broken world, to his mysterious ascension back into the heavenly realm, there was no theme he stressed more in both word and deed. From his opening salvo quoting Isaiah about bringing release to the captives and good news to the poor, to his dying plea of, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” Jesus exemplified a compassion far beyond what the world had seen before. Indeed, it was and is a radical compassion.

Jesus’ stories about the Prodigal, the Good Samaritan, and his treatment of the woman caught in adultery all point to the need for a compassion that transcends the normal boundaries defined by contemporary culture, then and now. Indeed, it was and is a radical compassion.

Five-hundred years before Jesus, another prophet of radical compassion graced our world. Gautama Buddha was an example of grace and perfect love incarnate. After finding his awakening under the Bodhi tree, the Buddha went about spreading the truth that he had discovered, a truth that when astutely applied to life, could liberate beings from endless rounds of suffering. Just as with Jesus who would come later, Buddha taught through sermons, informal talks, parables, and above all, his actions.

Just as Christ would later set an example for his disciples to follow, the Buddha also would serve as the divine prototype for the essence of “metta,” or “loving-kindness.” In Metta, there is an internal manifestation and an external manifestation. Internally, increasing feelings of loving kindness give rise to a vital sense of compassion that is also based on the realization of the oneness of all things. These internal states of loving kindness and compassion result in the external manifestation, which is proactive service to the world.

This eventually gave rise to the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of the Bodhisattva. On a theoretical level, one can accurately say that the ultimate goal of the Bodhisattva is enlightenment and to some extent this is true. However, on a highly practical level, the Bodhisattva’s highest goal is selfless service. Personal enlightenment takes a back seat to serving others, spiritually and materially. Perhaps no where in the sacred writings of the world is this reality presented so directly as in the 13th Chapter of the Gospel of John.

Radical compassion is compassion with legs; radical compassion is a verb. Just as the Bible tells us in the Letter of James that faith without works is dead, also, compassion without concomitant action is a lifeless phenomenon. Many sincere aspirants have the mistaken notion that the ultimate goal of the spiritual path is enlightenment. Although a sincere desire for motivation is one of our most treasured possessions, it is actually penultimate. The real aim of the spiritual journey is simply this – Sacred Service. All that we do is dedicated to the greatest good of all beings in all the worlds. Our gain is their gain, our loss is their loss, our advancement is their advancement, and it is to this sacred reality that we offer our benedictions at the end of our times of meditation and prayer.

In the Christian faith especially, personal enlightenment takes a back seat to serving others, spiritually and materially. Perhaps no where in the sacred writings of the world is this reality presented so directly as in the 13th Chapter of the Gospel of John.

Imagine for a moment that you are one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and you, your band of rag tag friends, and the Master arrive at the Upper Room after a long, tedious, dusty day going about your business. You sit for a moment to catch your breath and unwind a few moments before you go wash up for the evening meal. You close your eyes for a few minutes, only to feel something or someone taking off your sandals. And to your utter disbelief, kneeling in front of you is the Master Jesus with a basin and a towel. Incredible….

The Master taught his disciples, and all of us who have read of this amazing episode, a clear and concise example of the essence of spirituality: selfless service with a heart of humility. If only more of us, especially those who claim to be followers of Jesus, would take this lesson to heart, our world would have much less pain.

The Kingdom of God is a divine realm of proactive compassion. This is the message that Jesus came to deliver and through his actions as well as his words, he delivered it consistently. In all that he did and he said, Jesus revealed to us the nature of God. This incarnational revelation was hinted at in the Master’s magnificent prayer in John 17. In the 21st verse the Master says:

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

In the Bible’s most well known verse, John 3:16, it is stated that for God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. (NLT)

Now, to make this even clearer, let’s look at one more verse in John 17. In verse three John records:

And this is the way to have eternal life, to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. (NLT)

Putting all this together, Jesus gave us a powerful but very real theology in this prayer and his disciple, John, fully caught its significance by saying in 3:16 that God loved the world so much that he sent his Son to save it. On God’s part, this was a perfect example of “proactive compassion” or what we often call “grace.” Motivated by the purest form of love, God was moved to have compassion on we fallen creatures, even in our blind ignorance, and he literally gave that compassion flesh by sending us the Master Jesus.

In order for compassion to become more than just a nice idea or a sentimental feeling, it must flow out of the internalized wisdom of the ages, particularly as related to the reality of “interconnectivity.” The idea of interconnectivity, now confirmed by the field of quantum physics, has been around for many centuries and is at the core of interspiritual mysticism, that one aspect of world religion that seems to transcend culture, time, and especially theology. It is a mystical connectedness that promotes compassion and engaged action to make the world a better place for all who dwell here. In essence, it is a deep wisdom that gives flesh to grace. The great spiritual writer Kahil Gibran spoke of this interconnected reality when he said:

Your neighbor is your other self dwelling behind a wall. In understanding, all walls shall fall down. Who knows but that your neighbor is your better self wearing another body? See that you love him as you would yourself. He too is a manifestation of the Most High.

In India, for example, we have the story of Indra’s Net, which is strung throughout the universe with a precious jewel at the places where the cords of the net intersect. These jewels, in turn, reflect all of the other jewels. Similar to the modern discovery of the hologram, the image of Indra’s Net is filled with symbolic wisdom depicting the interconnectivity of all that is. Gary Zukav, in his groundbreaking book entitled, The Dancing Wu Li Masters tell us:

…the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics is that all things in our universe (including us) that appears to exist independently are actually parts of one all-encompassing organic pattern, and that no parts of that pattern are ever really separate from it or from each other.

In the Christian tradition, the writings of the great mystic teachers echo these same truths, often in symbolic and metaphorical ways. Julian of Norwich especially comes to mind as well as Hildegard of Bingen and Madame Guyon. The writings of Saint Theresa of Avila and the life and work of St. Francis also point to the interconnectivity of all life and the necessity of having a heart of radical compassion.

The great Romantic poets like William Wordsworth and Percy B. Shelley have voices that ring loudly with the sense of the interrelated aspects of the natural world and their American counterparts, the Transcendentalists, in the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, also echo this theme of divine connectivity. And then there is the work of that master of the arcane, William Blake who spoke of the mystic’s ability:

To see a World in a grain of sand,
And Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.

The world that we interact with each day only appears to be solid. In point of fact, it is an intricate dance of sub-atomic waves and particles that obey none of the traditional or expected moves of predictable choreography. At its core level, our apparently solid, material world is less like classical music and more like jazz. Just when we think we have a handle on how things are, these very things change, morphing into something totally unexpected and often totally mysterious. Someone wise, I forget who, once said the life is not a riddle to be solved but a mystery to be lived. How true, and the sooner a person grasps this fundamental truth, the less frustration will appear in his or her life.

It is not my intention to travel too far down this road of quantum physics at this juncture. Suffice to say that contemporary science is increasingly coming to grasp the same fundamental truths that mystics and shamans have voiced for many centuries. Simply put: Everything is interrelated and interdependent and when one part is affected by something, at a very core level, every other part is also impacted.

In teaching about the interrelated aspect of the universe, I often use a simple analogy that explains these principles in a basic way. I use the example of raisin Jell-o. Imagine you have concocted a delicious tub or raisin Jell-o. Choose your favorite flavor if you like. The raisins are the important thing, here. Now, what happens when you take your index finger and thump one of the raisins? All the raisins move. Crude as this metaphor is, it makes the point that all the raisins in the bowl are connected and if one raisin moves, they all move. This is what the mystics, and the quantum physicists, are talking about when they speak of interconnectivity.

Christian writer and teacher Elizabeth Elliot, looking at God’s wondrous creation with both attentiveness and wisdom, grasps the profundity of this theme of interconnectedness and how it illustrates a foundation of commonality between humans and other species in God’s creation:

The closer one comes to the center of things, the better able he is to observe the connections. Everything created is connected, for everything is produced by the same mind, the same love, and is dependent on the same Creator. He who masterminded the universe, the Lord God Omnipotent, is the One who called the stars into being, commanded light, spoke the Word that brought about the existence of time and space and every form of matter: salt and stone, rose and redwood, feather and fur and fin and flesh. The titmouse and the turkey answer to Him. The sheep, the pig, and the finch are His, at His disposal, possessed and known by Him…We too are created, owned, possessed, known.

As the church moves into the second decade of the 21st Century it has already become apparent that great changes are in the wind. I feel some of these changes are connected with an increased understanding of how God’s magnificent creation is put together in this incredible holographic manner in which each part contains the totality of the whole and every aspect of his world exists in an interdependent relationship with every other part. This is no romantic sentimentalism I am speaking of. Instead, it is a living, vibrant reality that, when one takes it to heart, changes everything. For the church, the message of the gospel become less of “let me show you the way,” and more of “What do you need?”

This move toward proactive compassion is a move of grace. Perhaps you are not accustomed to looking at grace that way, but grace is what we are dealing with. As stated earlier, a major part of Christ’s incarnation and our ongoing mission is to give flesh to grace. Caroline Myss makes this cogent observation in her book, Invisible Acts of Power:

What really happens inside you when you respond to someone in need? Why do some people jump out of their seats to help another person, while others look the other way? No doubt, some people have been taught to be kind and others may be naturally thoughtful. But I think something greater than compassion or good manners is at work, something beyond the motivation of the strong to help the weak or the wealthy to help the poor. I think it is the invisible power of grace, moving between the open hearts of give and receiver. The action itself, the lifting of a heavy piece of luggage or the drink of water offered to the thirsty man, may be small. But the energy that is channeled through that action is the high-voltage current of grace. It contains the power to renew someone’s faith in himself. It even has the power to save a life.

It should not be too difficult of an intellectual jump to see why this concept of interrelated reality should lead to a true and radical sense of compassion. What happens to me in the ultimate sense, happens to you and vice versa. When a child dies of hunger or disease in a poverty stricken nation, some part of each of us dies. We may not feel it, understand it, or even recognize it. Still, it is a fundamental spiritual and quantum truth. It is wise to remember the words of the 17th Century poet John Donne as he spoke of the custom of the time which involved ringing the town’s bell whenever someone died:

Any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind;
Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

© L.D. Turner 2009/All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 5, 2009

From Potential to Glory: Our Journey Into Spiritual Excellence

L. Dwight Turner

At Sacred Mind Ministries and LifeBrook International we have a corporate mission to provide programs and materials that assist individuals and organizations to become the optimal version of themselves for the benefit of others. This has been our mission since the founding of our ministry and we have never wavered in our pursuit of creating opportunities for people to grasp a real sense of who and what they are, what their God-given potential is, and that to which they are called. Once this happens, we feel a person is then ready to find a vital, living personal vision and, when this vision is fully realized, to walk in the full harvest of their personal glory.

Let’s take a little time a look at the how this flow normally takes place. Briefly, we can say that our growth into Christ-like character and into the optional version of ourselves moves through seven interrelated phases.

• Acknowledging and accepting our new identity “in Christ.”
• Understanding our “Seed Potential.”
• Discovering our “Call to Purpose”
• Living with “Vital Vision.”
• Our “Harvest of Glory.”
• Walking in “Spiritual Excellence.”
• Serving through Radical Compassion

Our New Identity in Christ

It begins with the acknowledgement that we are not functioning anywhere near our true potential and, at least initially, this stems from the fact that we believers have little idea of who and what we are “in Christ.” For many reason, the church has jettisoned the vital half of the gospel, choosing instead to focus on the blood and forgiveness at the expense of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

It is as if you own a house with an exquisite, one-of-a-kind door. You fell in love with this door and worship it so much that you never cross the threshold and go inside the house, which is even more beautiful. Likewise, many Christians become so immersed in Christ’s atoning work on the Cross and the cleansing of his blood they never grasp why he did this in the first place. He didn’t go through what he did so we could live life half-way, filled with doubt, inadequacy, and spiritual instability. Christ did not die just to get us into heaven my friend; he died in order to get heaven into us. Christ rose, met the disciples, breathed the Holy Spirit into them, gave them a Great Commission, and ascended into heaven, thus making the Pentecost possible.

In light of these realities, our first task is to understand and accept just what Christ accomplished with his death, resurrection, and ascension. We have a new identity and in the words of Paul, the old has passed away and the new has come. We are new creations in Christ and what’s more amazing, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Until we grasp the character and the ramifications of our new identity, we will only grow in fits and starts, if at all. It’s time to walk on through the door, grand as it is, and see what blessings have been placed inside.

Understanding Our Seed Potential

God has placed a potential on the inside of each of us and I am convinced this occurred before we were ever born. This seed has the fulfillment of our calling, purpose, and vision in its core, just as an acorn has a mighty oak hidden within its fibers. God-given potential is like a seed and, with the proper environment, that seed can develop, grow, and manifest those things hidden within its hull.

You potential is like a seed and, until you allow that seed to grow, your dream will remain just that – a dream. God gave you this potential and, with the right environment, that seed potential will grow and develop into something quite magnificent. Dr. Myles Munroe speaks of these issues cogently:

“The entire creation possesses this principle of potential. Everything has the natural instinct to release its ability. The plant and animal kingdoms abound with evidences of this fact. The Creator designed everything with this principle of potential, which can be simplified to the concept of a seed. The biblical document states that God created everything with ‘seed in it according to their kinds’ (Genesis 1:12). In essence, hidden within everything is the potential to fulfill itself and produce much more than we see.”

It is vital that every person understand that we are responsible for developing the potential stored within us. We must deepen our contact with our divine potential and do all that we can to nurture, feed, and actualize our true mission and purpose. Further, we must recognize that as we move forward in developing our optimal potential, we can never afford to stop. In essence, when we travel the spiritual journey, we are either moving forward or backward. There is truly no place to stand on the spiritual path.

Our journey of discovering and developing our divine potential must begin with a commitment to excellence – an agreement with our Creator that we will walk in cooperation with the Spirit to become the best version of ourselves.

Necessarily, this commitment will involve personal challenges and, at times, a degree of personal discomfort. Spiritual growth involves change and change always requires stepping out of our comfort zone. Still, the process of realizing and manifesting our divine potential is one of the greatest adventures we will ever undertake.

Discovering Our Call To Purpose

Three terms that are often heard when discussing our “purpose” in life are purpose, mission, and calling. These words often used interchangeably and can mean basically the same thing. I think the confusion comes in when an author or speaker uses these three expressions to mean different things. With that thought in mind, whenever I use these words, I take them to mean basically the same thing. Our mission, our purpose, and our calling refer to our God-given reason for being here on this planet at this time. In addition, I firmly believe that God has a highly specific calling for each of us that has three primary aspects:

• It is personal and specific to us;
• It is related to our spiritual gifts
• The realization and actualization of this mission is a major part of our spiritual formation and helps grow into the optimal version of ourselves.

In the next section we will talk about vision and it is important to understand how mission and vision are different. Our mission or purpose is far more general than our vision. Basically, you can say our vision is the specific way in which we will realize our mission.

We can say that your mission is your life calling, your reason for being here. It is not so much specific activities as it is the reason you perform those activities. Your mission gives your life meaning and gives you positive motivation to get out of bed each morning and, in positive faith, face the challenges that may come your way. Your true mission is a major motivator, something you enjoy doing, and something for which you have passion and enthusiasm.

Living With Vital Vision

As mentioned earlier, vision is intimately related to purpose but more specific. Put simply, vision is the method whereby you see yourself living out your mission to completion. Living with vital vision involves every area of your life and how those aspects of your life related to your personal mission. Your vision involves your family, friends, associates, and especially your choice of career. Ideally, all of these things come together in a harmonious orbit around the specific vision you develop for carrying forward your mission.

Arriving at your vision is a process, not an event. It requires much planning, organization, and flexibility. Most significantly, developing your vision involves deep, focused, and above all, consistent prayer. You cannot expect to discover what God wants you to do and the best way to do it without communing with Him on a regular basis. Pray that the Holy Spirit walks with you, guiding you, and challenging you to move forward with your vision, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. More than anywhere else in the process of growth into excellence, the phase of vital vision may require you to think out of the box.

A simple way to look at the relationship of vision and mission is as follows. Let’s suppose that three friends all have a mission to provide convenient, quality, fast-food to busy workers. One may decide to open a Burger King franchise, another a Pizza Hut. The third may have a vision of a Taco Bell. You see, the mission of quality fast-food is the same; the vision of each friend is different. I realize this example is overly simplistic, but I do think it serves our purposes of demonstrating how a vision is a specific plan for carrying forward a more general mission or calling.

Your Harvest of Glory

Your God-given potential began as a seed planted in you by the Creator before your birth. Further, he not only planted this great potential within you but also gave you all the talent you needed to discover this potential and, in concert with the Holy Spirit, connect your potential to a divine personal purpose – a call to a specific mission that was yours to carry forward. Once discovered, this mission hopefully gave you sufficient passion and motivation to develop and carry out a specific personal vision that allowed your talents and gifts to blossom and your personal vision to become a vital, living reality.

By realizing the manifestation of your mission you necessarily had to hone and develop your God-given talents and gifts and, in so doing, became more and more the optimal version of yourself. Now, walking in your personal excellence, creativity, and commitment, you are harvesting your personal glory.

We can see hints of this process in the Master’s great prayer in the 17th Chapter of John’s gospel when he expresses that as he is glorified, the Father is glorified. And the reality is my friends, when we walk in our excellence – when we manifest and live as the optimal version of who we are, we glorify the Master.

Walking in Spiritual Excellence

As a result of reaping our harvest, we are now able to manifest our true potential, realize our vital vision and in the process, become the optimal version of ourselves. We consistently walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh and in so doing, we are able to become more effective servants of the Light.

As you see, we move from our seed potential to walking in our manifest glory. We do this not to glorify ourselves, but to glorify our Master, our Father in heaven, and the Holy Spirit that has dwelled within us, walked along side us, empowered us, and made all this possible. When we come to walk in our personal glory, we are then able to be of true, selfless benefit to others while bringing glory to God.

This is our true aim and our ultimate calling – to be all that we can be; to give glory to our Creator; and to serve others with love. In the final analysis, we can ask for no greater destiny than this.

Serving With Radical Compassion

When the Master walked this earth, he did so as the prototype of a person who consistently walks in spiritual excellence. Jesus was the optimal version of who and what he was and it is to that goal we all aspire. Granted, we cannot walk as God’s Son walked – scripture tells us Jesus was the only one. However, we can walk as the optimal version of who we are.

Jesus gave himself completely to the Father so that he could do the Father’s will completely. And what was the ultimate will of the Father for his Son? The answer is simple: serve others!

Like Christ, we, too, are to give ourselves completely to God so that we can do His will completely. And what is God’s ultimate will for us? It should be obvious by now: we are to serve others.

Our service is the offspring of a heart of compassion, built upon our deep recognition of the pain and suffering inherent in this world and our interconnected unity with all people. You may not know it yet, but every man on this planet is your brother and every woman is your sister. You are made of the same combination of earth and divine breath. When one person suffers, at some level, we all suffer. This is not some New Age airy fairy fantasy; instead, it is scientific fact and theological truth.

From his opening salvo quoting Isaiah about bringing release to the captives and good news to the poor, to his dying plea of, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” Jesus exemplified a compassion far beyond what the world had seen before.

Indeed, it was and is a radical compassion.

Jesus’ stories about the Prodigal, the Good Samaritan, and his treatment of the woman caught in adultery all point to the need for a compassion that transcends the normal boundaries defined by contemporary culture, then and now.

Indeed, it was and is a radical compassion.

Friends, no matter what our station in life might be – no matter our race, our color, our culture, or our economic stature – we are called to the same.

Indeed, it is and will always be a radical compassion.

© L.D. Turner 2009/All Rights Reserved