A Wise Word as We Leave One Year Behind and Commence Our Journey in a New One

As we close the passage of time and events which was solar year 2022, I was thinking of all the ups and downs we have been through or witnessed from afar.  At times, it seems like our efforts are useless or evanescent, our prospects foreboding.  From whence cometh good cheer?

I might suggest to you that the light of hope, which each of you raises up, will bring us better days.  But it depends on us, as the founders of the Caux Round Table believed.  Individuals always make a difference – for better or worse or for naught.

I was reminded by this poem of Shaykh Rumi titled “Moses and the Shepherd” on the vital importance of each person:

Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying, God,
Where are You?  I want to help You, to fix Your shoes
and comb Your hair.  I want to wash Your clothes
and pick the lice off.  I want to bring You milk,
to kiss Your little hands and feet when it’s time
for You to go to bed.  I want to sweep Your room
and keep it neat.  God, my sheep and goats
are Yours.  All I can say, remembering You,
is ayyyy and ahhhhhhhhh.

Moses could stand it no longer.
Who are you talking to?
The One who made us,
and made the earth and made the sky.
Don’t talk about shoes
and socks with God!  And what’s this with Your little hands
and feet?  Such blasphemous familiarity sounds like
you’re chatting with your uncles.
Only something that grows
needs milk.  Only someone with feet needs shoes.  Not God!
Even if you meant God’s human representatives
as when God said, I was sick, and you did not visit me,
even then this tone would be foolish and irreverent. …

The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed
and wandered out into the desert.
A sudden revelation
came then to Moses.  God’s voice:

You have separated Me
from one of my own.  Did you come as a Prophet to unite,
or to sever?
I have given each being a separate and unique way
of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.
What seems wrong to you is right for him.
What is poison to one is honey to someone else.
Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship,
these mean nothing to Me.
I am apart from all that.
Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better
or worse than one another.

It’s all praise, and it’s all
It’s not Me that’s glorified in acts of worship.
It’s the worshipers!  I don’t hear the words
they say.  I look at the humility.

Happy New Year.