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A different kind of prayer

I’m not a Buddhist, but I love what Lao-tzu the Chinese prophet writes in the 70th verse of the Tao Te Ching (interpreted by Wayne Dyer). I find all of the verses (81) are full of wisdom and common sense. I suspect, perhaps, that Jesus might have known of Lao-Tzu’s writings, as so much of what he taught are very similar. Certainly Lao-Tzu’s wisdom was passed down through the ages the 500 years before Jesus.

Anyway, to get on with it – it seems to me that every nation, every politician, every religion, is based on power. Yes, many of the mainstream churches are dwindling and why? They can’t pay the bills, the membership consists of the “old timers,” and the churches don’t seem to have much to offer the younger generation. The churches that are growing are the mega churches that promise if you are: “faithful” to the Lord, you will be blessed with riches. What a false promise. True North here in Augusta opened its doors on April 19. It is a fine looking facility, but it should be for what they spent on it.

Think of some of the great spiritual teachers of the past. Lao-Tzu wore a simple robe, Jesus wore a plain robe and sandals, Saint Francis wore tattered rags, Buddha looked like a peasant with a walking stick, and Mohammed is portrayed as a simple man. Dressing plainly and practicing what they preached kept the sages of old in harmony with the simplicity of their message. Now think of these growing mega churches in our country, – some pastors are living in million dollar homes, wearing $2,000 suits, driving Mercedes cars and have more than one car in the garage. Ironic isn’t it – that the sages of old even though they looked like they were in poverty concealed within themselves, the most precious commodities.

These commodities that God formed are the three most important treasures: mercy, frugality and humility. We don’t need gold-embroidered garments and cathedrals built to the “honor and glory of God” – all of which were the result of the blood and sweat of countless servants and slaves. It’s no different today – the common folk are the ones contributing their hard earned money, so the pastors can live in luxury. Lao-Tzu says in this 70th verse, that he is bewildered that so few people seem to grasp his beautifully simple message. Somewhere along the line we lost what we are here for. Not to live for the material things, but to love and serve the “have-nots” of the world. When hunger and disease fill our world, we ought to be ashamed.

I, for one, do feel ashamed at times because I have so much. I do volunteer and give monetary gifts in many areas, but I find at times the world scene is overwhelming to me. It’s better if I don’t watch the news or read the papers. We have a hurting world, and even though our country has the resources to help those in need – they don’t do enough to go around to the poor.

I can’t pray, “Please God, do this and that for the masses,” anymore, because I think unless you put your words into action it is not much of a prayer. The only prayer I pray these days, is one of thanks. Not just for what I have, but that I have the understanding of what is expected of me.

Review & Commentary