in a world of too many possibilities, there is way too much responsibility for the individual

considering Micah 6:8

..O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

i thought of … buses.

when i was young, in the rural community i grew up, there was only one bus. in the morning it went there, in the late afternoon, it went back. it took one exactly where one had to go – to work or school, or whatever. it was called The Bus. and you took it when you wanted to go where you had to go.

and then consider the city buses. they have different shapes and colours, different numbers and routes, and a complex system of transfers and maps. when taking a city bus, one has to know a) where one wants to go; b) which bus goes there; c) by what route and d) where the right stop is.

city buses are very convenient, no doubt. but they are quite inconsiderate, when it comes to the unknowing passenger.

at some point in the past, the western world had one major spirituality and self-expression: christianity. we still feel it in our value systems and in our language. yet, today it is not the case any more.

the very word ‘spirituality’ denotes an approach of multiplicity, equality, balance and possibility of eclectic choices among elements of, or whole religious practices. if we, metaphorically speaking, for a moment,  think of these practices as the city buses, what do we get?

obviously, to get where we want to go we need the right bus on the right route, with the right driver etc. we probably might desire to have the right (or at least, polite and not too disgusting) people on the bus we are taking, but this is not obligatory.

the quest of the human soul (consciously or unconsciously) for fulfilment is not cancelled buy the increase of the infostream. on the contrary, it has been made more complex and tasking than ever, because the more information there is, the more choices one has to make.

the series of questions – rhetorical questions by the sound of it – that the prophet asks (Micah 6:6-7):

What can we bring to the Lord? What kind of offerings should we give him? Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?

reveal the confusion of the soul on that quest. and the response of god is unexpectedly predictable:

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

no, it is impossible to bribe god. you cannot buy him, or trade with him. that is, you can, but it will bring nothing good, just like getting on the wrong bus will get you moving, but in the wrong direction. and in the quest for spirituality, for the experience of the immanent, there are really very few things that are absolutely necessary. see above: walk humbly with your God. love mercy. do what is right.

the modern eclectic spirituality will say – all religions teach that. i cannot disagree. returning to the metaphor about buses – all the buses in the city do have set routes and get somewhere. but not all the buses get you home safe. some of them get you to places you never wanted to be, and then you have to lose time and money getting out of there.

we learn to walk humbly with our God by imitation. we follow Christ. we learn of Christ, and how to follow him, by listening and watching, and reading. first of all – to the people who are already following Christ; then – with them – the bible; then, in our own place of solitude, we listen and talk to Christ himself in prayers. revealed in the scripture and the community of the faithful, Christ becomes the sure-footed guide to the system of heavenly transportation.

from walking with Christ, the mercy and the doing right proceed. if Jesus did the right thing and loved us just the way we are, then what keeps us from imitating him? (actually there are plenty of things, and they are called sins, but we also know that if we confess them, they are erased, and we are re-made in the likeness of Christ again and again). doing the right thing in a world of propaganda of  pluralism is sometimes hard. being merciful in a self-centered world is hard. but we are not alone in doing this: God walks with us, and through us and in us extends the hands of mercy and justice to the world.

so. summing this up. there are many roads to heaven, i’m sure. just like there are many bus routes in the city. but before you choose yours, do consider this – do you have what it takes to go the long way? and if you get lost, where is your map? do you know where you want to get at all?

maybe it is worth considering Christ as your guide and ultimate goal of spiritual fulfilment and love? many people have. they have never been lost again.

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