It happens, every once in a great while, that we discover the world as we thought we knew it turns out to be something quite different. The blessing-command of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark comes to mind: Ephphatha!
“And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.”
We, too, in our day witness events that are beyond measure astonishing. Yet most of us simply lose ourselves in astonishment, rather than experiencing the clarity of opened minds, opened ears, opened hearts. Open mind, open perception, and open heart belong to our nature, though few of us understand this. We simply refuse to set aside the mask we receive at birth and wear throughout life; we turn our backs on our innate courage to experience who and what we really are. We are like the wretched apostles of Jesus who always miss the point of the miracles and wonders Jesus is said to have performed. In the Ephphatha story we see the apostles behave like rabid groupies or silly school girls (peace be to school girls!). See how they fail to carry the secret! They mistakenly believe that the present opening of this particular man’s eyes and the present loosening of the string of his particular tongue constitute the wonder. Oh, poor apostles!
And so I say this to you: Ephphatha! The true wonder and great miracle is that the eye exists and humans can experience it in a manifestation of openness; that the tongue exists and humans can experience it in a manifestation of direct communication. Now, this is not to say that the miracle Jesus is said to have performed is of no significance. Rather, the small wonder participates in the great mystery of mind and communication. This reality is far more marvelous than any miracle or circus trick. Alas, it seems that apostles have something of circus-miracle fetish.
May we who participate in a new experience of mind and communication in this our favored day not lose our way along the journey.
December 8, 2016