Sermon On The Mat 4: The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness/ The Image and Likeness of God

I am in the middle of this beautiful book entitled, “The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness” by Rabbi Rami Shapiro.  I picked it up on the last night of my silent retreat at Mepkin Abbey and never got to read it through but I knew I had to spend time in this book so I ordered it as soon as I returned home.  Reading this book in the lexio devina style is taking me some time but I am getting so much out of Rabbi Shapiro’s words.

His first chapter is all about becoming the image and likeness of God and realizing the divinity of self and that of others.

Being the image of God means we are God manifest and as we are in the likeness of God, we have the potential to act in a godly manner. What I love about this idea of being the image and likeness of God is that we can greet each other and see each other across all lines of religious beliefs, political sides, races or genders with lovingkindness.

In Hebrew the name of God is Y-H-V-H (oyd-hey-vav-hey) and when written vertically it takes on the shape of a human body.  Rabbi Shapiro offers us the suggestion to see another person with the Name of God on them head to toe!  What a reminder to who we really are: God. Or as the Upanishads put it, “tat tvam assi” Thou art That.

Practice visualizing yourself with the incarnate Name of God written on your body maybe standing in front of a mirror and then seeing everyone else as well.  Then ask for your angel to come alongside you and to show you your true nature.  Listen in your daily meditation and quiet time. In time “you will break up the hard-packed soil of narrow mind and plant in it the seeds of lovingkindness  that will soon grow and awaken in your the spacious mind that is your holy and most true self.”

I will share more in other posts on the Thirteen Attributes of Lovingkindness and how they will shift our narrow mind to a spacious mind where we engage life from a place of interdependence and compassion. But I will end with a conversation between Philip and Jesus in John’s Gospel:

Philip said to him, ” Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father… Believe me   that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”



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