A Flute and a Dirge

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As we mature we discover there is always more to every story. There is always a back story and all that transpires behind the scenes. There is what appears to be happening and then there is what is really happening behind it all.

If we have eyes to see this intersection, then we can discern a broader spectrum of reality. As kids, we capture what is possible, not just observable. As we gain discernment we intuitively learn that not all is fine when someone says; “I’m fine.

Sight is the ability to see more than two dimensions of a moment. It’s way bigger. These are two kingdoms colliding within the present dimension; a temporal facade kingdom and the True, lasting kingdom. The idea precedes the product, the word becomes flesh (John 1:14). The ability to perceive the “thing behind the thing” is what I call spirituality. It’s the plane of Truth that is higher up or further back than observational facts. It encompasses reality on another level. This is what many call higher consciousness, awareness, vibration, or intuition. Wisdom is the skill to employ this consciousness or sight.

This is important for the allegory that I am about to share.

Historically, the flute is an instrument of dance. It’s bright and lively tone lifts people upward into a happier place. By contrast a dirge song is solemn and mournful, it captures the downward mood of funeral or loss. The same instrument can play both.

Let’s test your sight. What is happening when the flute is playing and no one is dancing? What is happening on that “other” level when nobody is mourning at the dirge?

     “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like?  They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

             “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
              we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ (Luke 7:31-32)

When children watch the world and see apathy, it confuses them. Children in their innocence engage enthusiastically in life because they intuit the “thing behind the thing”, and care little for its container. Kids will dance or mourn because the music compels them. They are not distracted by ulterior motives, subplots, schemes, or agendas, or people watching. Kids live in the moment, dare I say, they live in the real world.

When Jesus uses this analogy of modern people, he’s capturing something that exists today. Our world is apathetic and numb. It’s caught up in religion and completely anesthetized to spirituality.

We want it both ways.

  • We want freedom, but live and work in systems of fear and compliance.
  • We want change, but we fear making personal changes.
  • We seek empowerment, but settle for “same old, same old.”
  • We hate our political choices, but vote party line.
  • We know there is more to life, but spirituality makes us nervous.

     “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  (Luke 7:33-34)

We create a posture where we can’t be pleased by anything.

The dance is right before us and the music is playing, but we sit on the sidelines judging externals, when we need to be living from the inside-out. Apathy fills the void where soul work is needed. Apathy plagues the religious and irreligious alike.

What will it take to wake the world from its apathy? Ecological disasters? Economic collapse? Humanitarian crisis? Corporate corruption? Human rights violations? Every possible scenario is happening today because people lack the skill (wisdom) to address the “soul problem.” They can’t bring the true kingdom to bear in the temporal kingdom, or just can’t see it. All around us we construct mind numbing systems, and if we have the eyes to see them then we have the responsibility to change or leave them…but we don’t.

Mourning and dancing combine to create a life worth living (Eccl 3:4). Spiritual apathy is the loss of skill (wisdom). What has to change to make us dance again?

“Wisdom is justified by all her children.” (Luke 7:35)

The apathetic are one kingdom that sees only the presenting problem (demon or drunkard), the children are the other kingdom that sees beyond externals to the wisdom beyond the circumstances.