I found myself thinking about how people can feel alone at times and that can involve a fear aspect. Feeling alone can sap a person’s strength and courage. I have noticed that in a variety of ways seeing how we are not alone helps restore courage and more balanced emotions. One might expect an observation like, so pray to God to connect. This is not actually what I was thinking of first. I was thinking of the way in which we are all connected to other people for our very existence. All the people, family, community, and history which contribute to what you are can be a source of strength so one should remember. I think the world around us provides layers of support and so on the soil upon which we live we are not alone. With some amusement I find myself thinking of the learning how to live done by creatures, distant ancestors, before humans. Mammals learned to play and to learn from play long before there were humans but we have received those learning patterns from that broad and deep animal community.Billy Shears wrote: ↑Sun Jan 28, 2024 5:13 pm. . . because this morning I read a great story in The New York Times entitled, An Atheist Chaplain and a Death Row Inmate’s Final Hours. The gist of the story is that Phillip Hancock killed two people in 2001 (he claims it was self defense), and after the process played out, he was scheduled to be executed on November 30, 2022. Hancock entered prison as a Christian, but had “an appetite for reading, learning and debate that he shared with many imprisoned believers. Along the way, he became an atheist.” Christian missionaries often visited the prison trying to save him, and he intensely read the bible in order to debate them. “He said he took care, though, to argue with empathy. He did not want to destroy what he called a 'delusion' that these missionaries might need on their own deathbeds.”
He eventually became very good friends with the atheist minister Devin Moss, who himself was raised a Christian and then ultimately rejected it.
About four minutes before the lethal injection was administered, Moss gave Hancock a short atheist prayer. He said, "We call the spirit of humanity into this space. Let love fill our hearts. We ask that in this transition into peaceful oblivion that Phil feels that love, and although this is his journey that he is not alone. We invoke the power of peace, strength, grace and surrender. Amen."
He then gave his convicted friends his final words: “In the beginning of this, when I asked what you really wanted out of a spiritual care adviser, it was Philippians chapter 4, show me something real. Show me something true. What is real is that you are loved. What is true is you are not alone.”
As a believer in God, I think those things are part of God’s creation and creation of us. In a way they carry an image of God which is all about us. Well I understand that a person might see that community around us as all there really is of God, no extra transcend layer. It could be argued that these awarenesses are what cause people to project to an idea of God in order to assemble all these contributors to what we are into one memorable idea.
I remain more inclined to believe in a source for this vast living net of community on earth.