Concord and Labradors

Concord and Labradors

Pentecost 96

Until used as the name of a supersonic jet in operation from 1976 to 2003, many people alive in the latter part of the twentieth century had never heard the word “concord”.  It is both a grammatical and musical term and originated from words in most of the Romance Languages that meant “heart”.

Once man began believing in an interactive deity, as the Abrahamic faiths’ mythologies required, then the names of this deity became adjectives.  Originally this deity was “Go’el” or “kinsman redeemer.  Their mythologies told these believers that all were their brothers and sisters, all living men and women and children were the children of this deity.  In other words, all were their kin.

In a world where mankind had been able to believe in gods and goddesses flying around on horses, throwing thunderbolts into the sky, and being reborn in a variety of shapes, forms, and manner of life, this was the hardest belief to accept.  They created another name for their deity, a more personal one: Jehovah Goelekh, “the Lord, your redeemer”.  This one aspect of their holy mythologies, the belief that all were equal and kinsmen, left them bereft of concord, living in a world without peace and/or harmony.

Centuries earlier Buddha had said: “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”  Not all wars have been started because of the differences of the Abrahamic religions.  While they are the three largest organized religions, they are not the only evil in the world.  People have personal responsibility to control their own feelings and actions.  What mankind, especially those in these three belief systems did do, nonetheless, was misuse their faiths.  They separated their stories and by doing so, dissected the faith they believed, making it something else.

“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.”  Each of these three belief systems has their own stories, mythologies that say the same thing John Lennon did in this quote.  Jehovah Hoshiah means “O Lord, save” and soon mankind did indeed need saving.

These three Abrahamic faiths followed the mythologies of earlier cultures and inspired others to continue the holy writings.  As the early Greeks and Romans had used their mythologies in their literature, so did the faithful of these three.  “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love” was part of a prayer by the Italian known as Francis of Assisi, a recognized saint in many Christian denominations. The “Lord, our peace” or Jehovah Shalom was a deity of both Judaism and Christianity.  Mohammed Ali, a modern day follower of Islam once explained his faith:  “I believe in the religion of Islam.  I believe in Allah and peace.”  Peace was not often a condition found in these faiths, however, and so another name arose for the monotheistic deity – Jehovah Rophe, the Lord our healer.

I agree with the Indian spiritualist Jawaharlal Nehru:   “Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.”  I also believe it is one of the characterizations of a believer, regardless of how you define your beliefs.

In music a chord is a pleasing combination of tones and a concord is a chord that resolves.  Faith should be a concord, in my mind.  Counsel is a word that has strayed far in its usage from its meaning.  It means the interchange of ideas.  It has come to mean a judgement.  Peleh Yo’etz is a lesser known name for this one god.  It is grammatical incorrect which has led many to question its meaning.  Yo’etz was the ancient Hebrew word for both” advise” and “counsel” and, in this configuration, is translated as a noun rather than a verb.  Was it to describe the deity as a counsellor or was it to seek guidance?  Was the author of the mythological writing known as the book of Isaiah saying “Advise me, Lord”?   Were thanks being given to an all-knowing “Wonderful Counselor!”?  Were the faithful being admonished to seek guidance or to acknowledge their own shortcomings?

The Roman historian Sallust knew the value of concord and, perhaps with an understanding that we have yet to appreciate, recognized the communion between its meaning of heart and its usage in both music and our living.  “Harmony makes small things grow; lack of it makes great things decay.”

We need more counsel as an interchange of ideas and less as judgment.  We are a varied and diverse group of beings, we who comprise mankind.  Do roses deny the beauty of another variety simply because they are not the same?  With all due to respect to Thomas Fuller, an English clergyman who lived at the dawn of the seventeenth century, he was wrong when said “It is madness for sheep to talk peace with a wolf.”  This has, regardless of its being incorrect, been a belief many have followed.  The Internet is full of videos denouncing this.  Jimi Hendrix was correct when he said “When the power of overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace.”

Labrador Retrievers are, in my humble opinion, one of the most delightfully perfect creations on our planet and, quite possibly, in our universe.  Having owned or rather been owned by one, I realize they are not perfection.  They do offer us an excellent example to follow.  Labrador retrievers are dogs which boast three colors of their coat.  (And make no mistake, there are only three colors.  Silver labs or red labs are merely genetic mutations; still delightful but not worth their inflated costs being sold to a fashion-obsessed public.)  An Oregon organization of Lab owners explains their breeding:  Coat color in normally colored Labs is determined by two genes unrelated to anything else about the dog. It is perfectly possible to get all three colors in the same litter, therefore the notion that there is a color based difference in temperament and/or ability just doesn’t make much sense.”

It also doesn’t make much sense that humans have value based upon their skin color, gender, and/or belief system.  I had someone once complain I used too many quotes from women.  To that reader, I offer this piece of advice – Remember you were born of woman and….You probably will want to stop reading now.  Life has much in common with peace.  As Eleanor Roosevelt remarked:  “It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”  The same is true for our beliefs.  We must walk daily and work at living that which we profess.  Lab puppies begin their day with a doggie smile. “Peace begins with a smile”.  Another female quote, this time from Mother Teresa.  🙂