Scripture: Romans 8:6-11 (NRSV)
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law -- indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
This past fall my husband and I had the opportunity to go to Nepal and spend a week trekking in Mount Everest National Park. It was a glorious adventure. The trail to Everest (we walked half way up to 13,400 ft) passes through small hamlets where we were able to get a glimpse of the every day life in the Himalaya.
Most of the people along the trail are Tibetan Buddhist. Their practice of Buddhism is interwoven into all aspects of their lives. As we walked, we passed people carrying supplies on their backs and heads while holding their prayer beads in their hands and chanting the prayer of compassion: "Om mani padme hum."
Every so often we'd come across we prayer stones (some centuries old) carved with Buddhist scriptures -- so we were quite literally walking among "the word." Stupas and prayer wheels marked the path, inviting the traveler to circle the Stupa and spin the prayer wheels, offering prayers to the universe. This active prayer life and the vistas felt like a walk in heaven.
On our last morning we left quite early. The sun had risen, but not high enough to light our trail. It was chilly and mysterious as we walked in the shadow of the mountains.
Early on we came to a small hamlet with a few huts along the side of the trail. A small child, maybe about two years old, was standing in the doorway of a hut watching us walk. As I approached, the child placed her hands together in front of her heart and bowed to me, saying: "Namaste, Namaste, Namaste."
It was a magical moment. By offering this traditional greeting the child was bowing and saying: "The essence of who I am greets/honors the essence of who you are." Or: My soul greets your soul; I see you as you see me.
This is what Paul is teaching in our scripture passage. Christ's spirit dwells in us. This Spirit is God's Spirit, so our spirit is of God, too.
In the Spirit, God greets us. In the Spirit, Christ greets us.
God and Christ bow to us offering a greeting: I see you as you see me. Together, we can be about truth.
Namaste, Namaste, Namaste.
You greet us with "Namaste," God. Hear us as we reply: "Namaste, God. Namaste." Amen.
a spiritual director and Pastor of Spiritual Life for First Church West Hartford