March 12, 2020

Everything Is Transformed

One of my favorite songs about karma is Jorge Drexler's Todo Se Transforma. The refrain goes something like this:
Everybody gets what they receive, 
and later they receive what they get. 
Nothing could be simpler, there's no other norm: 
Nothing is lost, everything is transformed.
Since the artist is Jewish, it's highly unlikely that he's paraphrasing the Apostle Paul, who wrote (in Galatians 6:7):
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, 
for you reap whatever you sow
But Paul isn't the only biblical writer who addressed the theme of karma. It's actually relatively common in both the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible. Take Psalm 7:16, for example:
Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
and on their own heads their violence descends. 
Though this verse seems a bit raw, it's really just karma. The point being made is that those who take refuge in God can expect safety, but the arrogant who would do anything to get ahead will meet the same end that they have meted out to others.

It's easy to blame my neighbors for my predicament, of course, but it's harder to see that sometimes I'm the one who gets ahead at another's expense. That's why I need not only to count my blessings, but also to think about where those blessings came from, whom besides God I should thank, and what it might have cost another person or group of people to provide something that makes my life better or easier.

Yes the grace of God comes directly from God, but God's providence usually comes through other people, both near and (in a global economy) far. We are all responsible for each other, and the fate we desire for ourselves should be the treatment we give our neighbors.

As I count my blessings, O God, help me to be thankful for the hands and the lives of those who make my life easier. Help me to work for a more just society where the labor of the poor is appreciated as much as wealth, and where all are rewarded for their work. I pray in the Name of him who taught me to pray: Our Father...



Crossposted to Psalm Today.

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