Namaste - "The part of the living God that lives and breathes in me bows down in reverence before the part of the living God that lives and breathes in you" - Namaste
I have a friend who signs all his letters with this word - namaste. One of our favorite tv shows, LOST, has a very minor character who always signs off, "Namaste." I can remember being arrested by this word the first time I heard it, such was its beauty. It's pronounced NAHM-AH-STAY. It has that eastern religious sound to it, a word wrapped in the saffron robes of monks, punctuated by the sound of a bell. Namaste.
But words mean things, right? And this one means something significant. If I were to namaste you, I would clasp my hands in front of me, much like a child's prayer posture, and then gently bow to you. I would not attempt to keep eye contact; I would "bow down." And in the bowing, the Holy in me would be reverencing or honoring the Holy in you. It's a gesture that is full of humility. And I like that.
We were watching a television show last night with the kids where one of the actors turned up their noses. The kids, sponges that they are, caught it and mimicked it for us. Essentially, they did the snoot. The snoot says that there is apparently nothing in you of value, at least for the moment, and obviously there is much of value in me, so the best thing I can do is distance myself from you and I'll start by raising my eyes to the skies while closing them and showing you the expanse of my nostrils. I snoot you. There's a harshness when you pronounce the word, as if it's wrapped in the fashion of ego, punctuated by the weight of an attitude. There's no humility in that word. I hate it.
And while I'd love to tell you that namaste is my middle name, it's not. It is something I pray for, but it is usually not who I am. I am snoot. And unless I'm really off here, we are snoot. Now this is much more than all of us joining hands and singing, "We are the world" or something. This is much more than "agreeing to disagree" - whatever that means. This is an act of the will; I decide to greet and goodbye you with humility. In a way that can be seen, I will bow to the image of our Creator that resides in you. I don't see alot of that, do you? I see a lot of exasperated snoots and the always popular swollen middle finger, but not much bowing.
I read somewhere that our best guess for the cave where Jesus was born has an entrance that requires namaste. It's so small you have to get down, almost on your knees, to enter. The sermonic application point is obvious: as we approach the birthplace of the King, we do so humbly, on our kness, bringing our gifts, pa-rum-pa-pa-pum. We don't have any problem doing that, it makes sense. Or does it? Jesus does not reside in a hollowed out cave somewhere in the middle east. He dwells in the human hearts walking toward us, working around us, driving behind us, and sleeping beside us.
Father, forgive me my snoots as I forgive those who have snooted against me. Make me namaste. Amen.
Dedicated to Brother Murray