Day Two of Passover. As a Jewish Christian I think of the Shema Prayer—“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” It’s also Wednesday of Holy Week, the beginning of the end of Lent. As a Jewish Christian I think of all the ones in this tradition: Credo in unum Deum, “I believe in One God”; “The Church’s one Foundation is Jesus Christ, Her Lord. . . .”; even the contrast between the Devil as “legion,” many, and God as one. And as a Sufi, I begin my walking meditation by moving in a circle, my eyes fixed on the horizon. Attuning my breath to a count of four, I soon substitute the internal phrase “Toward . . . the . . . One.” Sufism, the mysticism of Islam, features the practice of Zhikr (“re-membering,” literally putting the members together into a single body) by repeating the first sentence of the Muslim creed: La illaha il-allah! “There is no one but the One.” The Arabic for God is simply The-One. Jungian psychotherapy is based on psychological re-integration—helping individuals become single, harmonious selves. Rather than being at sixes and sevens, we strive for what the Book of Common Prayer calls “singleness of heart.” In his Elizabethan epic poem, The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser called his heroine Una, the unified woman, while her nemesis, the villain, was Duessa, the duplicitous woman. In Chinese, the character for heaven is the number one, a simple horizontal line, atop the pictogram for big. Atonement of course means coming back into integrity with self, others, and God—at+one+ment. Perhaps Tennyson said it best in “In Memoriam” as he reconciled himself to the death of his best friend: “One God, one law, one element,/And one far-off divine event,/To which the whole creation moves.”
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