Monday, April 9, 2007

Christ Jesus my Teacher

Yesterday was Easter. As liberal Quakers, we at NFM don't do much around the resurrection of Jesus. During Meeting for Worship, someone will usually rise and give a message about Jesus (natch) and the kids may dye eggs and read a book about the Easter story but that's about it.

I am a follower of Jesus because of his life and teachings.
I believe that each of us has "that of God" within; some of us are not at all aware of the Divine, some in a state of awakening and some are more "enlightened" but the Light, the Christ, lives in each of us. Jesus, I believe, is one of a handful of people throughout time who had a more intimate, immediate awareness of the Divine within and without. I interpret Jesus' teachings (including those written of in some of the Gnostic Gospels, especially those of Mary Magdalen and Thomas) as helping us to understand God permeating all of life. Jesus frequently mentioned "the kingdom of God" in his teachings. "Basileia tou Theou" is how it is written in Greek. I prefer the interpretation "realm of God". Jesus said, "The realm of God is now," and "The realm of God is within you." To me, this means that God infuses everything-including me and you and all living things. There is no "pie in the sky" heaven...heaven is now. The "peaceable kingdom" is now. God's reign is now.

Most Christians believe in Christ because of the resurrection. To me, the resurrection is irrelevant. Whether Jesus died, was entombed and then arose 3 days later to ascend to heaven does not really matter, or, if it does matter, I think it's significance is as a metaphor for enlightenment rather than as an actual physical occurrence.

My mother thinks I'm a heretic and prays for my salvation.

My brother called me yesterday. We had a short, funny conversation in which he said he was glad I didn't die in surgery and that he has plans to live forever which seem to be working. We talked about public transportation and then Easter. We share the mind-set that we don't believe in God for some eventual reward: Heaven. I said I believe in God because God is. (He told me that's very "Spinoza." I'm no scholar and wouldn't know Spinoza from spaghetti, but I guess he meant it as a good thing).

I believe in God because God is. God created all, is all. God is life. I am a follower the Christ Jesus because Jesus teaches me to understand. I believe Jesus was divine but I believe we are all divine in that we are all created in God's image; we are all children of God.

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