Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jesus the Beacon

Last Sunday, for 2nd hour (adult ed for those of you who are not Quaker), we discussed the meaning of Jesus. I sat and listened to what others had to say. I am in the process of testing what I perceive to be leadings to speak in Meeting by not speaking when I get that impending feeling of agitation so I can learn to discern if it comes from me and my ego (and nerves) or if it is truly a message given me by Spirit. I felt a leading to speak but didn't. And then I got home from Meeting and finished the funny, lightweight novel I was reading (the first book in Jasper Fford's "Jack Spratt" series: The Big Over Easy) and picked up the next book in my library book pile which coincidentally happened to be The Gospel of Jesus by James M Robinson.

Any scholarship of the historical Jesus seems to get really convoluted by the fact that there are no original source documents in existence. The author refers to Q and Gospel of Thomas as well as the synoptic Gospels and John. I'm only on the second chapter but what I learned in the first chapter is that the earliest Christian "church" was divided between Jewish "Christians" and Gentile ones. The Jewish followers of Jesus recorded his words more and the Gentiles wrote more in narrative. The Gentile writings were the ones that were included in the biblical canon: the "legitimate" version of Jesus' message. I have to say that when I discovered the Gospel of Thomas and other Gnostic writings, it was like I was learning about Jesus with new eyes. What I read was so fresh and right I was really moved by the truth of it. When I couple that with the Aramaic and back to English translations of Jesus' words, his teachings come alive for me.

The Bible says we are made in God's image and I believe that. I believe we, each of us, is made in God's image and that each of us, in our own perfect way, has the potential to reflect God. Each of us has "that of God" within us. Many of us get glimpses of knowing that; most of us make choices that keep us totally removed from any awareness of the Light within. A few holy ones, though, are aware and alive to God's Light burning inside. Jesus was such a beacon. He was aware of his purpose in this life and took seriously his role as teacher and guide.

I was surprised that I enjoyed the movie The Matrix as I don't usually like Hollywood forms of entertainment. One of my sons made me sit down and watch it and the idea of illusion and deeper reality struck me. But I was disappointed that the movie was really only about the good guys versus the bad guy when the potential for spiritual lesson was so obvious to me.

I see God as the light, the energy (love) that runs through everything. Everything. Most of us only see, know, understand this world, what we can touch and see and experience physically. For us, this is it. Some people think they understand about heaven and hell but still, what happens here and now is all there is. But the way I see it is that God permeates and lives in everything and goes beyond what we know to be reality. Which is not to say that this world is illusion...more what I'm saying is that this world is very important and each of us has important lessons to learn here but this world is not all there is. The most important thing we have to learn is that God is All; God supports and undergirds everything there is: God is the foundation. I don't think there's any "moving on" until a soul learns that lesson. We're all One in God. Most of us are just struggling to remember God one bajillionth of the time. But Jesus knew. Jesus had that awareness of God in him and lived with God, reflecting God to this world, reminding us that God is with us always.

And the death and resurrection of Christ? Some people have a problem with the literal act of the resurrection--the miracle. If God is God (which, of course, God is), I imagine that the resurrection could and probably did literally take place. But, I think the significance of it is not that it "proves" the Divinity of Christ. I understand the death and resurrection of Jesus to be symbolic of how each of us must ultimately learn to "die to self" in order to live in God. Jesus said for his followers to "take up your cross and follow me". It's about learning to transcend ego attachment and letting God live through us. The salvation comes in really knowing that we all have that of God in us and living accordingly. Everything is God given; even, and especially, our egos. Salvation comes through learning that our ego is that which God gave us to use to reflect God; letting go of self in order to use self for God. I'm in the drivers seat and salvation is understanding that God is the navigator and without God, I don't have a clue where I'm going (although I'm usually quite positive I do).

Shit...I say this as if I had it all figured out. Like I said earlier: Many of us get glimpses. This world has a powerful pull. This action. This sensation. This thought. This moment. They're all spiderwebs trapping intention. They're all the mailman knocking at the Chihuahua's door. As I've written before, I believe that Grace is being able to start over as many times as necessary. I don't think God is counting how many times we fail. What I imagine is that God rejoices every time we begin anew, every time we get a glimpse and let it guide us, even if only for a moment.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Thanks for this post! You've so fully articulated where I am in my understanding of Jesus.