Most Christians, with utter irony, worshipped Jesus the Scapegoat on Sundays and made scapegoats of Jews, Moslems, other Christian denominations, heretics, sinners, pagans, the poor and almost anybody who was not like them the other six days of the week. One would have thought that Christians who 'gazed upon the one they had pierced' would have gotten the message about how wrong domination, power and hatred can be. The system had been utterly wrong about their own, chosen God figure, yet they continued to trust the system. I guess they did not gaze long enough ...
Jesus is shockingly not upset with sinners, a shock so total that most Christians to this day refuse to see it. He is only upset with people who do not think they are sinners: These denying, fearful and illusory ones are the blockage. They are much more likely to hate and feel no compunction. Formerly, religion thought its mission was 'to expel sin and evil from River City.' After Jesus we find out that sin lies in the very act of expelling. There is no place to expel it to. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us. We either carry and transform the evil of human history as our own problem, or we only increase its efficiency and power by hating and punishing it 'over there.' The Jesus pattern was put precisely and concisely by Saint Paul: 'for our sake he made the sinless one a victim for sin, so that in him we might become the uprightness of God' (2 Corinthians 5:21). I admit, that is heavy stuff. Only the mystics and the sinners seem to get it.
There has been a drought of God's presence for me over the last several months. Which is a teaching in itself. It is a cold sort of one but sometimes it seems he needs to place himself a little further away so that I will stretch myself like a plant toward the light. If that is what has happened. I can't rightly say, but what I know is that I do not need his honeyed presence to know that he is there. It's like riding a bike without training wheels. I do not need to rely on his presence but, like you don't need to be kissing your lover to know that they still are out there in the world, how much better it is to be kissing. It's like that.
Some small measure of wisdom has attached herself to me along the way, like limpets on a rock. She is so very beautiful, Sophia.
It is a mess in here amongst the contradictions and the paradoxes. To become more merciful, to myself as well as others, I need to learn to "switch others off" more. Weird, huh? Never would have been able to come to that conclusion by myself. But Life is a masterful, beautiful teacher and somehow, miracle of everyday miracles, we learn. The lessons seem to vomit themselves out at the pace to which we are willing to see them. How coldly sad how often we are not willing to see.
Today I look at how much hatred and violence is capable of coming out of me. Not physically, but in words, in thoughts. I look at the master Teacher and again, anew, he takes my breath away, and blows me away in the process. This seeing such horridities in myself is easy today. It is easy today because ... well, I don't quite know. I guess in some ways it's easy because seeing what is is always a relief after the strain and stress of trying to see things in the way that we need to see them. Another weirdness, that the cold harshness of seeing things as they are is a million times easier to walk with than the weird contrivances we need to construct to control our small little out-of-control worlds. How strange, though, that we can't come to seeing one second before we are ready and willing to see, even though living in what is is easier than living in our illusions. And I am in love with what is. I recognise it when I see it. It's like what really "is" has a Nike swish of its own, and my soul and spirit understand intuitively when they see it. And it just never ceases to astound, how much better is is, how flimsy my own constructs are next to it. It also makes me feel safe, in an unsafe world, that this is the ultimate reality behind everything. I cannot be shaken on that golden thread I hold, regardless of how stupid it seems to other people. I want to know what is is :) I want Love to show me.
I sometimes forget I am a sinner. And then I get reminded. And both are graces and both can be held. When you are smothered inside and out in Love, when you realise that you - you! - you! - belong in the middle of that Love, it makes it easy and a joy to dismantle those flimsy little constructs. The grace is in the seeing.
Happy New Year everyone. Love to all of you. We are so loved, even if we cannot see it or feel it.