Tomorrow the Christian World will celebrate the birth of Jesus as it has done for the past 2,000 plus years. And the next day, we will go on as we have for the past 2,000 plus years. And I believe we will continue to continue to go through the motions because our general understanding of the central figure of Christianity is mostly a physical understanding…from his physical birth in a Bethlehem manger to his physical torture and end on the cross.
Today, I wanted to share a different view of Jesus that comes mostly from the writings of Biblical scholar Bruce Chilton and partly from the teachings of my own heart and life experience. God has blessed us with two tools that empower us beyond all creatures; our brain…and our heart. Sadly, we live in a world that lavishes earthly treasure and glory on the quality of the former…and neglect and discouragement on those of the latter. That is of course, with one exception. Pay close attention to the words of the rabbi, priest, family and friends at the next funeral you happen to attend. They will mostly all address the qualities of the “heart” of the deceased.
In the book Rabbi Jesus, Chilton describes the early life of Jesus as one of isolation and separation. Because of the “mystery” shrouding the details of his birth, Jesus was regarded and treated as illegitimate and therefore ineligible for inclusion in Jewish observance. He was not permitted to take part in religious ceremony…not even at the death of his own father Joseph! As a result, he lived a childhood of apartness…within the community. Thus, lacking the distractions most of us suffer as a result of our social acceptance, Jesus was free to focus inward (heart) and elsewhere. But focus without intensity is just…looking…and the greatest intensity is forged in the fiery furnace of pain. Can you imagine a pain greater than the daily experience of a young boy ostracized by his entire community?
His focus brought him to a much deeper observance of the physical, but it also took him beyond the physical to the unseen world. According to Chilton, Jesus was a Kabbalist. Kabbalah is to Judaism what Sufi is to Islam…its mystical side. To this day, many in the Jewish faith roll their eyes at the Kabbalists, who are considered “out there”. But there are also many who have come to a place of deep respect for the Kabbalist’s spiritual road map…their Tree of Life. The Tree connects by illustration the flow of energy from the divine to the physical. So essentially, while the rest of the kids were playing childhood games and climbing trees in the Galilee, Jesus was exploring the greatest and most magical playground of all!
Yet here we are today, still playing the same silly games…climbing business ladders instead of trees, mindlessly feathering our physical nests with more…stuff. And the very same forces who shunned him then, continue to shun him today as they conspire feverishly to shrink the visitor’s cell. But what is it about the Galilean that they need to diminish? Why are they shrinking our visiting time and place…WHY??
Because, from the quiet waters of the Jordan to the tranquility of Walden’s Pond…the Prophets knew! From Christ to Buddha to Thoreau…they knew, it is not about the stuff! And the only way each of them were able to learn that was to first physically separate themselves from everyone and everything…and then mentally separate until they actually became able to eliminate their attachment, and their…dependency. Jesus was once asked if a rich man could enter the kingdom of Heaven. He replied, “It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.” He wasn’t referring to a flaw in character…he was simply referring to the attachment to “stuff” that wealth brings.
From the Tree of Life and the Still Waters, the Prophets harvested the fruit…the very source of our freedom which our Founders, in their infinite wisdom, incorporated into our Declaration! But the Statist then is the very same Statist now! They cannot regulate, tax and control “tranquility”…only “stuff”. They are dependent on our dependency! So they will conspire to shrink the cell…to remove our connection. You will see it in their actions and hear it in their words. They will omit reference to “our creator”. They will misquote our National Motto as being E Pluribus Unum instead of In God We Trust!
Tomorrow can’t be about that. Tomorrow, we need to break the cycle. Tomorrow we can begin to carve out what will be a small space to begin with. But we need to start somewhere…a small quiet space, apart from the distractions and the noise…to just listen to your heart. The greatest gift of all came from a tree, but it’s not under the tree…it resides in you! Merry Christmas dear friend!
I wanted to share my gift with you. If you get a chance please go to this page and you will find a link to my song “Like I Do” and know in your heart that it did not come from me, it came through me…and it is speaking directly to you.