Lord of the Dance

He knew that they would kill him viciously.  They knew he would die a terrible death.  They all danced together anyway, the way he, one day, every day, all day, danced with the snake.  It was beautiful music, too, but sad in rhythm, as if it knew all that would eventually transpire.  It was as if all creation seemed to know the terrible purpose that would befall him and his body and blood.  Those that would have him killed one day in the future, who would scream for the destruction of that body and the letting of that blood, would one day look back through history and thank him and sing his praises, even as they danced.  But, he would have to die first; for now, they danced together…

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Maker, not made

If, dear reader, you would be good enough to allow me too, I would like to wax poetic in a Christian sense.

 

When something gets made, we say that the thing that is made is great and lose sight of the one who made it lots of times.  However, the one who made it put in the hard work and is the great thing, not the thing that he made.  We need to remember that.  We are the made thing; we are the creation.  We are great but we are great because we are products of the workmanship of the maker, the Creator.  We need to remember that and point to the Father any time someone points to us.  Any time we are revered we must give that glory we have received and place it where it belongs, with the maker, with the Creator, with the Father.  He is the amazing maker, the workman, and He is unspoken because He is holy.  We must speak for Him.

At one point, He explicitly made Himself known by taking human likeness in the form of Jesus the Christ.  He came to earth in that vessel by way of a virgin.  Then, he destroyed the old creation in His death on the cross.  We are baptized into that destruction and have become improved creatures by way of His resurrection.  We remain improved creatures by keeping the commandment to love, and by giving back to God what He has first given us, our lives and our entire selves within that life.  Thus, we become living sacrifices even like our Father when He took the form of the Son, Jesus, and when He was resurrected into an improved situation into which we have been baptized.  So, honor what God has done for you and love your neighbor as yourself.  That is all God asks for in return after giving us new life.

 

The Jesus’ story

 

What was left of the sorry, and sorrowful, sons of Zebedee hung limp on either side of him.  Their pain was not of the mild variety.  It was terrible; and, from his vantage point, it left the Christ feeling quite forlorn.  He looked askance at their mother.  She was grieving, her tears often and large, wet things visible in streams on her cheeks.  The Christ himself was in pain as well; the holes tore at his limbs as he hung like a common criminal on his cross between two of his most faithful disciples.  However, the physical pain was nothing compared to their mother’s pain tearing at his heart.  Their mothers, the two Marys, looked forlornly at them as they died slowly and undignified.  They were despondent; they knew they were useless but couldn’t help but look on.  The three of them, their sons, writhed visibly on the trees.  Jesus, though, did not feel his own pain.  He only felt his companions and the women’s pain, physical and emotional, respectively.  He was detached from his own.  He had always known this would be the end of him, but these others made his heart ache in ways his body could not.  Their pain is my fault, he thought.  I did this to them, followed.  His next thought was to stay strong for the ones suffering around him.  His mother haltingly caught his eye.  She stood unmoving and resigned, but she was clearly emotional; moved in that sense.  Frank tears ran down her face.  She moved finally only to clutch his punctured, bleeding, mangled feet.  The blood there began to run down her blemishless, alabaster face.  She clutched them, unheeding the red trail that began to form there.

As he looked on at her, crying his own tears, he reflected on how physically and emotionally drained he was; and yet he would not die, not yet.  The Father in Heaven told him long ago that it would come to this; that this was his destiny; that running from it would not make it cease or come any less quickly.  Given all that, he had tried to outrun it, for three years; but it had finally come for him and these others too apparently.

Again the Virgin caught his eye.  Jesus found himself thinking that he had betrayed her trust as a mother, or disappointed her in some way.  Even as he thought it, he knew he would have been scolded by her for it.  It was a shameful thought and came between writhing and painful fits.  It was a thought brought on by the incessant pain.  He found himself wondering how much more he could take.  He wondered if he had the resolve to withstand such suffering.  Even as he wondered he knew he did not, but it was not time for his surrender just yet.

Suddenly, other-mindedly, he was taken back in time to the wedding in Cana.  That was where it had all began.  This woman hugging his feet was the one who had pushed him on this crash course with the cross.  She had forced his hand; forced him to begin something he had always dreaded but knew was his destiny.  He did not blame her, though, as she wept below him.  He only wondered if now in this state she still thought he was the one, that he was still amazing.

Today, three years from that moment in Cana, he found himself wondering if he would have started this escapade on his own, without her.  His thoughts turned bitter as he sucked wine and vinegar from a pole offered by a random Roman.  All the effort I put into this…where is the accomplishment, the heralding of heaven? As soon as he thought it, he felt guilty.  Aloud he asked why his Father in Heaven had forsaken him and regretted it as soon as it left his mouth.  He felt the Virgin recoil but hold fast at his feet.  He had never backed down to earthly authority and it had brought him to this; he had stood fast on the Lord and it had brought him to this; what did this prove?  He began to get restless as he felt the fight leaving him.

His “parlor” tricks early on had only gotten him so far with the people.  If anything they were too wowing and hindered his real message of peace.  But, he had tried words too, metaphors, parables, similes; to what end?  They had also gone unheeded and misunderstood.  Even his disciples did not always know what to do, what to adhere to and what to emphasize; and they were the wise ones!  So he had preached in plain as day language till he was exhausted and this was what they rewarded him with.  He preached that they were putting too much emphasis on his arguable claim to divine authority.  He told them time and again that it was about man and his inner divine nature.  He had tried to tell them that his whole ministry was for everyone and to stop worshipping him.  They did not listen; they just nailed him to a tree to see what would happen.  There is a grander scheme, he remembered yelling.  You are missing the whole entire point of the kingdom, he yelled another time.  Righteousness, justice, equality, he had preached all this till blue in the face.  He was just a messenger, he had tried to say, tried to get a cross; but now he was nailed to one.  And while he hung up here, jibed at and ridiculed by the masses, he gained finally a sense of understanding and peace.  This is how we usher it in, God seemed to say.  It was semi-humorous, now, when he understood that his divinity was not what mattered but his humanity.  And that’s why they were killing him.  It was his passion that they found fault with, nothing more, nothing less.  He was being destroyed because he was just too good to be true.

Again he thought back to Cana, and how now, on the cross, he was performing his last miracle.  This one was truly amazing, although no one for ages would fully understand.  Besides, it was only a prelude to the grandest of finales.  It suddenly hit him, he was dying.  He was taking sin and wedding it to death within his perfect body.  Oh, the humanity of this moment!  As the Christ languished with the wedding plans within him, he realized how pointless it was, how they would never in a million years even begin to appreciate what was happening.  By this point, Jesus hung limp, a tedious ugly rag doll, and he was beginning to feel disturbed.  He realized how brutally subtle his moment of salvation was, how slow it seemed to be becoming to pass.  There would be no celebration, he was thinking, until later.  The Romans, though, were done with the scene and all that was left was the activity of dying and the death itself.  The truth was being hammered home and Jesus felt quite depressed.

He had not given up, though; he just felt a sobering within him.  In a way, he realized, he had already succumbed.  But, he would not surrender his heart, but willingly give it.  Perhaps insensitively, the bawling of the women and the men around him began to fray his resolve as he realized what truly was at stake, what truly was occurring.  He knew those around him had no clue; but he knew.  He knew his insensitivity was a simple human reaction to endless suffering, a kind of dampening of the nerves.  Someday they will understand, he hoped, they would rejoice even; even if soberly.  Jesus was hurt, sad, and happy at the same time.  This wedding of sin to death within what was left of his body would shorten the gulf between man and God and make man righteous finally.  That was not something to cry about and that is the reassurance he held on to as he breathed his last.

The pomegranate tasted bittersweet in her mouth.  The snake’s rattling died out ominously as it slunk away.  Its spell slowly receded from her mind, releasing it sweetly.  That’s when she realized too late what she had done.  She waited, almost patiently; she expected to die any moment; but it never came.  She expected the fruit to come with a fast-acting poison or something.  Instead, she found that it tasted good and, more importantly, filled her with something she did not quite understand yet, but hinted at some new spell that was even greater than the serpent’s.

Thus, she did the “sensible” thing and found her lover/husband to share this new sensation.  After all, she was still alive and felt a strange “beginning” within her.  She must find him and get him to take a bite, she thought.  Her panic that started when she had eaten the forbidden fruit had now subsided and was replaced with a sense of something to come, an impending-ness.

After she had found him and he had taken a curious bite, he became faint and asked her earnestly exasperated, “Where did you get this?”  She told him, pain registering on both their faces, and he began to blubber.  He sounded like a wounded animal.  The color left his face and he began to feel strangely vulnerable.  It was a new feeling, one he had never experienced before this moment.  He felt cut off and alone…

Unable to bear this new anxiety, he grabbed his wife and hid them both in the bushes.  On cue, God came and found them.  Adam stuttering blamed it on the snake but earned nothing less than an eviction from the garden.  This was the beginning of sin, and the birth of shame, and the world would never be the same…

 

 

If you like this at all, let me know and I will try to write more, to continue the story…

JWT

 

A New Eden

I have always struggled to understand the Christian creation story.  It seemed like a truth that was just out of my grasp.  It just did not make sense, but I think that was because I was too focused on subtle little details of the story instead of the overall meaning behind it.  I wanted to know why if we ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil do so many people not know the difference between right and wrong.  It would seem like the story did not apply to the way people are.  However, I think that the tree represented the fact that we, upon eating of it, were given the capability to choose good and/or evil.  At the end of the day, it helps to view the whole story as a symbol of this choice and its effect on human nature and his/her position in the universe today.  Thus, it does shed light on (wo)mankind’s struggle with himself, with doing the right things for the right reasons and his/her relationship with God.  Another thing to consider is the fact that God is not gender-limited.  It is a matter of convenience to talk of Him as Father.  In fact, he is both mother and father to all of creation.  Anyway, this established, let us return to the creation story, and then fast forward to Jesus, who is the Son.  When Jesus died on the cross, and then rose from the grave, He became the tree of life for us to eat.  If you remember, the tree of life was the other tree forbidden to us that we never had a chance to steal from God.  Here, in Jesus, we are given another chance and it is almost as if God has said, alright go ahead I love you too much to keep it from you.  Besides, Jesus earned the tree of life for the rest of humanity, believe it or not.  That was how amazing the Savior was.  He earned the tree of life for humanity, and then became it on the cross, and then, as if this was not enough, He gave us eternal hope by springing up out of the tomb!

Going back to the original story in Genesis – We fell because we did not trust in God and His provision for us.  We wanted more and we wanted it for ourselves.  Thus, we, through our blatant selfishness and disregard for God and His decree, brought the curse of sin and death into the world, forever cursing ourselves and creation as a whole.  You might ask why would God allow that to happen but that is the nature of love.  God loves us so much he lets us go off by ourselves.  Isn’t that what parents are supposed to do eventually?  Anyway, He provided Jesus as a way back to Him and it is all to prove that God is boundless in the end.  The whole struggle of life and death is to bring glory to God and to reveal Himself and His true nature to the world.

So, back to Jesus and the cross – God came down personally to earth from heaven in the form and person of Jesus to give us what previously had been forbidden to us – eternal life.  Jesus through his wondrous life and love as a human earned us a partnership with God and eternal life.  He reconciled us with God and made our love for Him deeper than it could have been had we not fallen.  That is the purpose of the fall.

So Jesus commands us to drink His blood and eat of His flesh.  The Bible declares this as a hard lesson.  However, think of it this way.  He, Jesus, is the tree of life that we were not allowed to eat of in Eden.  But there He is on the cross shedding his mortal blood and we are to drink of it, because it is the fruit of life, as is His flesh.  This is a hard lesson, but in light of Eden it makes perfect sense.  Of course it does, this is God’s story, not ours, though through Jesus’ sacrifice, we have been brought into righteous partnership with the King of the Universe.  Jesus’ sacrifice secures for us, as He promised the thief along side Him, a place in paradise – a new Eden.

Champions and Luck

Champions make their own luck and when that luck happens they capitalize on it.  However you want to look at it, harnessing the impetus of the moment is always key.  Look at Tom Brady who was, I believe, selected as the very last pick in the draft as a favor.  Then, he gets put in the game, a playoff game, after the starter gets hurt.  He is now the GOAT of all quarterbacks and possibly one of the greatest sports heroes of all time in all sports.  But he accomplished that by grabbing the moment and 5 Super Bowl wins later (he appeared in seven total), he is the GOAT.

 

What I am trying to say is make it happen and acknowledge the key moment to really harness your potential.  You can do anything but knowing when to really excel is almost as important as the excelling itself.

Treatise on Jesus

I don’t consider myself an exclusive Christian.  I believe that God the Creator cannot be singly defined by one set of religious beliefs.  God the Creator transcends any one religion’s concept of Him.  However, with that preface, I would like to say that personally I believe in the Virgin birth of the Christ.  Jesus the Christ had none of the original iniquities inherent in all other man after the Fall of Adam and Eve because He was born directly from God (like Adam was originally formed directly by God before he ate the Forbidden fruit and fell).  What is interesting about this fact that Jesus was essentially free of that original iniquity that we all inherit, is that He does not lord it over us but has a supreme understanding of the fallen humans’ spirit.  That is what makes Him the Christ.  Also interesting to note is that Jesus believed in fallen man more than we even believed in Him.  He said, before ascending to His proper place at the Right Hand, that people after Him would do greater things than He had done.  He was not misled in saying this, nor misleading.  He simply wanted us to know that after His sacrifice as the Paschal Lamb, we sinners were as right with God now as Jesus was from the beginning of time.  And, He also wanted us to know that in this new relationship we would be finally capable of a perfect form of love.

The tadpole’s change

Any change in or journey through life is modeled, at least abstractly and mostly in a very real sense, after the metamorphosis of a tadpole into a frog.

These changes and/or journeys we go through are, as for the tadpole/frog, natural; but that does not make them any less scary both for the tadpole/frog and for those witnessing that journey or change for the first time.  Thus, we must be patient with ourselves and each other as legs and arms sprout out where before there were none.  It might be surprising for the tadpole but to the seasoned biologist, they know what to expect.  So, be a biologist for someone else and help them realize these changes are something we all go through and are natural and understandable.  Then, they will be less scared and the change will be less scary.

The Void that is not a Void

Retract everything – all the things people have said to you, nice and not nice, your definitions thereby of yourself, all the things that buoy you up, all the knowledge and learning from years educated, all the cultural truths, religions, and ideologies.  Find the nothingness that is left after this retraction.  Realize that the void left over is your perfect strength, because you are aware of it, and are unafraid of ‘t.  And, get this, it is aware of you because it is not a Void.  It is a fullness; it is the fullness of the Father; it is the very essence and presence of ultimate freedom and love… embrace it!