Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of Luke’


Matthew 1:20-23 (New King James Version)

A rather innocuous passage in Matthew is often overlooked, similarly to the passages within Luke in regards to the visitation and questions of Mary. Here, we have Joseph, doing what any man of his era would be doing in finding out his recently betrothed bride to be (she of approximately 13-14 years old) pregnant. Pondering what to do? Shall he declare the crime? Have her taken by the Edlers outside the city gates and stoned to death? Simply cast outside quietly to turn into a beggar? A play thing of the Empire on the road side? Or quietly divorce her and let her family deal with her?

See, Joseph was struggling with pride and reputation. When Holy Love comes into his life, and this is the key moment for him. Do you hear it? That aha moment in the heart? That moment when he realized the power in his wife to be’s YES to the Holy. The “Yes” that shattered the bastardized topsy-turvy world the Empire and Religious oppression had stripped them of. The love, to feel the true awe of…becoming a Daddy (Abba).

See the source image
Saint Joseph and Toddler Jesus, according to Roman Catholicism, St. Joseph is the patron saint of Realtors, families, fathers, unborn children, expectant mothers, immigrants, travelers, explorers, pilgrims, house seekers, craftsmen, engineers, and workers. He is the patron saint of many villages, towns, cities, churches, and countries including- Canada, Vietnam, Mexico, Austria, Korea, Americas, China, Croatia, Indonesia and Phillipines.

Now this is where fundgelical praxis theology of the lovey-dovey thoughts hits the snag. See, Joseph became a Daddy with Mary’s pregnancy, Jesus grew up in a loving home, learned the faith from the Matriarchs, and the way of work from the Patriarchs in his family. Having grown up in a trades family, I can guess, he probably had a pretty cool experience with all the building things to play with. Unfortunately, instead of reading the gospel stories of Jesus’ family with the lens of love and belonging in family. Too many take the view of “step” or “adopted”, that is they impose an extra layer of distance the relationship with Joseph and Jesus. The default being, well, Jesus spoke of his Heavenly Father.

Except, the Holy Spirit that came upon Mary is usually in the feminine. Except, in the creation story in the Hebrew Bible, both male and female are created in God’s image. Yet, we do not speak of Mary, as the earthly mother, just as Mum.

So why the differentiation? To allow for a perpetuation of unhealthy dynamics, one that harkens back to the genealogy lists within the scriptures that prove ones “pedigree” (or worth) in society. Yet, what is missed, is that the pedigree of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is of Joseph.

So whose his Daddy?

Is it not time to move beyond this antiquated view of Empire imposed familism?

Do we not yet understand that the point of the birth narrative is to show that the bond of family and belonging is love- FULL STOP- and that Jesus was blessed with an amazing family with both human and divine parentage?

Next time you hear the bad exegesis about Joseph, not being or needing to be his Daddy as Jesus was not his son, simply reply with the theologically best answer I can come up with “bollocks”.

Which is point one of this ecclectica, the other was trying to be politics free on Christmas Day, and only doing spot checks of social media, The United Conservative Party proved my social media musing with the new Covid restrictions/exemptions that had been announced in Alberta a few days before Christmas:

And yes church it was shown once again, for a tweet storm emerged with the UCP sharing of a Christmas greeting:



Found in Revised Common Lectionary Cycle B (found at Vanderbilt University: Year B РChristmas : Revised Common Lectionary (vanderbilt.edu)) 

Now we can argue over which translation of the Holy Bible was used, and whether the term was government or authority, but it is found within the Revised Common Lectionary for the readings. A lectionary is the reading rhythms that within a two year cycles of Sundays the church will hear all the Bible (and/or major themes) read from the pulpit. This is the example of what the Christmas Day readings looked like this year:

For finding scriptures I suggest http://www.biblegateway.com

Now, there are some things of note.

  1. The meme actually got more air time via progressives attempting to shame, call out, or otherwise put down.
  2. There is some issue with the meme any believer should take, when the Gospel reading of the day is from Luke, the birth of Christ, the scripture should have come from there. Unfortunately, Luke is the gospel written to and for the disenfranchised in society to empower and give voice, it is a rallying cry which with the track record of the government currently would have come across as higher hypocrisy than normal.
  3. The image of the Holy Family used is uber Blonde European. The traditionalist church images used, and not very historic. Some may say minor, some may say major point, but on point for the message.
  4. The use of the government in the quote is to be seen as a nod that the ruling party is there by divine right, yet who is Isaiah? Will share a bit on that.

Isaiah is a major prophet in the Holy Bible, respectfully from the Hebrew Bible portion. His book is 66 chapters in length, which has led some protestants to equate it to the Protestant Bible as an allegory (note I said Protestant as there are many bibles with books in as apocryphal/deutero-canonical or canonical that are beyond the scope of these 66). There was more than likely more than one Isaiah as a writer within the book, through textual historicity, the first writer would be the one who wrote the passage in the meme. Many of the Hebrew Prophets have had moments when their words have been pointed to foretelling the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, or more mystically, the Messiah (for if you are Jewish, he has not yet come). Most of the work was probably written during the Babylonian captivity, around 8th century BCE. The prophets were not necessarily future oriented texts, as much as social justice texts.

The prophets were called out of Israel to literally call Israel out. To point out what they were doing contrary to the heart of the Holy. It was framed in contrary to the Law, yet what is at the core of the Law and the Prophets? Love of God/Self/Neighbour. The prophets laid out unabashedly the harm being done under the guise of the name of God, and then what the repercussions were to be (reaping what one sows), in two cases at least the exiles under Babylon and Assyria. Then the inter-testimental period of silence were Rome seized their world. The world that the angels came to both Mary and Joseph to let them know, much like Zechariah and Elizabeth, that they would become parents of blessed children. Blessed children, what Brother Jesus let his followers know was each and every child.

So yes, this is a simple Merry Christmas from a political party. Yes, it is a message of Christendom (the Christianity of Empire) that speaks to a minority seeking to hold power, but lose the gospel, and yes, it is from the actual scriptures.

What is also clearly shows, like the story of Joseph, is a tool that can be of division, scape goating, and used wrongly.

What it leaves us with, is will we take the deeper message of the birth of Christ? The context of the word’s of Isaiah and the prophets knowing that a governing party just did one of the greatest self owns in history by literally turning the finger back on themselves to say- hey guess who isn’t meeting the call of justice? Guess who is willing to enter the exile for power?

Take time, and yes, it is a time when anyone of religious stripes who wants to speak up clearly and honestly. Share your faith, share how it has been used to harm, share how it has helped, and when politicians or religious leaders or fellow congregants attempt to use it to harm, call them out.

For we are all blessed children, loved, with family that embraces and loves us at this time of year, as today we enter the journey of the Magi following the once in hundreds years astronomical event to warn of the impending genocide.

Be the clarion call to end injustice.

Stand in love.

Amen.


Ah, it is quite a winding road David Platt’s (2019) Something has to Change presents, using his own journey into the Himalayas as a metaphor for the reader to reflect on their own journey of life. Platt couples this with comparative reflections in his reading from the Gospel of Luke (which is quite synchronous with my own family’s Advent reflections). If you want to spend some more time in preparation and reflection, tend more to the conservative theological then the book may be of benefit. If not, let me summarize, and it comes quite well from his pastor friend, Aaron where he essentially stipulates the following: I got tired of talking about ministry, and just wanted to be doing it.

And that dear reader, is the crux of the season and the work. We can have many pretty words and platitudes put forward. We can have many great intentions, thoughts, and prayers. We can beat our chest with what we think is the “moral” or “right choice”, but when it comes down to it, as the Gospel writer of Luke shows, it is simply what is God asking?

Where is the power of your “yes” resting and resisting?

What is that you have talked about for so long, that many have noted you light up when you share about? Yet, the litany hits of reasons as to why…NOT.

And what is truly missed is the reason…

that is why?

Like the song says, and is reflected so easily within our story,

See the source image

It is not impossible, it simply takes a moment to get off the conveyor belt of religious capitalism, and ask simply to the silence:

What fills me up?

What makes my world better?

Guess what, by answering these simple questions, you are living the love neighbour and love self, and by the simple act of doing, you are living the first commandment.

So, what is holding you back?

See the source image

My family has been reading through the Gospel of Luke this Advent season. It is a great way to engage with the Jesus story, lots comes at you each night in the one chapter to unpack, and work with our kids so they renew or come to new understanding of passages with where they are at in life. Who are the outcasts of our world that Jesus would have come to? Who would the ones being challenged by John the Baptist and Jesus be today?

How would you feel as Mary, taking all your you and saying “YES” to God? Would you? Was it a step of faith? Hope?¬† Was Elizabeth wrapped in joy with her late term pregnancy? What implications did this have on the drive of John the Baptist? Could he have been one with Asperger’s (which is now fully wrapped into the Autism Spectrum)? Was Jesus married? Does it increase or decrease your faith if he was?

And the parables. The wonderful stories of what it means to be the light, the sower. That is where our light shines and our seeds fall, how are we to love our friends, family, community, neighbours? How do we shine our light when our friends are locked into a negative thought cycle? How do we love when a friend gets disowned? What does it mean to have a home that lives the core values of Advent? That is a sacred safe space for all?

These are the stories that come to mind. Then you hit on belonging, and Luke provides.

17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and religion teachers were sitting around. They had come from nearly every village in Galilee and Judea, even as far away as Jerusalem, to be there. The healing power of God was on him.

18-20¬†Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. When they couldn‚Äôt find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, he said, ‚ÄúFriend, I forgive your sins.‚ÄĚ

21¬†That set the religion scholars and Pharisees buzzing. ‚ÄúWho does he think he is? That‚Äôs blasphemous talk! God and only God can forgive sins.‚ÄĚ

22-26¬†Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said, ‚ÄúWhy all this gossipy whispering? Which is simpler: to say ‚ÄėI forgive your sins,‚Äô or to say ‚ÄėGet up and start walking‚Äô? Well, just so it‚Äôs clear that I‚Äôm the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both.¬†.¬†.¬†.‚ÄĚ He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: ‚ÄúGet up. Take your bedroll and go home.‚ÄĚ Without a moment‚Äôs hesitation, he did it‚ÄĒgot up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way. The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous‚ÄĒand then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve never seen anything like that!‚ÄĚ

-Luke 5:17-26 (The Message)

Many hear this story as a passion for these gents to get their friend healed, and what they were willing for that to happen. But that is a superficial, ablest read of the passage. Much like what we bring to many of the disability passages within the Gospels. See, the world of the time, as sadly today, saw folks with disabilities as less than, those to be hidden away, not engaged with, gawked at, the question being what did they or their parents do to be cursed like this.

But that is never how Jesus ends. Jesus challenges assumptions, yet this story starts even before Jesus. He is doing his thing, in a local home, many are going, crowds are growing. These guys hear what is going down, and want to be a part of it. But one of them is missing, the proverbial shut in, or institutionalized or child with disability whose family does not want to deal with the headache and hurt of being in a church. They know it will not be the same without their friend.

Belonging- he is known, he is acknowledged, he is wanted, and he is missed when not there.

They go back and get him, and bring him along.

Yet, as with many holy sites, the house and crowd were not accessible. Folks were unwilling to give up their space to let their friend through. Ever had the– but this is where we sit conversation? Or this is where we park? Or any claiming of sacred space as proprietary? This is what they were hit with.

But they persevered. They took accessibility into their own hands. Could you imagine being there as these gents built their own lift to get their friend to the Holy? Love drove them.

Jesus did not heal first off. First off he affirmed the divinity of the person. He did this by pointing out like everyone else, he had done good and ill (one cannot have sin without the dichotomy), but then said he was cleansed. The shock, was the shock against the religious caste system that tried to place deficiency, and non-personhood upon this man to make themselves, “HOLY”. Jesus was the nullifier of this unholy religiousity. Who are those we try to place non-personhood upon now to make ourselves feel HOLY?

To abate their shock, Jesus heals.

Why?

So the love his friends had for him, could be extended into the whole community.

Today, we do not need this.

We need to get the message of the love of the divine. That all are in the divine image. The Imageo Dei.

The challenge is letting go of the fear of change, the grieving of loss. For what have we lost with belonging?

What has been healed in belonging?

The Holy, Beloved, and Blessed Image of God that each one of us is created in.

What is healed, is the false rifts, separations and castes our fragile human ego (sin) have placed within our world.


July 14, 2019

Order of Service

10:30 a.m. Centennial Presbyterian Church (Thank you to Presbyterian Church in Canada for the Liturgical pieces, Children’s time and Sermon are my own)

 

Entry of the Word

Welcome and Announcements

 

Call To Worship

Leader: Let us turn to God with confidence and expectation.

All: In you, O God, we place our trust.

Leader: Let us ask God to show us the road to follow.

All: Lead us, O God, in your truth and teach us your way.

Leader:  Let us seek hope in the Lord who is our salvation.

All: All day long we will put our hope in the God who saves us.

 Time of Praise:

He is Mighty To Save

Fruits of all creation

Open the Eyes of My Heart

 Prayers:

Prayers of Adoration

God of all beginnings, we come before you to praise and adore you.

We stand in awe of all you have created;

the vast expanse of the universe and the tiny beauty of a raindrop

together reflect your glory.

You have blessed creation with life and meaning.

As we marvel at your works,

we praise you for all you do in the world around us.

All praise and glory belong to you, Almighty God.

Prayer of Confession:

God of loving kindness,

Christ called us to love you above all else

and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Yet so often we forget you

and fail to act in loving ways toward those around us.

We are distracted by our own needs, forgetful of the needs of others.

We lose sight of you in the busyness with which we fill our lives.

Slow us down and center us in you.

Create in us new hearts

so that we can love and live as faithful disciples of Jesus. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon:

Hear the good news! Christ entered the world to free us from all sin.

Through the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

God calls us to reflect more fully the life of Christ,

So let us forgive one another and be at peace. Amen.

 The Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Time

-Walk with a mirror around for them to look into, and ask, who do you see?

-Ask them to look out at the congregation and ask who do you see?

 Do you want to know a secret? Each and every one of you is an image of God. Jesus wants you to love yourself for the blessed way you are created, just the way you are. Each and every person out there is a blessed creation of God, and Jesus wants us to love them with the same love as ourselves, as a blessed creation just the way they are… and the coolest part of the secret…by doing that…we are loving God with our everything…

Let’s pray…

Hymns

BP 229 – Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love

BP-674There’s a Spirit in the Air

Scripture:

Luke 10:25-37

 Sermon: What’s a Samaritan?

It is a question that has shaped the last 21 years of my ministry, and even before I knew the story and the questions set out in this passage my life. Who is my neighbour? A deeper question to be asked then from this parable is the question of what is a Samaritan, as that is the example Jesus gives.

While reflecting on what to share this morning, the Spirit reminded me of a story from my formation as a monastic, the simple story of Clare of Assisi. It is an ancient story from Easter time around 1228. See, Clare was a formerly wealthy lady who gave up everything to follow a life in Jesus. She had founded an order, the Poor Clares, what we would know as Nuns. As was the custom, Nuns were to stay cloistered, that is within their convent to only do prayer and chores, never to venture into the outside world, and observe rotations of holy silence. Yet, Clare had some issues with that. See, her sisters and her loved the poor. They would go out and ensure they had food, clothing and shelter even if it meant giving whatever they had in the convent, or the local parishes. They loved to sing and dance, spreading joy wherever they went. They got in trouble a lot for not being ‚ÄúChristian‚ÄĚ enough. In fact, for those church history buffs, this battle on not being ‚ÄúChristian enough‚ÄĚ for Clare and her sisters last 3 popes. That‚Äôs the big guy in charge of the church back then. Finally, the third one was at his wit‚Äôs end of how dare these women behave in such a manner feeding the poor, singing, dancing, caring for whomever they came across, or knocked upon their door‚Ķwhat a scandalous thing.

He sent out a group of old ‚Äúholy men‚ÄĚ to go upon the convent, and finally end this nonsense and ensure that they either stayed put praying, or were severed from the church forever. These old men knocked upon the door around supper time and were welcomed in by the sisters, who had just returned from doing those things they shant. The sisters apologized for such a sparse larder, but offered a thin soup and some fresh bread to refresh the holy men after their journey. They already started in on the sisters of their foolishness, and unwise use of food and money, and how they should not be going out and putting themselves in danger, don‚Äôt they know the uncleanness of ‚ÄúTHOSE‚ÄĚ people. Clare made some mumblings, when the bread came out of the oven the lead holy man challenged her‚Ķ ‚ÄúYou say the blessing and let‚Äôs see what the false God you follow has to say‚Ä̂Ķ

Clare said grace. A light breeze flowed through the room, the old men felt their aches, and pains fade away. On the buns rose crosses that startled them, as a faint voice said, this is Clare and her sisters, my beloved family.

When the old holy men returned to the Pope, he demanded to know if the sisters were properly Christian. The response was simple, they are with Jesus.

This story echoes in my heart when I think of the parable here Jesus has brought us to. For it challenges what is conventionally church.

Luke had a purpose in recording it. The Gospel of Luke is the third gospel in the Christian Testament. Luke, by trade was a physician, he had been disciple in the faith by Paul, who was not an original follower of Jesus in fact the guy liked to kill us before he too heard that voice calling him beloved. Paul worked to form the early church and deal with the hypocrisies, the struggles of the old having to give way to the new for the Holy Spirit to continue flowing, and the pettiness. Luke knew of this all, and was in the midst when he set out to write his Gospel, and its sequel, Acts, to lay out an orderly history of the church. The term Gospel means political statement. The Emperor had one, so Luke, and the early church by choosing that term for the story was laying out what life on this earth was meant to be. Jesus’ followers were disciples, not because he was mentoring and teaching, that was part of it, but they were doing life together in all the good, bad and ugly that means.

Which brings us into this dusty old market place, where the tradesman turned Rabbi, is teaching. It is not traditional classroom learning towards the test, rather it is discussion, debate, questioning and seeing what emerges. It is creating, and discovery. This is after Jesus had just sent out 72 of his disciples two by two, to live out this new way of life in their communities, they had returned sharing the challenges and joys of the mission.

This is where Jesus is challenged:

25¬†And behold, a¬†lawyer stood up to¬†put him to the test, saying, ‚ÄúTeacher, what shall I do to¬†inherit eternal life?‚Ä̬†26¬†He said to him,¬†‚ÄúWhat is written in the Law? How do you read it?‚Ä̬†27¬†And he answered,¬†‚ÄúYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and¬†your neighbor as yourself.‚Ä̬†28¬†And he said to him,¬†‚ÄúYou have answered correctly;¬†do this, and you will live.‚ÄĚ

Fairly straight forward. Jesus lays out the summation of the Hebrew Bible, the holy texts of Israel, what we call our Old Testament. This circle of love of God-Neighbour-Self. Why? A simple Latin term, Imageo Dei, the image of God. Just like our kids taught us, a few minutes ago.

Yet, here was a lawyer who did not get it, for he follows up with a deeper theological question:

29¬†But he,¬†desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‚ÄúAnd who is my neighbor?‚ÄĚ

See, the lawyer, the learned religious guy here wanted the safe ‚Äúholy answer‚ÄĚ. Our neighbour is the one that is like us. The one that acts, lives, probably looks like and worships as we do. The safe answer for Jesus to give. Instead Jesus walks through this story:

30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

We have a chap in distress here. Probably bleeding out. Now we can rationalize this behaviour away through historical context, religious observance, choose the rationalization you want with these two holy people. They were not permitted to interact with non-religious, and they were not supposed to touch those unclean-which means in medical distress, mental health distress, addiction, or dead‚Ķ so they were being their ‚ÄúHOLY‚ÄĚ selves. Jesus is talking to his folks, but he is also reaching forward 2,000 years and speaking to us‚Ķwhat does our ‚ÄúHOLY‚ÄĚ selves allow us to rationalize away in behaviours? It may not be a man bleeding out, but we have all heard the turn of phrases ‚ÄúI always sit here‚ÄĚ ‚Äúthat‚Äôs not how we do it‚ÄĚ ‚Äúthe kids are too noisy‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúYou need to learn our way‚ÄĚ; or my personal favourite after 20 years in ministry, ‚Äúthat‚Äôs just how the church is deal with it.‚ÄĚ

This was Jesus’ response to the tried and true rationalizations, a man in a life and death situation with the religious just being holy.

33¬†But a¬†Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.¬†34¬†He went to him and¬†bound up his wounds, pouring on¬†oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35¬†And the next day he took out two¬†denarii[c]¬†and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‚ÄėTake care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.‚Äô

What is a Samaritan? We have done a good thing by making an icon of the Good Samaritan for his compassion and care. Stepping outside the holy, to be present and neighborly. The Samaritans were seen as other, unholy, and even traitorous to the nation of Israel. Samaritans were part of intermarriage during the exile of Israel so they never returned, in fact they made their own nation, and way to Worship and Celebrate God. This person was seen as other, as Non-religious. All those rationalizations we can come up with as church to ensure we still feel righteous; well this was the person they were directed to. In our ancient fable, the Samaritan was Clare. In our current world it can be other denominations, religions, cultures, persons with disabilities, mental health issues, addictions, those not part of our socio-economic class, or or or I am sure the list can go on and on…for we use the rationalizations to prove our holiness to exclude others.

Jesus uses the Samaritan in this story as a philosophical heart challenge:

36¬†Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?‚Ä̬†37¬†He said, ‚ÄúThe one who showed him mercy.‚ÄĚ And Jesus said to him,¬†‚ÄúYou go, and do likewise.‚ÄĚ

The lawyer couldn’t name the other, but he still had to point to the act of mercy. The gathered heard that the religious had failed to love the Imageo Dei before them, and it was that they had always been taught was other, had stepped in and lived the Love Commandment.

This is not a passage with easy answers for our own spiritual journey or communal journey. It is designed to remind us of needing to love ourselves, and not let the negative soundtrack life or others try to place on us to bring us down. It reminds us, to not put that on someone else. It also challenges us that what we think is religious and holy, if founded in exclusion is not the Gospel of Jesus that pushed boundaries to draw the circle wide. Found ways to make God accessible, God’s family inclusive, and through the Holy Spirit a courageous safe place for belonging.

As we go forward this week to contemplate this story, take these questions:

  1. When are you or have you been the ‚ÄúHoly Men‚ÄĚ?
  2. When are you or have you been ‚ÄúThe untouchable‚ÄĚ?
  3. When are you or have you been blessed to be ‚ÄúThe Samaritan?‚ÄĚ

And, how can we be like the one that showed God’s love in its completeness as church?

Offering

Dedication of Offering:

God of Love, Hear our Prayer

Prayers of the People

I am going to open up, and then leave a space for you to silently or verbally say your prayers of celebration, petition, or whatever you feel that you want lifted at this moment…

(a few minutes of silence)…

Closing…

Hymn

BP 373 Jesus Loves Me

Benediction and Choral Commissioning:

Go Now and Pass it on

 


I had mused in the conclusion to my last series to take the scripture thoughts onto a YouTube channel. Well, it is live, so we shall see how this goes. The first video I am still sorting things out but let me know what you think: Finding Neighbour.


It is true I am hard on the religious of our world.¬†This far into so many contacts with the Holy Mystery and we still regress back into our pack is stronger than your pack b.s. (either the old standard meaning or belief systems, whichever resonates). We create banners/credos/terms for inclusion of certain segments, set aside others, but when it comes down to it and what is truly worshiped‚ÄĒmoney‚ÄĒcomes to the front one will quickly see where beliefs lie. As well, when the edge of the comfort bubble is nudged just that new millimetre watch the retro-grade-a-thon. ¬†But I also continually challenge myself and my own b.s. Look deeper, try new things, see what it truly means to draw the circle wide, not just to include but to belong.

Mostly due to an understanding of human development and history. Knowing when we get it right it goes exceptionally well for everyone, but when we get it wrong it is bloodfest worse than any 1980’s slasher movie.

That is why I decided to dive into the exploration of the Sermons on (insert place word here) by exploring the Gospel of Luke.  Luke was the disaffected travelling partner of Paul (Saul) of Tarsus. He was a physician by tradition, and set out to write an orderly history of the early movement which is seen in two works, the synoptic Gospel of (St.) Luke and the Book of Acts (of the Apostles). What is notable in a quick short hand overview is that both works focus highly on breaking down the religious and empire based cast systems, reaching out to the disenfranchised, and making a declarative statement that all belong on an equal basis. This is after all the story that begins by the Creator asking the non-person (read girl), Mary, if she would consent to having a child. And it steam rolls from there.

Leading up to this we see healings (as I addressed the point of in a post here); the scandal of calling a tax collector (the one seen as a ‚Äúrace traitor‚ÄĚ for openly serving the Roman Empire, and stealing from their own people) to already breaking religious traditions around fasting by pointing out why would you do this when you could commune so deeply with true belonging. In other words, we have chattered the ladder, made a circle, an all are welcome within and belong, so quit imposing your holier than thou b.s. on us. Quit forcing us to live in fear of the big bad evil bearded bastard in the sky that is out to smite us if we do not do what you say.

Which brings us to:

17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

-Luke 6:17-19 (English Standard Version, ESV)

The flat plains. Not being above the people, but within the people, sharing power and belonging. Which is the non-caste system world the laws, prophets, judges and other ancient stories tried to build but were always screwed over for power. It was the idea of the fields the poor could gather food upon after the harvest so they could stay at subsistence levels, instead of using the goods of the whole people to care for the whole people.

Not the bloody overthrow the Zealots (and other Messianic cults of the time were pursuing) or the segregation of the Essenes, or the status quo of the Pharisees/Sadducees/Herodians… but something so radical it was scary.

From within the circle, he would share from a place of belonging and new life.

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

-Luke 6:20-23 (ESV)

What the heck? It appears at first reading Jesus is re-enforcing the caste system, and that one should gladly accept their lot in life because it makes them holy.

WRONG!!!

What is being pointed out in blessings is simple. You have lived so outside the normalized oppressive system as untouchable, non-humans that a new world can be created. There is no benchmark of normal, there is no typical. There is no better than or less than or living in fear.

For he goes on to remind them in this poetic psalm by pointing out those that are within the caste/touchable, the fear they live within:

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

-Luke 6:24-26 (ESV)

It sounds like being smacked for having the good life. Nope. It is being smacked for letting things like wealth, self-gratification, and oppression of others to achieve these things being what drive you. Think of those that have created systems that traumatize and re-traumatize humans… those are the woes. We are created to be interconnected and interdependent. We are in woe, when we do not see neighbour, but other. When we cannot aid another in living the life they are meant to live with all the supports they need to thrive.

I can just imagine the conversations and questions that were coming from the gathered families during this discussion. Yes you read that right, discussion. It was not lecture, a drop a heavy message and scoot out the backdoor. Jesus was in the midst, eating, drinking, talking, laughing, and answering questions. I remember in bible college being accused of a drop and run of a heavy teaching, and it wasn’t an accusation. I did. It was a message I needed to hear to be able to change how I bring sermons or lectures and ensure there is time for interaction, and a structured after time to answer questions some may be unable to bring up in a gathering.

This is how I could see this topic ringing out, what are we to do with those that tell us we are not good enough:

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[a] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

-Luke 6:27-36 (ESV)

Oh what can hang up some many in bad teaching. The genesis of love the sinner hate the sin b.s.; or hug a Nazi in progressive circles (do I really need to hug a Neo-Nazi? NO!)  or lip-service to inclusion or… Jesus was throwing down ways to actually stay safe, non-violently resist, and to see that even the most vile has the cosmic spark within them. There is value in the life of the abuser/oppressor, but we need to stay safe. Turn the other cheek is non-violent resistance for it allows an escape route. For those who understand ancient/passive martial arts/defenses it allows the person to move and escape without escalating the situation. To understand that taxes and force are used to demean by stripping one of their possessions, when you take that power away by giving more it confuses and confounds. Especially because in the Beatitudes here tie into the blessings of being the outside caste (aside), know that the community will uplift and care for you and your family as we resist to shatter the oppressive authority of Empire, hatred and religious oppression…as the light shines into the darkness and replaces fear with hope, hate with love.

37¬†‚ÄúJudge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned;¬†forgive, and you will be forgiven;¬†38¬†give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put¬†into your lap. For¬†with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.‚ÄĚ

39¬†He also told them a parable:¬†‚ÄúCan a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?¬†40¬†A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is¬†fully trained will be like his teacher.41¬†Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but¬†do not notice the log that is in your own eye?¬†42¬†How can you say to your brother, ‚ÄėBrother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,‚Äô when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

-Luke 6:39-42

The journey is to become fully equal where we can respect one another’s words of wisdom, consolation, empathy and kindness. Not only words, but words supported by authentic actions. The judgements are those that have already been cast idly and falsely, this is a reminder not to be like that. Not to use others as a scapegoat as you have been made. But to stand in the new life, to know who you authentically are, working on being the best you possible. To speak in wisdom and kindness, as those who have mentored and taught you have.

Actions and words of authenticity rooted in love shatter the hypocritical system of now that the religious who say you are not worthy you exist within.

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

46¬†‚ÄúWhy¬†do you call me ‚ÄėLord, Lord,‚Äô and not do what I tell you?¬†47¬†Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like:¬†48¬†he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.[b]¬†49¬†But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and¬†the ruin of that house was great.‚ÄĚ

-Luke 6:43-49

And what happens when you are authentic in your lived life?

What happens when you are authentic in being a life long learner?

What happens when you reach the core of the labyrinth of your soul? Touch the cosmic dust that exists within you? And realize that same dust has connected everything in creation to you and you to them?

What is the new world symbolized by the plain?

Are you ready for your words and actions to resonate HOPE and LOVE?

Pick one simple act, tell a friend when you will do it, go back and tell them the outcome.


Luke 2

The second chapter of Luke. The physician‚Äôs orderly and ‚Äúhistorical‚ÄĚ treatise on the rise of early Christianities. It is one that can provide conflict, and queries. For as noted previously, if the village was rarely left by those who lived there. How is it that these humble labourers could afford the trek to Bethlehem for a census? Was the census historical? That is a question that can be answered in varying degrees. Yet today I will challenge you, if it is not a historical census, then what is the purpose of the tool in the literature of Gospel. Gospel means good news, yet few understand it is a political platform, an outline of the way of life. This was written as a direct challenge to the Gospel of the Empire. It was written as a rallying call for the early believers that a different path of radical love, shattered barriers and chains of oppression was possible, and radical belonging should simply be a way of life.

So why the Census? It was the tool that showed the affront to the Empire the quickest to the non-Jewish-Monotheist audience. For the census was meant to flex the Empire muscle, and it was usurped by the birth of a baby, in a humble stable/creche. It even more so showed that the first called to this amazing sight was not the wealthy, military powers or religious controllers. The first called was the shepherds. Those outside in the fields, the lesser thans and not so wants arounds. Setting the tone for this political platform. It was about everyone being present‚ÄĒbarriers shattered.

Even with following tradition of presentation and circumcision, the prophet and prophetess voice of Simeon and Anna rang out. The voices of the Elders affirming a different path being seen in this life lived. A life that would return to the humble village life, learning his faith at the hems of the matriarchs, growing in life and work with his father, Joseph as a labourer, until his time would come to step out and into the world.

There would be a story that they would return to Jerusalem for Passover where Jesus would teach the Rabbi’s showing his wisdom around his bar mitzvah age, and challenging even his parents to understand what they had agreed to. Was this possible? Maybe. Could it have been smaller in just how Jesus conducted himself in the village? Probably. Yet what was being illustrated was a boy becoming a man, and stepping outside of the caste of labourer close to untouchable, into a scholarly-priestly cast. In the 21st century Canada this may be hard to comprehend. But it is the story of a child breaking a barrier of exclusion. An imposed barrier placed around socio-economics and used to keep people oppressed.

Why is this a story of this barrier shattering?

Simple. Not only was it affirmed by the religious controllers in their own shock. Jesus took the stance of activist. His words struck chords with his parents who were probably hurt when he pointed out of course I would be here in my Dad’s place. But it was more that they were still thinking in the false system, the one where oppression was common place and accepted. Even though both Joseph and Mary had made decisions 12 years and 9 months earlier to step outside the system, they had so easily slipped, relapsed if you will to the addiction of the system. Jesus intervened on their recovery road.

As you enter the Gospel and see these stories of shattering barriers imposed by economics, politics, and religiosity…

  • what barriers do you see in your world today that need to be shattered?
  • Who are the shepherds to be welcomed?
  • What is your Bethlehem stable?
  • Your temple prophecy?

Your moment of throwing away who the world says you are to be, and becoming who you are meant to be?


…Jesus son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those granted nearness to God.

-Sura 3:46

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Crusades were a horrific time within the Empire phase of Christianity. It was about anti-Semitism (travelling to and from the Holy Land was a great excuse for the warriors to cull the Jewish in the lands) and to let blood run high in the Holy Land battling the ‚Äúinfidel‚ÄĚ.

During one such crusade time a disgraced Crusader received a call to something different. Francis was a party animal, one of those wealthy ne’er do wells many towns and communities know of. He thought to increase his lot by bravery in the Crusades…suffice to say he was not a good Knight, and wound up injured in a burnt out church where Jesus spoke to him through the San Damiano cross calling him to rebuild his church. After stealing supplies from his father, and rebuilding 3 fine parishes he was once again revisited and redirected to actual community based around hope and loved. Even beaten and imprisoned by his own parents, just emboldened this man to cast of (literally) the clothes of wealth and walk naked into the world.

The Franciscan movement is what began. Part of the life lived that receives little mention outside of the international circles (as most just know Francis for his love of animals, not activism) so he has been reduced to the garden statue or fountain. Yet it was in the midst of crusade times this rabble rouser and friends upset the apple cart, and not just in the challenge for equity and justice for the poor. Nope, he also crossed treasonous lines by going back onto the Crusader path to meet with Sultan.

Why?

To pray together.

To talk.

To share bread.

To be community.

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was ever inclined to God and obedient to Him, and he was not of those who associate gods with God.

-Sura 3:68

Francis and his community understood an eternal truth. God is the source of all that is, all that exists within and through and lived out of the Holy Mystery. The source-Love- was not to be confused with the manifestations. That is…the wells are not the river.

We want the labels to divide. Those in power hope that we allow the labels to divide. Yet, there is another way. A way where we acknowledge the One River, and sample one another’s well water in a safe place of community, sharing prayers, sharing discourse, sharing bread. Being like Francis and the Sultan. That piece of light in the darkness.

And he will teach them the Book, and The Wisdom, and The Torah and the Gospel.

-Sura 3: 49

This is why my family hosts an inter-faith Questing through the Qur’an; and a Brunch & Bible (where we travel the roads of the Gospel of Luke & Acts of the Apostles) on alternating weeks. To share the foundation stories. To see where we connect. To hear where we differ.

To know  we are still united in our diversity.

                Much like Francis’ call to bring the gifts of peace, hope, faith, joy and love to Sultan. But also to receive these same gifts from Sultan.

For, what are we in humanity,

if not neighbours….

francis

The Gospel story, the faith story has not ended. It is not sealed. Each of us in our journeys, our lives continue to write in the book of life about how we live within, through and out of the love that is the Holy Mystery. So what is the new chapter you are starting in this moment?


The later 1990’s early 2000’s through the United Church Observer is when I became aware of a Matriarchal Wisdom movement, that sadly has fallen off the radar. Women from some U.C. congregations, local mosque and synagogues in Ontario were meeting on a project to bring the three major Abrahamic faith texts together (Hebrew Bible, Christian Testament and the Qur’an). The idea being to provide the cross-reference texts through all three to show how the faiths are more similar and connected than adversarial.

Part of why I am enjoying being the host family for UCM Alberta’s questing through the Qur’an is the real-life reproduction of this project. The past gets together we had a local mosque’s missionary via skype for roughly half the time being able to answer questions, share in readings and discussions. It was also good as I have written about before as common ground allows good things to grow, and that can change our world better than anything.

This post points to an horribly overlooked point in western religious world, and that is the idea of equality and equity for all God’s children and creation. Our continued readings through Sura 2 highlighted the equality and protection of men and women afforded equally through contrasting divorce laws instead of discussing marriage vows. Yet it also shone a light on the ending of scape goatism, and standing firm in yourself accepting the consequences one’s own actions creates regardless of their socio-economic status.

O ye who believe! Equitable retaliation in the matter of the slain is prescribed for you: the free man for the free man, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But if one is granted any remission by one’s brother then pursuing the matter for realization of the blood money shall be done with fairness and the murderer shall pay him the blood money in a handsome manner. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. And whoso transgresses thereafter, for him there shall be a grievous punishment.

-Sura 2:179

At first reading, this appears to be a retelling of the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth teaching from Exodus 21:24. This short treatise was a counter-culture teaching that stopped the children of Israel from restraining ancient justice and wiping out whole townships due to a small infraction, the response was now commanded to be measured response. This can appear as an expansion, as it points out that you could not buy your way out of offense, or use a wife, or a slave or a societal lesser to pay for your crime as was a normative practice as well. You were responsible for your actions, no one else.

Yet it was more. For it truly echoes back to the nativity story. Think of it, a movement of one of the holiest prophets/messiahs/spiritual teachers, Brother Jesus, came from a working-poverty class village, where life expectancy was on average forty years old. Chances are carpenter was a political choice of translation, when in fact he was part of the unskilled labouring classes. Joseph arranged and purchased Mary, she had no voice (regardless of what you believe about the conception of Jesus, she was a teen girl who was sold by her family as was the practice of the time) in whom she would wed.

Yet this is what the Christian testament tells us of the voice in the decision to birth Jesus:

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was engaged[a] to marry Joseph, but before they married, she learned she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly.

20¬†While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, ‚ÄúJoseph, descendant of David, don‚Äôt be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit.¬†21¬†She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus,[b]¬†because he will save his people from their sins.‚ÄĚ

22¬†All this happened to bring about what the Lord had said through the prophet:¬†23¬†‚ÄúThe virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel,‚ÄĚ[c]¬†which means ‚ÄúGod is with us.‚ÄĚ

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the Lord’s angel had told him to do. Joseph took Mary as his wife, 25 but he did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to the son. And Joseph named him Jesus.

-Matthew 1:18-25 (New Century Version)

Part two was Joseph choosing to be apart of this. He had many options before him, as Matthew’s text was written for the Jewish members of the Jesus movement. Culturally they knew that Joseph could have Mary killed for adultery, or simply cast her and the baby outside the village to work in the sex trade and begging until her and the child died, these were the quietly put away moments. What this contrasting showed, was the Joseph heard the same choice to be made by the angel, and had to make a choice. In this small of a centre he knew the whispers, the scandal, the gossip, the possible loss of income and what the world his son would be entering into in this microcosm, and even the scorn that could come to Mary. Yet he needed to choose. One of 2 that had to choose.

26¬†In¬†the¬†sixth¬†month¬†of Elizabeth‚Äôs pregnancy,¬†the¬†angel¬†Gabriel¬†was¬†sent¬†by¬†God¬†to¬†a¬†town¬†of¬†Galilee¬†called¬†Nazareth,¬†27¬†to¬†a¬†virgin¬†engaged¬†to a¬†man¬†whose¬†name¬†was¬†Joseph, a¬†descendant¬†of¬†David,¬†and¬†the¬†virgin‚Äôsname¬†was¬†Mary.¬†28¬†The¬†angel¬†came¬†to¬†her¬†and¬†said, ‚ÄúGreetings,¬†favored one,¬†the¬†Lord¬†is¬†with¬†you!‚Ä̬†29¬†But¬†she was¬†greatly troubled¬†by¬†his¬†words and¬†began to¬†wonder¬†about the¬†meaning¬†of¬†this¬†greeting.¬†30¬†So¬†the¬†angel said¬†to¬†her, ‚ÄúDo¬†not¬†be¬†afraid,¬†Mary,¬†for¬†you have¬†found¬†favor¬†with¬†God!¬†31¬†Listen:¬†You will¬†become¬†pregnant¬†and¬†give birth¬†to¬†a¬†son,¬†and¬†you will¬†name¬†him¬†Jesus.¬†32¬†He¬†will¬†be¬†great,¬†and¬†will¬†be¬†called¬†the¬†Son¬†of the¬†Most High,¬†and¬†the¬†Lord¬†God¬†will¬†give¬†him¬†the¬†throne¬†of¬†his¬†father¬†David.¬†33¬†He will¬†reign¬†over¬†the¬†house¬†of¬†Jacob¬†forever,¬†and¬†his¬†kingdom¬†will¬†neverend.‚Ä̬†34¬†Mary¬†said¬†to¬†the¬†angel, ‚ÄúHow¬†will¬†this¬†be,¬†since¬†I have¬†not¬†been intimate with¬†a¬†man?‚Ä̬†35¬†The¬†angel¬†replied,¬†‚ÄúThe¬†Holy¬†Spirit¬†will¬†come upon¬†you,¬†and¬†the¬†power¬†of the¬†Most High¬†will¬†overshadow¬†you.¬†There fore¬†the child¬†to be¬†born¬†will be¬†holy;¬†he will be¬†called¬†the¬†Son¬†of¬†God.¬†36¬†‚ÄúAnd¬†look,¬†your¬†relative¬†Elizabeth¬†has¬†also¬†become¬†pregnant¬†with¬†a¬†son¬†in¬†her¬†old age¬†‚Äď although¬†she¬†was¬†called¬†barren, she¬†is¬†now¬†in¬†her sixth¬†month!¬†37¬†For¬†nothing¬†will be¬†impossible¬†with¬†God.‚Ä̬†38¬†So¬†Mary said, ‚ÄúYes,¬†I am a¬†servant¬†of the¬†Lord; let this¬†happen¬†to¬†me¬†according to your¬†word.‚Ä̬†Then¬†the¬†angel¬†departed¬†from¬†her.

 -Gospel of Luke 1:26-38 (bible.org)

Before coming to Joseph, the one with no voice, was spoken to and asked directly. One can say the question was asked of one so young due to naivety, yet be honest in such a small village she knew what the consequences would be. How could one find the strength to say yes to such a weird event for the time?

Simple, Mary got what the old men’s club did not of her era (and sadly many eras since), everyone’s voice matters, and everyone is created in equality, equity and justice. The gifts of peace, faith, joy and hope reign in our beings, but the cosmic dust at our core is shaped in L-)’V-E. That is right, Mary had the same choice as Joseph tradition tells us, unencumbered by society, simply one question asked, yes or no. She mattered.

How did she know?

Simple beginnings in the Hebrew Bible:

27 God created humankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them,

male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them 

Genesis 1:27-28 (bible.org)

A simple ancient poem of the creation of everything. An ancient poem stating the why to the people. Humanity was created in the Creator’s image. Both genders (and all sexualities, all races, all cultures, all religions, etc)…one river many wells to drink from.

Each person in autonomous, but their decisions have consequences, good, neutral or bad within their communities. Like the pebble hitting the pond and the ripples going outwards. The first step is understanding though that we are autonomous in an interdependent community. This is why it matters to discover what and how our neighbours believe. So we can see where the common ground is for moving forward, and creating a world that was dreamed of in that first moment when -BANG- it all appeared.


Remorse. Making the best decision one can in the instant whether it was the best of the worst or best of the best. A comic writer once said, the Joker and Lex Luthor are such great villains not because they are villains, but in their own story they are the heroes.

Tonight, was the second last book discussion group on Levi’s Aquarian Gospel. It is a great reinterpretation of the story of Brother Jesus, as many who have worked through previous reflections/spiritual practices that it has brought up. Tonight, it was noted how possible Gnostic texts and/or deutero-canonical Hebrew Bible texts may have fleshed out some teachings and scenes.

Yet we come down to a character that is either completely played as an ubiquitous devil of the disciples, the kind of lecherous thief: Judas Iscariot. Pre-destination belief may lay out that he was meant to betray Jesus known as the Christ for the full glory to unfold. Others could argue free will making a choice based on a bad moral base and this jealousy/feeling of emasculation that led to betrayal?

Or was it the story of a man who was trying to make the messiah-teacher he followed, fit the messiah he was raised to be to over throw the oppressors that treated the peasants as at best play things, as at worst possessions of disbarment.

This was a passage that made us go Hmmm:

Aquarian Gospel:

Chapter 169

Judas is filled with remorse. Hurries to the temple and throws the thirty pieces of silver at the feet of the priests who take it and buy a potter’s field. Judas hangs himself. His body is buried in the potter’s field.

1. Now, Judas who betrayed his Lord, was with the mob; but all the time he thought that Jesus would assert his power and demonstrate the strength of God that he possessed, and strike to earth the fiendish multitudes and free himself;
2. But when he saw his master on the ground and bleeding from a score of wounds, he said,
3. O God, what have I done? I have betrayed the son of God; the curse of God will rest upon my soul.
4. And then he turned and ran with haste until he reached the temple door; he found the priests, who gave to him the thirty silver pieces to betray the Lord, and said,
5. Take back your bribe; it is the cost price of my soul; I have betrayed the son of God.
6. The priests replied, That matters not to us.
7.¬†Then Judas threw the silver on the floor, and, bowed with grief, he went away, and on a ledge beyond the city’s walls he hanged himself and died.
8. In time the fastenings gave way, his body fell into the Hinnon vale and after many days they found it there a shapeless mass.
9.¬†The rulers could not put the price of blood into the treasury, and so they took the thirty silver pieces with which they bought a potter’s field,
10. Where they might bury those who had no rights to lie within their sacred grounds.
11. And there they put the body of the man who sold his Lord.

In the journey of understanding our own depths, take time to pause, and reflect on this passage of Judas, and these from the Canonical Gospels (those within the Christian Testament as set by Constantine, and affirmed again by the Principalities at Reformation): Matthew 26:14-16; 27:1-10; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 13.

The Spiritual Practice:

Begin to understand yourself. Write the story of Judas Iscariot from a first-person narrative. Complete free-fall (this was a style of W.O. Mitchell, it means keep the pen moving on paper, do not let it stop for at least 15 minutes).

Reflect on the story of Judas that emerged through your own reflective heart.

Who is Judas in your gospel?

What new resonates in understanding the journey with Brother Jesus?