After watching sales falling off for three straight months at Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Colonel calls up the Pope and asks for a favor.
The Pope says, ”What can I do?”
The Colonel says, ”I need you to change the daily prayer from, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken’. If you do it, I’ll donate 10 Million Dollars to the Vatican.”
The Pope replies, ”I am sorry. That is the Lord’s Prayer and I cannot change the words.”
So the Colonel hangs up. After another month of dismal sales, the Colonel panics, and calls again.
”Listen your Excellency. I really need your help. I’ll give you $50 million dollars if you change the words of the daily prayer from ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken.”’
And the Pope responds, ”It is very tempting, Colonel Sanders. The church could do a lot of good with that much money. It would help us support many charities. But, again, I must decline. It is the Lord’s Prayer, and I can’t change the words.”
So the Colonel gives up again. After two more months of terrible sales the Colonel gets desperate. ”This is my final offer, your Excellency. If you change the words of the daily prayer from, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken’ I will donate $100 million to the Vatican.”
The Pope replies, ”Let me get back to you.”
So the next day, the Pope calls together all of his bishops and he says, ”I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is that KFC is going to donate $100 million to the Vatican.”
The bishops rejoice at the news. Then one asks about the bad news.
The Pope replies, ”The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread account.”
Good Morning Beloved!
Palm Sunday is traditionally the day we celebrate Jesus entering into Jerusalem to begin the Passover Holiday and the Christian Holy week. So, let’s look a bit at the different symbolization with regard to entering the city before we go much further.
Jesus rode a donkey, actually the colt of a donkey; that had never been ridden. Donkeys, in the Eastern tradition were an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is an animal of war. And a colt symbolizes meekness and humility. This was a disgraceful appearance, and, eventually Jesus is rejected and the people lost interest in Him and His message.
A king from the different countries, came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace.
Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would thus symbolize his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.
Less well-known is the historical fact that a Roman imperial procession was also entering Jerusalem for Passover from the other side of the city. It happened every year: the Roman governor of Judea, whose residence was in Caesarea on the coast, rode to Jerusalem in order to be present in the city in case there were riots at Passover, the most politically volatile of the annual Jewish festivals. With him came soldiers and cavalry to reinforce the imperial garrison in Jerusalem.
It is clear what Pilate’s procession was about. By proclaiming the pomp and power of empire, its purpose was to intimidate.
But what about Jesus’s procession, his entry into the city?
As Mark, the first gospel to be written, tells the story, Jesus planned His entry into Jerusalem in advance. It was not a last-minute decision, as if he decided to ride a donkey because he was tired or wanted people to be able to see him better.
And – this is the crucial connection – riding a donkey into Jerusalem echoes a passage from the prophet Zechariah.
“Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey… (9.9).
That king, the passage continues, will be a king of peace:
“He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations” (9.10).
Thus for that Passover, two very different processions entered Jerusalem. They proclaimed two very different and contrasting visions of how this world can and should be: the kingdom of God versus the kingdoms, the powers, of this world
The former is about justice and the end of violence. The latter are about domination and exploitation.
What are your thoughts about that?
In the Revealing Word: the animal part of the human consciousness is typified by the donkey. The characteristics of the donkey are stubbornness, persistency, and endurance. (Does that sound like us?) The purpose of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem was to portray the mastery by the I AM of the animal nature and its manifestation. To ride the donkey is to make them obedient to one’s will.
So, Jesus, metaphysically, was obedient to the Christ Consciousness.
In many lands in the ancient Near East, it was customary to cover in some way the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor.
The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory in the Greco-Roman culture of the Roman Empire, and became the most common attribute of the goddess Nike or Victory. For contemporary Roman observers, the procession would have evoked the Roman triumph, when the triumphator laid down his arms and wore the toga, the civilian garment of peace that might be ornamented with emblems of the palm. Although the Epistles of Paul refer to Jesus as “triumphing”, the entry into Jerusalem may not have been regularly pictured as a triumphal procession in this sense before the 13th century. In ancient Egyptian religion, the palm was carried in funeral processions and represented eternal life. The palm branch later became a symbol of Christian martyrs and their spiritual victory or triumph over death.
We have palm leaves for you to take along to bless your homes. Let us receive them as symbols of spiritual victory and eternal life, not just for Jesus but for us also.
Thus Palm Sunday announces the central conflict of Holy Week. The conflict, Jesus representing peace and the Roman soldiers, representing domination on a material plane, and persists, and continues wherever injustice and violence abound. Holy Week is not about less than that, but about so much more.
So, as I was contemplating how to present the Palm Sunday lesson, I thought about the hero’s Journey. And how we can relate the Hero’s Journey to Jesus’ journey, or really, Jesus’ journey as it is a Hero’s journey.
Jesus models for us the Hero’s Journey that we, too, must follow to find and claim our Christ identity.
Do you remember “Jesus Christ, Superstar”? Wonderful music. An example, in miniature of His journey.
And I, a great Harry Potter fan, look at that series as another example of the hero’s journey, with many life lessons throughout the series. And there are so many more, all through history-ours and other cultures too.
Joseph Campbell, noted mythologist, scholar, and philosopher from the 1980s, coined the phrase “the hero’s journey” to describe the classic coming of age story. Campbell says the hero is that indescribable part of us that remains constant and courageous, regardless of what is happening around us. It is our authentic self; the essence of who we are apart from our personality traits or the drama that sometimes surrounds us. It is what Charles Fillmore would call our “Christ” nature. It is our authentic self, taking action in our lives, which fills us with a sense of vibrancy.
The eternal quest myths that form part of many cultures are not just a call to discover ourselves and the treasure that is within us. A hero may travel to distant places and face many challenges. A treasure can be won, but it is the adventure itself, the journey, which is of greatest value because it has uncovered him; it has helped him discover his inner resources.
The mythical heroes were on a holy quest and so are we. In fact, all of life is such a journey, but for most of us it looks ordinary. We call it forgiveness or finding a job or getting up again after we have fallen. Properly viewed, these life circumstances reach into our minds and hearts and demand that we stand on our own feet and live our lives as if God is enough.
Part of MY hero’s journey has been finding Unity. Believe me, it took a while to get this far. And the Journey continues. But when I look back, I see the facets of that journey and know that, all those twists and turns on the path were required to get me here, even though I do not like it one bit. The pain, the frustration, the hurt, the set-backs…yes, I am just like you.
We are ALL on this same journey, it just looks different for each of us.
We all desire a vibrant life. We all want to know our life makes a difference, that we have a contribution to make, and that there is a purpose to our life. We form relationships in order to experience connection and commitment to a common purpose and to share our gifts. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, appreciated, and accepted for who they are. When that happens, there is a greater sense of possibility for change, growth, and resiliency. We need to love and to be loved. Not just an emotional love but also a love that accepts us and flows through us to accept what is right before us.
We at Unity choose Jesus as our wayshower, our guide through the Hero’s Journey because He symbolizes who we want to express. We already know we are created in the image and likeness of God/Goddess. We just must learn how to express that. THAT is what the journey is about, figuring out how to express that. Or as one of my class mates said on Tuesday, How do I want to be in this situation?
In order to access our authentic self, we must become mindful of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and perceptions and ask ourselves questions that draw us into our essence. Some questions might be: Who am I being right now? Am I demonstrating the qualities of being that move my heart? Who am I willing to be in order to make a difference in this situation? Am I willing to move past where I have stopped before in the past?
I can imagine Jesus asking Himself some of these questions as He made His journey through life.
We all have a courageous heart and a monkey mind. Monkey mind is a Buddhist term for the self-limiting chatter that constantly goes on inside our head that revolves around worry and doubt. It keeps us safe but never in the present moment. Our monkey mind is either in the past—blaming, resenting, judging, and critiquing—or in the future, worrying. If we can shift our attention from monkey mind to the voice of wisdom within us and simply take a small step forward, we will experience vibrancy.
Metaphysically the writings of the Bible do not define an ideal; they rather describe a process of spiritual growth and awareness. As we move forward toward our spiritual purpose of expressing our true Christ nature and thereby creating the kingdom of heaven where we are, we can expect to make a lot of wrong turns and find ourselves in some very dark, scary places. The Bible reassures us always that it’s all part of the journey. There is not one specific step that will allow us to fully express our Christ nature; we will get there as the culmination of many, many steps.
The Hebrew Scriptures were to be seen as a progressive story of our capacity to understand and embrace the Divine as love and empowerment. Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore followed that guidance in his approach to the Bible. Deuteronomy describes a god of judgment, anger, and vengeance. Jesus describes a God of infinite love for all creation. The process of getting from one mindset to another is the very purpose of our human experience, our Hero’s Journey. We sometimes still need a reminder that this spiritual journey requires our full commitment. It takes work in any relationship, even the one with yourself. And I believe that self-relationship is the door to Christ Consciousness.
The promise, then, is that our journey will be joyfully complete when we have removed from our consciousness every thought and false belief of separation from our divine Source, and become clear and non-resisting channels for the creative Power that is God. Then our lives here on earth will be completely infused with the divine, and the kingdom of heaven will not only be at hand; it will be the consciousness in which we live.
This is a moment we have known, and will continue to know, in our own lives. Immobilized by the pain of utter resistance to our spiritual forward movement, we suffer until we are ready to release. Then we surrender to the absolute certainty that we are immersed in the Love that is God. And we break through to a new dimension of possibility that welcomes us and heals us—and from which our journey will continue.
This is symbolized in Jesus’ journey, as He often struggled, as we do, with our human existence. And when we connect with our Divine, THAT is the Kingdom we want and need.
And its right here (Heart)
Oprah Winfrey said: “The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.”