Good Morning Beloved!
Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served.
When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.
‘Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer.’ said his mother.
‘I don’t need to,’ the boy replied.
‘Of course, you do,’ his mother insisted. ‘We always say a prayer before eating at our house.’
‘That’s at our house,’ Johnny explained. ‘But this is Grandma’s house and she knows how to cook!’
Let’s take a look at this month’s affirmations, on the little slip inside your bulletin.
Inner Peace: I choose to live with a peaceful heart.
Guidance: God guides me to my highest good.
Healing: I partner with God in caring for my body temple.
Prosperity: I am swimming in a sea of prosperity.
World Peace: Peace in my soul contributes to peace in the world.
Take it along with you and place it somewhere you can see them and repeat them often. You will be surprised how affective it can be.
So, last week we looked at Palm Sunday and related the journey that Jesus took to the Hero’s journey.
Today, let’s look at what has been happening this “Holy” week.
Jesus has entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, after having performed some healing miracles AND raising Lazarus from the dead. So, we can understand somewhat why His entry is praised with palms and cloaks on His path and the singing of Hosanna.
The week is filled with His lessons, using parables to teach the people and His disciples. We will discuss the parables later through the year.
So how does He get the Jewish leaders so upset? Well, they do not understand His reference to The Kingdom of Heaven and what that means. Even His disciples do not understand, “If you have ears to hear…”
The Sadducees and Pharisees are jealous and afraid of losing their status. Metaphysically they represent someone who observes the letter of the law but not its spirit. To Jesus they were hypocrites.
Then, Jesus goes to the Temple and is angered by the money changers. Money changers represent, metaphysically, dishonest thoughts of materialism and greed. Our consciousness must be cleansed of these thoughts if the body temple is to be kept pure and holy. Remember, the Temple was to be a ‘House of Prayer.’ SO the money changers had to be cleared from the temple.
Jesus also curses a fig tree. What is the significance of that? Well, the tree was in full leaf. That usually means, for fig trees, that there should have been figs, since the figs come before the leaves. No one knows why there weren’t any. Maybe they were already eaten by other passersby.
Is it possible that Jesus used the fig tree as a teaching moment? Could He be saying, “You know how to produce figs, so why aren’t you?” In the same respect, “You know these things, these lessons, so why aren’t you doing them? Why aren’t you putting feet to your prayers?”
That’s our 5th Principle…
Several times the Pharisees and Sadducees try to trick Him in the Temple and elsewhere. The fact that they could not, just angered them more, all leading up to the betrayal.
This was a busy week for Jesus. He gave the “Give to Caesar what is his and to God what is God’s” lesson. What is He saying here? That there are things in the physical, material world that belong there and that there are “Spiritual” things that belong to God, to Spirit. As we move along on our Spiritual Journey, we are more able to discern what is “Caesar’s” and what is God’s. That discernment allows us a more peaceful, joyful life. It helps us temper our ego.
And then, Jesus tell of the Great Commandment. Again, the Temple Priests try to trick Him. But He answers that the Great Commandment is to love your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength; and the second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. A true message for this and ALL seasons.
Passover is the Jewish feast remembering the ‘angel of death’ passing over the Jewish homes marked with lambs blood prior to the exodus from Egypt. Symbolically, it is a mental attitude in which we are bridging over from an old state of consciousness and entering a new—-mortal to spiritual. I can understand why we can and should celebrate this every year. We continually go back and forth from mortal to spiritual in consciousness. We all need these reminders.
It is said that the “last Supper’ took place in an upper room. Does anyone know what that means, metaphysically? Any time upper, or looking up is mentioned, it means going to a higher state of consciousness. When Jesus is said to look up, it’s the same thing, going to our inner Christ Consciousness…connecting with Spirit.
And did the “Last Supper” really happen the way we think it did? According to some current Bible scholars, no. Those words, ‘this is my body and this is my blood’ were ‘added’ later, by Paul in his writings to one of his churches, and then copied into the various Gospels according to these new scholars. Traditionally, Jews would have been astonished by the very thought of eating someone’s flesh & blood, even in this supposed form. So, something added ‘for effect’ maybe? Who knows? We can only guess. Or maybe the interpretation is miscued. Keep in mind, most of the Gospels were written at least 60 years and more, after the death of Jesus.
The Garden of Gethsemane was near Jerusalem. It represents the struggle and sometimes the suffering we go through in the process of eliminating old consciousness and entering into the new. This happens to us when Truth is realized as the one reality. In Jesus’ case, the Truth of His pending death caused suffering, but His acceptance of “God’s Will” is, in the end, what we all come to.
Yes, we have free will, as did Jesus. And sometimes we use that free will and do whatever we wish to do. I certainly have, sometimes to my own and others detriment.
But, eventually, we all end up choosing God’s Will. In the end, eventually, we discover that, the answer is Love. Loving. And as we let that love flow through us, our life changes.
Oh, we still have human desires. We still wish ‘the cup could pass.’ But we eventually know, that the road we must travel is the one before us, as did Jesus.
Did Jesus and Judas have a plan? Should we be vilifying Judas still, today? I don’t think we should. I think it was all part of the plan. How else could Jesus have been martyred? I believe it was a contract made before birth to put everything in its place.
Did Judas have a choice? OF COURSE! We all do. But in the end, we all end up at the same place. Doing the will of Spirit. Learning our lessons. Becoming awakened beings.
In the Garden, Jesus prays for strength for what must come for him. We have all had instances when we may dread something we feel we need to do. It may be a conversation that must happen, or choosing to end a relationship, maybe making a choice about healthcare for yourself or a loved one.
This was the case for Jesus and is the case in every moment of our life, when we realize that whatever we’re going through, we are not to shirk from any situation or circumstance that seems to overwhelm us. It is in such moments we are to remember who we are spiritually—we are spiritually made in the image and likeness of God. When we see from this vantage point, we will stand and say “For this purpose we were born.”
When we ‘know what is ours to do’ and do not do it. Could that be “missing the mark?” An interesting question.
Our choices may seem simple compared to what lies before Jesus. But He gives us a very good example of what to do when we are faced with a choice that lies heavy upon us…Pray. Close off the outside world with all its chaos and get quiet, and LISTEN. The guidance we all long for is there.
And Jesus finds it and the strength he needs to continue.
Since he was in constant communion with the presence of God, when seeming betrayal in the form of Judas took place, Jesus was ready. Note: it was a seeming betrayal. Judas is often unjustly maligned. But without Judas sacrificing himself, Jesus would not be remembered today. Sacrifice means to make sacred. Judas is often condemned as the one who loved Jesus the least. In fact, he may have been one who loved him more than anyone. He served as the catalyst for the glad surprise of the resurrection to take place.
So Judas’ kiss, I think, means something. It was a way to identify Jesus to the soldiers that were there to arrest Him, but I think maybe more than that.
When we meet up with someone we care about, we greet them with a smile, a hug and sometimes a kiss. I think it may be that Judas loved Jesus very much and he made sure Jesus knew that, even under these extreme circumstances.
It’s a thought.
One of the interpretations of the Last Supper has the question, “Is it me?” when the disciples learn that one is going to betray Jesus. And, in the end, they all deny Him or being with Him.
We know what is in our hearts. We don’t need to ask someone else for our truth. We may not want to hear or acknowledge it, but, deep down, we know. We really don’t need to ask, “Is it me?”
The readings say Satan enters Judas. That’s what is written in most Bibles. We do not become an angel or a devil in a moment. This makes me feel even more so, that it was part of THE plan. Remember, all this is according to the scriptures, that they be fulfilled.
AND, we in Unity do not recognize THE DEVIL. There is only one power, Good,
Jesus meets His fate, if you will, with no resistance. I believe He knew full well what lay ahead for Him. But He went through it all with head held high. Was it ‘fate’? Did He need to do this for soul development, our example from moving from caterpillar/human to butterfly/spiritual being? Could very well be so?
Keep in mind, when we read about the characters in the Bible, they represent something in or about us. The greatest value of the story is its spiritual rather than its historical significance—although there is some history in it.
Pontius Pilate symbolizes the external circumstances that at times seem to be overwhelming. Pilate thinks he has power over Jesus and asks him several questions. However, Jesus’ response is essentially that the power does not lie with Pontius Pilate, but with God. It didn’t matter what Pontius Pilate did, and ultimately he decided he didn’t want to be bothered, so washed his hands of the whole deal. Jesus in that moment was demonstrating that no situation, circumstance, or external authority figures had any power over him.
In your own life, you may be facing some kind of Pontius Pilate. There may be someone in your life who thinks they can control or manipulate you. You may have a boss who thinks he or she has the final say-so about your prosperity or happiness. People think that if they are in or out of your life, your joy is dependent upon them. You may have allowed them to think that. There may be all kinds of Pontius Pilates running around thinking that they have the final word on your life.
But having fully devoted yourself to God, you’ll say and do what you will; it does not matter. Whatever happens will pull the highest and best out of me because I’m going to sacrifice my littleness so my authentic Self will come through. A new birth is about to take place.
We all have crucifixions; without them there is no resurrection.
According to The Course in Miracles, the message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear:
‘Teach only love, for that is what you are.’
If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the ‘wrath of God’ as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.
To think of the crucifixion as a message to teach only love, rather than guilt, is beyond what many can imagine or live. It is so often used as a “weapon for assault” but it was a call for peace — not attack, not guilt. Think today of your thoughts about the cross or the common phrases you may say in conjunction with it, or the pain and guilt that it may represent. Change those thoughts to only love. Let go of the suffering.
The Easter story demonstrates that there is something within us that was here before we incarnated and remains after seeming death. Death is not the end of life, rather the continuation of the life process. Jesus proved this in the great demonstrations known as the resurrection and the ascension. Jesus’ essence was so spiritualized that he was able to say “the Father and I are one.” He was serving as a reminder that there is no separation between us and Spirit. It is the recognition that there is only God; all else is just an illusion.
Resurrection follows crucifixion. No life escapes this process. The Easter story is about an old way being crucified so something new can be born. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. When someone experiences a divorce, the death of a partner, loses a job, or experiences a shift in external circumstances, an old identity dies so a new one can be born.
We look to Jesus as a model for how to resurrect from our own crucifixion experiences. The Easter story is a reminder that no matter what seems to happen to us, it does not have the final word. We can look beyond appearances and recognize that there is a divine plan unfolding. Our task is to hold on to that vision until our life bears witness to truth that liberates us and sets us free.
One of the greatest teaching of Jesus was how to be in this world but not of it. He taught love and so he forgave even those who killed him.
He is a great example, not a great exception. Let the cross symbolize this to us. A reminder that even though, metaphysically, the horizontal bar of the cross represents our state of mind with its erroneous beliefs, the vertical bar represents the elevation of the Christ mind or Christ consciousness. They intersect, they are connected. As we are to the Christ consciousness within and all around us.