Monday, May 23, 2005

Meditation for Day of Recollection, May 21, 2005

(How Organized Religion Misses the Message of Jesus)

Then Jesus took his disciples up the mountain and gathering them around him, taught them saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are the meek...
Blessed are the merciful...
Blessed are they that thirst for justice...
Blessed are you when persecuted...
Blessed are you when you suffer...
Be glad and rejoice for your reward is great in heaven...

Then Simon Peter said, "Are we supposed to know this?"
And Andrew said, "Do we have to write this down?"
And James said, "Do we have to show our work?"
And Philip said, "May I go to the washroom?"
And Bartholomew said, "Do we have to hand this in?"
And John said, "The other disciples didn't have to learn this."
And Matthew said, "I don't have any paper."
And Thomas said, "Will we have a test on this?"
And Judas said, "What does this have to do with real life?"

And Jesus wept...

They asked him about his tears. He said “oh my children, I have been with you all this long, and you still do not understand?”
So like a good teacher, who knows that repetition is necessary, on another occasion, not on the mountain, but in a level place according to Luke (chapter 6) , he addressed them and shaped the message differently so maybe they could hear it this time.

Happy are you poor, for the Kingdom of heaven is yours.
Happy are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
Happy are you who weep now, for you will laugh,
Happy are you when men hate you and reject and insult you...
How terrible for you who are rich now; you have had your easy life.
How terrible for you who are full now, you will go hungry.
How terrible for you who laugh now, you will mourn and weep
Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.
Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you....

And Peter said, Let’s build three tents here so your glory can be manifest.
And Jesus said to Peter: Get behind me Satan, you still do not understand.
And Jesus Wept again, and determined to speak only in parables.

Then the church came, and within a few hundred years,
what they all remembered was that he was born of a virgin, suffered, died and rose again.
They decided that believing in those articles of faith was redemptive and saving.

Jesus came and preached the gospel, the church came and preached Jesus.

And Jesus still weeps, because church is not what he intended. Organized religion, creeds and codes are not what he wanted. He never said “ Go to church on Sunday.”

He never preached himself, yet many today preach Jesus.
“It is not about me,” he would say.
It is about loving God and our neighbor as oneself.

It is not about judgment, but about loving.
My people, too many of them, use their faith as a means of judging others.
You use my memory to abuse others, persecute others?
What a terrible perversion this is.
“Do you think I wanted belief in me to be used to judge others as further from God?
“How can you use your view of my Word, or the Prophet to kill or abuse one another?

“I promised heaven only to those who loved others, totally and completely, as I have. Namely those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, visit the sick and those in jail.

“I also promised hell to those who don’t do these things. See my words quoted in Matthew 25.

How many believers are made sure, feel guaranteed by their participation in churchy things? As if singing and preaching and public praying saved anyone?

“Where today shall I find my true followers? “