poem: prepare to be interrupted by God today
take a break from the 10,000,000 things that distract us
see the Universal Cosmic Christ by whatever name in the stranger, other, oppressed
especially those making us the most uncomfortable in our privilege
allow the truth, beauty, and goodness that surround us to act in mercy, radical grace, and radical love
turn so that hearts are opened minds transformed and spirits lifted up
and so this shall be the new way that God is always with us all in the mutuality of giving and receiving
Herb Stone here&now working poetry April 20, 2021
Reflection: The inside out and upside down ministry of Jesus, the Universal Cosmic Christ (by whatever name) and my prayer to be with those on the margins as God calls me
( I originally wrote the reflection below several years ago as I underwent a particularly challenging realization with the institutional church of which I was a congregant eventually resulting in my departing the church for what for me is a much more meaningful spiritual life centered in celebrating the gifts of all spiritual traditions and being grounded in the evolution of True Self (discipleship) and belonging together in authentic communities (the kingdom or kin-dom). My relationship with the Divine Cosmic Will (God by whatever name) has never been stronger.)
My increasing awareness, especially now in my life, is that Jesus is always with the outsider and outcast who suffers and hurts for the world and shares the pain of others.
Jesus leaves the institutional worship place, sometimes in anger, as we see in the Temple story of the ‘den of robbers,’ to be with those who are on the outside and who just can’t cut it in those places anymore. I think of this as the spirituality of imperfection. Certainly we all are united in our imperfections.
In Jesus going out to these outsiders, he, of course, takes leave of those who are arrogant and prideful and all knowing and thusly, the insiders of the worship place’s, with their dominant cultural traditions and hierarchical hegemony. These insiders are, of course, generally those leaders in power and control, officially or otherwise.
Other good and innocent souls linger there as well perhaps holding onto the law and its rules of right and wrong not having yet experienced the truth, beauty, and goodness of our shared suffering and wounds and imperfections.
God send me into the messiness of this world with the imperfect souls such as myself so that we might commune together in the dark shadows and light spirits as your Beloved children through grace, love, mercy, justice, peace, and hope!
It is relatively easy for most of us to believe in Jesus as a sweet babe in the manger and to dwell on this peaceful image. However, Jesus matures and later resists the Empire’s Kings and Caesars and their oppression and social injustices. This mature rebel Jesus can be much more difficult for many to accept.
Jesus’ entire birth, life, death, and resurrection were in resistance to the ways of this worldly Imperialistic Empire, and its systems of power, control, domination, and violence.
Jesus, and his family, were under the Empire’s suffocating control from the moment of his birth on the dirt floor of that animal stall with only some straw as a blanket. They had traveled to Bethlehem for the King’s census so the King could know all that he possessed, controlled, and dominated in his Empire. Then they had to suddenly flee to Egypt to escape the King’s infanticide which was an effort to kill the baby Jesus to eliminate his threat to the Empire.
Jesus’ entire adult ministry was in resistance to the contemporary religious and political powers of that time that imposed the letter of the law and not it’s spirit thereby oppressing and marginalizing all the common people of that time and place in often the most cruel ways.
Jesus’ radical resistance was his Good News of the kingdom of God, and its’ alternative community, grounded in grace, love, mercy, distributive justice, peace, and hope! At this time, oppressed people were clamoring for a Messiah who would be their King and vanquish the worldly Empire of the Kings and Emperors. The authorities were afraid that Jesus might be this ‘King of the people’ that they were waiting for and thus saw him as a threat leading to his being constantly under the suspicion and surveillance of the authorities and ultimately resulting in his cruel crucifixion on the cross.
At the time of his coming before the authorities and being crucified, because Jesus had not violently destroyed the kings and their Empires but rather demonstrated peaceful resistance, he was mocked, spat on, scourged, whipped, stripped, denied, abandoned, and killed in the most cruel way possible by the Empire, its religious collaborators, and those same people who called him Messiah.
Because the Cosmic Christ, the savior and hope of the world, never stops resisting the evil Empires of this world and never stops calling for the peaceful, diverse, inclusive neighborly community of God’s kin-dom, we must never stop witnessing and resisting the contemporary Empire of today’s world where we now live and are all still pawns in the oppressor’s control and domination.
This Advent, be a witness and resist the ways of this world, its’ Empires, and their systems of domination which separate us from God! It is the Christ-like thing to do all year long.