So what was Jeshua’s message and how does it compare to the message of Christianity?
Imagine two fish (George and Emma) are swimming in the ocean. George swims up to Emma. George says, “My friends are telling me about this thing called water. They say I should believe the right things about it. But I don’t know if I even believe in it.” Emma responds with a calm, loving look in her eyes, “George you’re in it. It’s all around you and within you. You’re One with it. We all are. You ARE it. You can’t not be!”
The Christian Church has a checkered history. It has loved and helped countless people. I’ve personally had the opportunity to witness the Church offering comfort, hope, compassion, and community over and over again. It has tirelessly worked for social justice, reaching out to the poor, homeless, and marginalized. Many hospitals got their start in the Church. It is full of gifted and kind people. To have been a part of all that has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.
It is also true that much of the Church has been on the wrong side of crucial issues like slavery, race, and has inflicted great pain on the LGBTQ community. It has denied women (to its own detriment) their gifts and leadership. Thankfully that has changed in some Church traditions in my lifetime.
It has also spent much of its time in the position of George’s friends. Focusing on “saving” people with the right beliefs and information about a God who is separate from them, while the teachings of Jesus were always about putting people in the position of being an Emma. To put it another way, the Church has been trying to raise Georges. Making it all about Jesus and his divinity as THE Son of God. Teaching it’s people to believe the right things about Jesus so you go to heaven when you die. While Jesus was/is about trying to raise up the Emma already within us all.
If I were to put the essence of what Jeshua actually taught and lived in one sentence it would be: to know and live from OUR INHERENT Oneness with the Divine within us and within everything.
Another way to put it would be to live from the truth of YOUR Being as Divine love and peace. He was pointing to something well beyond believing this as information. He was pointing to becoming aware of what knows this to be True in the depths of your Being, and then living from that energy of knowing. He was about nothing less than a transformation of consciousness (awareness).
Does it really transform anyone to believe things about someone else ? Does it really bring anyone home to the Truth of their own essence (Divine Love), when you only believe that to be true about Jesus?
In contrast, the traditional message of Christianity has been that human sin has caused a separation between God and humans. Jesus came to overcome that separation by dying on the cross so God could forgive humans. Jesus in this way acted as a kind of bridge between God and humans.
When in fact Jesus’ desire is for us to be conscious (aware) that there has never has been any separation. Separation is impossible given the nature of True reality. Humans can certainly experience the illusion of separation from God, but that is a result of the illusions the human ego creates. The ego is that part of us that sees everything as separate and therefore lives from the energy of fear.
Oneness with God is inherent. Not an accomplishment through believing the right things, by baptism, or any other religious hoops that the Church has told us must be jumped through.
It is extremely sad to me that the Church has virtually ignored our own Divinity. In the gospel of John, chapter 10, religous leaders are giving Jesus a hard time for saying, “The Father and I are one.” He says to them, “why are you resisting this so much? Don’t your own scriptures say “you are gods?” (quoting from Psalm 82:6.)
You will never hear this story talked about in a mainline Christian Church. The mainline churches share what’s called a Common Lectionary. Scripture readings are selected for 3 years and that’s what preachers preach about. The Common Lectionary stops right before this story and starts up again after it. I can’t over state the significance of that!
One important starting point in understanding the message of Jesus is the fact that he spoke and taught in Aramaic. He did this because Aramaic was the language of the common people of his time. As with anyone, there is no better way to understand what someone is saying than in their own language and culture.
***Sidenote*** When I gave my first talk at Echo’s previous Center on Chicago Avenue, Echo saw Jesus come and stand to my left. He had a big smile on his face and he was hearing me in Aramaic.
I’m sure many of you have heard at some point what the Church calls the Lord’s Prayer. The “Our Father who art in heaven…” I’ll say more about this and other teachings of Jeshua in Aramaic in later columns. For now it’s important to know that there was a custom at the time of Jesus that rabbis/teachers would at some point summarize the essence of their teachings in one prayer.
There’s this scene in John Chapter 11 of the New Testament of the Bible where Jesus’ disciples say to him, “Teach us to pray as John (the Baptist) taught his disciples to pray.” In other words, “when are you going to give us what John gave his disciples?” So Jesus offers the essence of his teachings and says, “When you pray, pray like this, “Our Father who art in heaven…”
In the English translation it’s easy to think we are being taught to pray to a God who is separate from us, and up in a distant heaven. But Jesus was always trying to return people to THE central Truth. A translation of the Aramaic Abwoon Washmaya (Our Father who art in heaven), reads “O Birther, Father and Mother of the universe. You birth all things in Unity. Your One light, breath, and vibration flows in all that moves and changes.”
Now I ask you, how does that hit your soul? Listen to it right now. What is it saying to you?
Do you see the radical difference this one teaching makes?! IT’S EVERYTHING! In Aramaic the word for God is Alaha, which means the One or the Oneness. Jesus is always telling us to return to the One or the Oneness of all things. You, me, all living things inherently have the One energy flowing and vibrating within us.
Traditional, Orthodox Christianity has portrayed God as a seperate Being from humans and creation. God is not a separate Being off in a far off heaven. God is BEING, itself! God (the great I AM, Exodus 3:14) is the AMNESS or ISNESS of life.
Jesus was giving Emma’s message, “You’re already in the water, came from the water, and are made of the water. So much so that YOU ARE IT! You are Divine in your essence. Live from there.”
There are no religious (or any other kind of) hoops we need to jump through. We’re already there! The issue is our awareness of it. In other words can our innate knowing of this Truth break into our consciousness so that we remember who and what we are? How wonderful to grow into those moments when we live from that place!
I welcome your questions or comments about the Church, your experiences within it, the Bible, Christianity, or anything else stirring within you.
You are swimming in the One,