Good News that Liberates
The Galilean sage taught and lived his insight of the “kingdom” of the Father. It offended the religious folks in his audience, but it was a comforting message to those who were not so religious, including the immoral people among them. Joshua invited them to join him at the dinner table of all things! The good religious people called them “sinners” not only because of their immoral lives but especially because they did not participate in the rituals of the temple worship, nor did they practice an exclusive behavior toward outsiders.
What was this message of the “kingdom” of the Father? It was not unlike the message of the Old Testament prophets who spoke of the Father-God’s mercy without sacrifice, accepting and coming to the aid of the fatherless, the widow, and the stranger among them at no cost to them. It was treating others as they would like to be treated. (Not just as you would like it, but as they would like it.) It meant loving them rather than paying them back or getting even with them. It meant forgiving those who caused you harm – over and over again – until they finally stop their behavior! It meant imaging the Father's way of justice.
This is not as difficult as it first seems because the Father already placed his consciousness into humans when they were called out of muddy clay. This is what set humans apart from other creatures. Humans are free to actually mirror the Father's greatest attributes of unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness for unloving choices made by others. It was an amazing act of love to take this risk. It turns out that when humans make the unloving choice, such choices only make the better loving choices shine all that much brighter. Because loving choices are so beneficial to all, and harm no one, humans can learn from their mistakes and choose better ways in the future. Children learn this faster than adults.
This message called religion into question. It even called the authenticity of the scriptures as being the very word of God into question (such as an “eye for an eye” or many other scriptures speaking of an angry sky-god destroying enemies, even the Babylonian idea of an end-time judgment and apocalypse which had crept into Judaism after their captivity). It called the need for a mediator into question and it called religious rituals into question. It set humans free to be humane toward each other. It put an end to the need of appeasingan angry sky-god, and it abolished the fall and hell mythology. Instead, it taught the presence of the generous Creator-Father among us, revealed in sometimes insignificant but unconditional loving acts between humans. Little wonder that this message was so scandalous to the religious mindset. It was indeed offensive to such thinking, and it still is, especially because it threatens the payback punishment myth and the further existenceof an authoritative religious force among mankind. It required some hard rethinking. It meant moving on to something much better than the harmful, exclusive and inhumanbehavior while under an old payback justice system. No wonder that the religious leadership called out for the Galilean's death! Everything they stood for was being questioned by the generous message of an accepting, forgiving presence of a Father-God, a presence which released humanity’s fears and encouraged the best in them to shine.
Coming to know the presence of this greater consciousness and practicing it is what life is all about. Freely offering the Father’s generous acceptance to all, without conditions, and enjoying their surprised, thankful, and relieved response can really make your day. It is overwhelming to experience it, especially when they finally understand that they are not in your debt for freely offering it to them! Jesus thrived on this. One could say that he killed bad behavior with kindness. He even offered the Father’s acceptance and forgiveness to those who were still ignorant of it right up to his last breath.
That the good followers of Joshua ben Adam ["Jesus son of man" - adamah in Hebrew is the equivalent of humus in English - from which the word human derives, human means of the earth -AK], who were so terribly disappointed by his early demise, returned to the old payback justice and sacrificial ideas in an attempt to explain the horrible injustice that they witnessed is not surprising. They merely redefined them by making Jesus the lamb and his blood the “perfect” payment that bought and paid for their salvation. They may not have intended to do so, but they actually turned Jesus’ comforting message of the Father’s presence into a lie. That is, they turned it into a conditional message. For all of Paul's writing about the Law (religion of the Torah) being a burden too great for humanity to carry, he too overlooked Jesus' message and invented a new religion that was built around a "Christ." They all finally concluded that we must depend upon the bloody payment of a mere Galilean sage who had insisted that he was only the "son of man," the human one, and no more. The follower's conditional message of "faith" ("believe in Christ and his bloody payment for us") instead of trusting the unconditional (no ifs) acceptance and forgiveness of the Father from the beginning of humanity’s existence is what made their message so different and iffy when compared to the message of the historical Jesus.
Unfortunately, Jesus' comforting message of our generous Father’s “kingdom” turned loose within humanity has also been overlooked for two thousand years by the organized church. The result is that millions of humans still long for a comforting message to relieve their oppressive fears of death and an apocalyptic judgment. And faithful believers harbor similar fears as those while worrying whether their "faith" will meet the high standards of their Christ when he returns as their Lord and Judge. Others depress by thinking that all they have is this life and then you die. Nothing more.
The “pearl of great price” is our consciousness of the Father’s accepting presence in us. Knowing that his unconditional love and forgiveness continues to dwell in us makes it possible for us to be unconditionally human toward each other. It releases us from our fears and turns us loose to explore our individual interests as gifts to benefit humanity. We can enjoy making things better than we found them. And we can join in celebrating this freedom with all humanity. We can be accepting and inclusive and merciful and patient while understanding that those who may be offended by this message just do not know yet.
This is it. Individual humans are at their own place in their journey. Some are on track with grasping and imaging this unconditional love and others are off track while many others are still all over the place. But all are the Father’s children, his sons and his daughters, and all are worthy of acceptance for that reason alone. Children of the Father are not just the “believers” in some religious system. Always remember that.
The Father has even more surprises waiting for all of us. Yes, his acceptance of all may be scandalous to many who are very religious, but who are we prodigal mud puppies to question his generous unconditional loving ways? Therefore, while we mirror his ways (his image) as best we can, here and now, we can also anticipate and dream of his surprising reality beyond the death that we all must go through as part of this natural existence. No fear! Death is nothing but a door that opens wide to something better as we approach it – something we cannot begin to describe! Those who have had a near death experience know exactly what I mean.
In the meantime, let us be about the Father’s business of justice as practiced in this natural existence, that is, being generous with unconditional acceptance and forgiveness for all. It is liberating!