Words from the Heart
While in the hospital, I met a true sister in the Father’s kingdom who said when thanked for her careful work, “I not only treat others as I would like to be treated, but also as they would like to be treated, no matter their color, culture, or belief.” Now, doesn’t that sound like something the Father would do and say? His patient and endless presence in and among us was made obvious to me by this humble black lady doing what she loves to do. I need to also add that the Father will never leave us or forsake us, not even in death! This was also the ethic of the Galilean peasant. It is our primary purpose in life to be like the Father as much as we can in all that we do. Just that simple!
The “afterlife?” Nothing dependable said about it. Details would boggle the mind anyhow. Difficult enough to learn our Father’s simple ways for loving others in the here and now. Just forget about that and let it be his super surprise!
I even dare to say with the Galilean that all the other religious trappings, beliefs, confessions, and rituals are totally superfluous to that simple ethic! But then, that’s what really upset the Jewish religious leaders and ultimately got the Galilean unjustly murdered for possibly leading yet another rebellion against Rome. What nonsense!
And then Paul added even more nonsense with his desert “visions” by misrepresenting our loving Father and saying that this was a redeeming blood retaliation payment conceived by some vengeful sky-god for our salvation. Worse, Paul adds the fearful threat that there will be hell to pay for not believing this. And then he has the arrogance to say that his words are God-inspired too, just like the Jewish OT Torah he was a Doctoral student of BS!
Paul’s words about a “Christ” were totally opposite of the Galilean’s comforting words and resulting ethic. Pay attention to the Galilean’s words. Do not replace his words with his person and life. It is not the life and death of a man that can change our prodigal ways. But his amazingly comforting words about a patient, loving, compassionate, endlessly forgiving and ever-present generous Father can bring about change among us. This is the true gospel – words from our Father, NOT the words of writer/theologians one and two generations after Jerusalem’s destruction, writers who had bought into Paul’s Christology, and who used hearsay stories about the life of the Galilean for their narratives.
Fortunately, the writers did include a few of Jesus’ original sayings and parables that try to teach us what our Father is really like (See Matt 5:38-48). Unfortunately, they are nearly lost among all the other words that the writers put into Jesus’ mouth. It’s like searching for gems among a huge weed patch. Just do not be afraid to throw out words of retaliation like Jesus did, like “an eye for an eye.” Jesus spoke only of our Father’s comforting unconditional love for all his sons and daughters in the Father’s kingdom of the here and now. Any other threatening words are not the Father’s words at all.
This has been long, but it comes from my soul to you, my friends.