Thursday, October 9, 2008

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, Oct 10, 2008

….. the king was killed after a term of seven years, or, if the crops or prosperity
of the herds failed before that term, even earlier ….. The king was strangled
and buried with a living virgin at his side. And, when the two bodies had rotted,
their bones were gathered into the hide of a bull. A year later the new king was
named, and on the predecessor's grave, cattle were speared to death by the hundred.

- “Primitive Mythology”, Joseph Campbell, speaking of ancient
Sudanese practice

To make sure that the crops grew to feed the people, and that the cattle multiplied. To “preserve” the people. To “save” the people. The King Must Die.

I am in awe of human beings. Of their imagination. Of their “understanding” that the Supreme Leader was responsible for the preservation of Life. You see it in every religion and “faith”. Sometimes it is acted out – either in ancient times or even now! – sometimes literally, sometimes symbolically. Does it surprise you that Christianity has a “myth” of a “king” being put to death on a cross so that “the people may live”?? So that Life will go on?? Let’s not be stupid here. Human beings have pondered the question of how Life is preserved for millennia. There is no culture that has not produced some method of expressing how Life is preserved. Human beings millennia ago were no less intelligent that we are today.

Preserving Life. This is what the Cross is about. Human beings are basically of an “animal” nature. But we (so says the Bible) are destined for a “spiritual” nature, i.e., “mature” humanity. Jesus chooses the Cross in order to be faithful to the Path which He knows leads to unity with all that “God” is and we are meant to be. He renounces an identity based on “earthly” values and chooses an identity based on Divine character/nature.

Folks, this is the path to Glory. To Joy. To contentment. To Peace. To Freedom. At His baptism, Jesus understands that He is One with God. He is challenged, tempted, to renounce this path. He struggles, but He refuses. He dies ….. but is given the gift of Life.

This is the Way, folks. Though we die, yet shall we live. The Paradox, the Mystery. No matter if it eludes the mind. We live from the intimations of the Heart.


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