Rev. David McArthur
My Jesus, Part I
It’s ok to ask questions regarding the Bible. That “take it on faith” stuff makes me feel like they just didn’t know. Let’s start with the God thought. A very primitive people tried to make sense of their world. (This isn’t necessarily Unity.) They told stories about their questions and discoveries. They put God “out there” in the biggest thing they could see—the heavens. With Jesus, they had to figure a way for God to be down here—the virgin birth! It’s not a new idea (Horace, Dionysus, Krishna, Buddha, Quetzalcoatl). And then they had to get God back “up there”. (The resurrection and ascension.)
Let’s throw out everything that doesn’t make sense. Let’s pretend that Jesus is not God coming to Earth, but just a guy, a precocious Jewish boy. When people experienced him, they were touched and changed and talked of something “greater”. He didn’t see Jew/Gentile, but taught all people (even the Samaritan) inclusion, not exclusion; love, not rejection. He treated women as intelligent beings of value. But even without a single miracle, He touched the God thought.
Episcopalian Bishop Spong says how foolish we are to take the Bible literally. When we can see who we really are, we see the meaning of all life, the source of being, the God thought, seen when one has the courage to be, and not seen as separate. Jesus revealed God, and whenever God is seen in life, it is called Christ. He never said, “I healed you.” He said, “Your faith has healed you.” The magnificent law. No divine intervention. But through the beautiful laws we can be freed from where we are to be where we can be.
Walk on water? What really happened there nobody knows. Resurrection? It has nothing to do with the body. That primitive culture told stories of symbol and meaning. They were a context oriented culture. Our culture is content oriented. In the story of Lazarus they talked of life instead of death. Jesus arrived after four days and the stories they shared brought Lazarus alive in their hearts. In Jesus’ resurrection the disciples shared what He meant to them and the change He brought alive in them—an understanding of love that even today touches me. Unwilling to speak of a God “up there”, I speak of something that was so full of life it is alive today. It helps me to know the God in what I see in front of me. I put all else away except the God I see alive in front of me!