THOUGHTS ABOUT THE RESURRECTION

In a previous post I told about my time as an altar boy when I questioned this line from the Apostles Creed, “and I believe in the resurrection of the body….” It made no sense to me that billions of bodies could be resurrected. Where would they go? However, at that time I did not question Jesus’ resurrection. That came years later after my involvement with Seth and then the Course.

Jesus’ resurrection is fundamental to Christianity which is, no doubt, why Christian teachers often state.

If you don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead then you
can’t be a Christian.

In my Chapter, “The Crucifixion – Resurrection,” Variation III, of my book, There is,…another way: A Companion Guide To A Course in Miracles: Jesus’ Gift To Humanity, I discuss both issues. Following is a synopsis of the resurrection from that Chapter.

Jesus’ teaching in ACIM about both the crucifixion and resurrection differ from those of most Christians. Those concerning the crucifixion are presented in my previous post. In Text Chapter III, Section I, Atonement Without Sacrifice, Jesus sates that in order let go of fear due to changing our mind about our beliefs (a miracle), it is necessary to accept this.

.The crucifixion did not establish the Atonement [the course term for our return to God]: the resurrection did.

In Section I of T-3 Jesus teaches how common beliefs regarding the crucifixion and the resurrection are perceived incorrectly: primarily he emphasizes that the resurrection is more important than the crucifixion.

ACIM has no references to Jesus’ body emerging from a grave from death to immortal existence. Every discussion makes it clear that his resurrection was transformative. Jesus returned to his home in heaven. He knew that that transformation is, “the single desire of the Son for the Father.” [M-28.1.10]

Following are the last three sentences of paragraph 7 from The Manual Question 27, “What Is Death?” They prepare us for question 28.

And what is the end of death? Nothing but this; the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever. Nothing but this. But do not let yourself forget that is it not less than this.

Now to Question 28.   What is the resurrection?

Very simply, the resurrection is the overcoming or surmounting of death. It is a reawakening or a rebirth; a change of mind [a miracle] about the meaning of the world. (my emphasis)

With these words from ACIM Jesus teaches us a mighty lesson. His body, as defined in the “Clarification of Terms,” was an illusion. But, since bodies are illusions, why would he restore his into mortality?

The following prayer, which concludes the fifth section of the Clarification of Terms, “Jesus – Christ,” summarizes Course teaching about the resurrection.

There is no death because the Son of God is like his Father. Nothing you can do can change eternal love.

Forget your dreams of sin and guilt, and come with me to share the resurrection of God’s son.

And bring with you all those whom HE has sent to you to care for as I care for you. [C.5.9]

The first sentence of this prayer speaks to the truth of Heaven. The second is about leaving the separation and returning to Heaven. The third insists that we include our brothers/sisters in our return to Heaven.

Many people, and yes, some Christians, question Jesus’ bodily resurrection. J. D. Crossan and Bible scholar N.T. Wright published their discussions of this question in their book, The Resurrection of Jesus.  In it Wright and Crosson state their positions, discuss the issue together, present four essays, and then respond to each others essay. The book concludes with an appendix by Crossan, “Bodily-Resurrection Faith.”  In it he asks us to stop quarreling whether the resurrection of Jesus’ body is an historical fact, a metaphor, or a vision (a common belief in the first century CE). Crossan suggests…

Finally, to the extent that we Christians do not display an eschatological life of justice-as-the-body-of-love and love-as-the-soul-of-justice, we lose the right to speak of Christ’s earthly resurrection and have at best a right to speak of his heavenly exaltation.

Crossan’s writings, and those of other biblical historians, with their extensive research, present compelling evidence showing us how early authors of the New Testament redacted the stories of Jesus’ life in order to promote their version of Jesus’ life and message.

Jesus corrects those distortions in his Course. He gives us a hopeful vision by teaching us to focus on the resurrection with a broad and gentle view. We can accept his teaching in, “What is The Resurrection?” (Notice that the question is in the present tense). We can participate in “The Resurrection” by using the above prayer from the “Clarification of Terms.

To end these two Easter writings I choose the following words which close the Clarification of Terms, and indeed A Course in Miracles: words which will always be helpful on Easter Sunday mornings.

Let us go out and meet the newborn world, knowing that Christ has been reborn in it, and that the holiness of this rebirth will last forever. We had lost our way but He has found it for us. Let us go and bid Him welcome Who returns to us to celebrate salvation and the end of all we thought we made. The morning star of this new day looks on a different world where God is welcomed and His Son with Him. We who complete Him offer thanks to Him, as He gives thanks to us. The Son is still, and in the quiet God has given him enters his home and is at peace at last.

* The Resurrection of Jesus: J.D. Crossan and N.T Wright in Dialogue, R. Stewart Ed. Minneapolis Augsburg Fortress Press, 2006.

Please visit my web site www.god-jesus-course-in-miracles.com.  If you are interested in my book about ACIM you can order it there

THOUGHTS ABOUT EASTER

It is so very helpful for me to turn to A Course in Miracles (ACIM) for Jesus’ thoughts about Easter. They differ dramatically from my childhood years.

I was raised as a Catholic in a small WASP village in the Southern Tier of New York State. One of my most dreaded and uncomfortable duties as an altar boy occurred during Holy Week carrying the Incense Burner attending Father C. doing the “Station of the Cross.” The 12 “Stations” plaster reliefs in our tiny church depicting Jesus’ journey to the cross were close together so there was just one step from one to the next. That denied me a short walk to stretch my legs. I knelled, handed the incense to Father, he swung it, handed it back, read the long prayer/story, I stood, took one step and again knelled. The hardwood floor there was cold during Holy Week.

In contrast in 1993 I walked the Villa Della Rosa in Jerusalem on a hot summer day. I chuckled as I passed by the almost unnoticeable “Stations” plaques along the way. The pizza signs there are more noticeable.

In The Historical Jesus, John D. Crossan discusses the New Testament Passion stories. On page 387 he writes,
That saga has, in painting and sculpture, in play and film, in explicit citation and implicit allusion, and in acceptance as well as rejection, become profoundly sedimented into the Western imagination. Narrative realism has become equated with historical accuracy.
(my emphasis)

Crossan carefully traces how and when the passion story was added to the New Testament Gospels. The disciples did not witness Jesus’ crucifixion. They did not witness his burial. They fled.

Crossan states clearly that Jesus was crucified. However, as they did with all victims of that cruel death, Roman soldiers dumped the bodies in common pits and guarded them so Jewish relatives could not claim the bodies.

Jesus’ teachings in the Course changed my view of Holy Week and Easter. The gruesome depictions of Jesus’ passion are not in his Course. Following are passages which give us a helpful account. They contain most of what Jesus teaches us about Easter in ACIM.

It is almost Easter, the time of resurrection. Let us give redemption to each other and share in it, that we may rise as one in resurrection, not separate in death. [T-19.IV.D,17]

Easter is not the celebration of the [cost] of sin, but of its [end.] If you see glimpses of the face of Christ behind the veil, looking between the snow-white petals of the lilies you have received and given as your gift, you will behold your brother’s face and recognize it. I was a stranger and you took me in, not knowing who I was. Yet for your gift of lilies you will know. In your forgiveness of this stranger, alien to you and yet your ancient Friend, lies his release and your redemption with him. The time of Easter is a time of joy, and not of mourning. Look on your risen Friend, and celebrate his holiness along with me. For Easter is the time of your salvation, along with mine. [T-2-I.4]

Your chosen home is on the other side, beyond the veil. It has been carefully prepared for you, and it is ready to receive you now. You will not see it with the body’s eyes. Yet all you need you have. Your home has called to you since time began, nor have you ever failed entirely to hear. You heard, but knew not how to look, nor where. And now you know. In you the knowledge lies, ready to be unveiled and freed from all the terror that kept it hidden. There [is] no fear in love. The song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified. Let us lift up our eyes together, not in fear but faith. And there will be no fear in us, for in our vision will be no illusions; only a pathway to the open door of Heaven, the home we share in quietness and where we live in gentleness and peace, as one together. [T-20.II.8]  (all bold my emphasis)

WHY DO WE DO WHAT WE DO?

Why do we humans fight among ourselves over religion?   Rabbi Donniel Hartman in his recent book, Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself (Beacon Press 2016), has a compelling theory.   In an Article in Salon Mar. 2 2016, he asserts,

…monotheism’s autoimmune system disease is that God’s presence…often distracts religion’s adherents form their traditional moral truths.

Hartman explains that Christians, Jews and Muslims focus so strongly on feeling God’s presence within them that they forget basic morals which imbue their religion. Focusing on God’s presence leads to self- righteous thinking which then leads to violent behavior towards other religions.

Jesus in A Course in Miracles Course teaches us a simple but profound lesson which relieves Course students from Hartman’s “autoimmune system disease.” God has nothing to do with the world. Therefore, because God is not in this world, it does not make sense to focus on his presence here.

In my previous post I included the Course definition of “The World” from the Clarification of Terms, Section IV, True Perception–Knowledge.

The world you see is an illusion of a world. 2 God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. (my emphasis)

God cannot be “present” in an illusion.

Also in my previous post I include the definition of Mind-Spirit. Following are the first sentences of sections 3,4,6 &7, and sentence two from section 5. They explain that our mind split, and that the Holy Spirit helps us in

     MIND–SPIRIT

C-1.3. Spirit is the part that is still in contact with God through the Holy Spirit, Who abides in this part but sees the other part as well.

C-1.4. The other part of the mind is entirely illusory and makes only illusions.

C-1.5. The mind can be right or wrong, depending on the voice to which it listens. 2 [Right-mindedness] listens to the Holy Spirit, forgives the world, and through Christ’s vision sees the real world in its place.

C-1.6. [Wrong-mindedness] listens to the ego and makes illusions; perceiving sin and justifying anger, and seeing guilt, disease and death as real.

C-1.7. In this world the only remaining freedom is the freedom of choice; always between two choices or two voices.  [C-1.3] When the separation of the Son of God’s mind from God seemed to occur the son’s mind split with spirit remaining with God. [C-1.4] The split off part made illusions. [C-1.5] The son’s mind then split into the right and wrong mind. [C-1.6] The right mind listens to the Holy Spirit and the wrong mind listens to the ego. C-1.7 speaks to the Course position on free will.

Course metaphysics negates Hartman’s monotheistic “auto-immune system disease” because we, with our split mind inhabit an illusory world in which God has no part.  We are, as spirit, in Heaven as part of the Mind of God.

Ken Wapnick in Chapter Two, “The Separation from God in,” “All are Called,
the First Volume of his, “ The Message of a Course in Miracles,” (Article in Salon Mar.6. 16), explains completely how our split mind occurred. Reading his explanation is best. But absent that, here is my summary.

God’s one Son considered a, “…tiny mad idea,” that there could be something other than the bliss of heavenly oneness with God.  In that seeming instant God placed the Holy Spirit in the Son’s split mind. That part then split into the right mind, thorough which the Holy Spirit could access God, and the wrong mind of the ego that made the illusion of our body and the world.

Humans can also follow the Golden Rule to overcome Hartman’s theory.  Jesus refers to it early the text this way.

You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive so shall you behave. The Golden Rule asks you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This means that the perception of both must be accurate. The Golden Rule is the rule for appropriate behavior. You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly. Since you and your neighbor are equal members of one family, as you perceive both so you will do to both. You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others. [T-III-VI]

Rabbi Hartman set the problem. Thousands of years ago great moralists, Jesus included, gave humanity a way to solve the problem Hartman brings to light. As best we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help to listen to our right mind, let’s follow the Golden Rule.

Nothing is The Same

I’m reading David Wootton’s, The Invention of Science; A New History of the Scientific Revolution. In one of his early Chapter’s, Discovery, he focuses on how the world view of humans changed after 1492 because Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and discovered a small island on the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea.

Until then the word “discover” existed only in Portuguese, and only hints of the concept were found in other European languages. Up until 1492 the world view of most scholars was fixed, because they accepted Aristotelian teachings. Columbus’ discovery of new land far beyond the horizon shattered their beliefs. Language acquired a new word, a new dimension and mankind thought differently. The discovery of a “new world” brought about a linguistic transformation. “There is nothing new under the sun,” became “what can we discover next?”

A Course in Miracles did the same for spirituality. These lyrics, from one of my favorite Barbara Streisand songs, express the idea.

He touched me. He put his hand near mine and he touched me. And nothing, nothing, nothing, will ever be the same.

Jesus touched ACIM’s scribe Helen Shucman’s mind, so now nothing, nothing, nothing, will ever be the same. We all can now access Jesus’ answers to the important age-old questions.

Why are we here? We’re not! We seem to be here but it is an illusion. We are all, as spirit, God’s eternal Son at home in Heaven.

Where are we going? As spirit, we’re not going anywhere. The split off part of our ego-centered mind accepts the illusion so we think we’re here.

ACIM teaches us how to accept that concept; to get beyond our serious adherence to what some call “the brute fact” of the phenomenal universe.To help us to understand Jesus’ teaching we need to understand how ACIM uses words and language differently; in particular these words; mind- spirit, Jesus-Christ, and world.     Following are their definitions from the Course Clarification of Terms.

                                                                     Mind

The term [mind] is used to represent the activating agent of spirit, supplying its creative energy. When the term is capitalized it refers to God or Christ (ie, the Mind of God or the Mind of Christ). [Spirit] is the Thought of God which He created like Himself. The unified spirit is God’s one Son, or Christ. [C-I.1-3] (my emphasis)

          Jesus- Christ
The name of [Jesus] is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with [Christ], a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do. [C-5.1-3]

Is he the Christ? O yes, along with you. His little life on earth was not enough to teach the mighty lesson that he learned for all of you. Forgive him your illusions, and behold how dear a brother he would be to you. For he will set your mind at rest at last and carry it with you unto your God. [C-5.5.1+8-9] (my emphasis)

 World
The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself.
[C-4.1-2] (my emphasis)

There are many and various definitions of world, Jesus-Christ and mind which differ from ACIM’s.  Neuro Scientist Antonio Demasio in, Descartes’s Error, defines mind as follows.

My view is that having a mind means that an organism forms neural representations which can become images, be manipulated in a process called thought, and eventually influence behavior by helping predict the future, plan accordingly, and chose the next action.” [Damasio. P 90]

From my perspective as a Course student the above definition describes intelligence. Science, as far as I have discovered, has no definition of mind like ACIM’s, and theological definitions obviously differ from ACIM.

Nothing is the same as the Course.

Ken Wapnick, during his many workshops and seminars almost always said,

“The Course is all about Mind.”

How does this help us in our daily living?
Remember; Mind is spirit. We are all united as spirit with Jesus as the Christ.

No matter how we cope with our illusions here — we are still and will ever be at home with God in Heaven.