This time of year, I can't help but notice how far much of Christianity has deviated from the teaching of Christ. Instead of seeing Christ in the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, Christians have externalized Christ into idol of worship. This externalization of Christ as the only Son of God, a divine persona in unity with God but separate from us is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught according to the Gospels.
I recently asked in a post simply, "What is aware?" A Christian friend, to my surprise, seemed to indicate that it is the Holy Spirit that is aware and asked me what my experience of the Holy Spirit is, which prompted the following reply.
"My experience of the Holy Spirit is as Presence and as Providence. When Jesus said the Holy Spirit would always be with us as Comforter, he was absolutely right. Where modern Christianity has gone wrong is they have externalized the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, which are symbols of complete unity of absolute and relative awareness. This awareness is not separate, was never separate and can never be separate from the present moment. Surrendering to God is surrendering to the Divine Presence that can only be in the here and now. Resting in this Divine Presence is the Oneness that Jesus welcomed us all to share in the Gospel of John. It's the Kingdom of Heaven buried in a field, that once found, we let go of everything to own that field. The field is pure awareness, right here, right now. Once one sees that, the words of Jesus begin to make complete sense. Bread and wine are the body and blood of Jesus Christ because he was in unity with all creation, with no sense of separation. Loving neighbor as self is easy when you see there is no separate self and therefore, no separation. We are all one, even as Jesus and the Father are one. This is exactly what Jesus called us to discover in the Gospel of John."
My friend then asked what I meant by "externalized." I feel my reply is worth sharing.
"'Externalized' means they see God as separate, Holy Spirit as separate, Christ as separate, when Jesus was pointing to the total lack of separation, the complete oneness and lived unity, which he clearly was inviting us to share, not when we die and are with him in heaven, but here and now.
This is not a conceptual unity as in we are all independent, individual members bound together by common beliefs. This definitely is not what Jesus was pointing to when he invited us to share in oneness with God, and not what he lived. He lived total and complete unity from the core of his being with not only God but the entire creation. And this is the Oneness he invited us to experience and live.
He saw no separateness, not in anything or anyone. To look within, to find the kingdom of heaven at hand, to see the face of Christ in the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the Jews and gentiles, the Samaritans and the prostitutes, to see the Providence that provides equally for all, the birds and all animals, and arrays even the lilies of the field in splendor finer than any garment Solomon ever wore, to see one’s body in bread and one’s blood in wine, to care for the sick and impoverished, this is the embodied Oneness that is living in the non-separate Presence that is the Holy Spirit and is our very awareness, 'if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.'
It is not a club or congregation or cult of beliefs, but a directly experienced, lived reality. Do you see the difference?"
Given the way Christ's teaching has been distorted and turned upside down, it is no wonder how we now have so many Christians that support political parties that have policies in direct opposition to Christ's teachings. The perversion of Christianity foreshadowed the rise of a US government that, quietly at first and now blatantly, transformed a congress of the people, by the people and for the people into a corrupt body of representatives of, by and for corporations and billionaires. To treat corporations as special entities with lower tax rates can only mean that tax paying individuals are now here to pay for the infrastructure from which these corporations and their shareholders benefit. The tax savings will be funneled to shareholders and only to employees after all other considerations are addressed. Tax payers are asked to pay for "defense", which is the largest network of military bases the world has ever known, which are called on to do the bidding of the congressmen clearly representing the interests of corporations, not tax paying citizens.
And how will we pay for this $1.5 trillion welfare program for corporations and billionaires? It will be through cutting the very programs that care for the poor, the sick, the elderly and rehabilitate the imprisoned. Yet right-wing Christians gladly support this. Not only do they fail to see the face of Christ in the underprivileged, they turn their backs on them out of callous greed and indignant self-righteousness. This is not the Christianity that represents the teaching of Jesus. It is far from the Oneness he embodied.
As we reflect on the birth of a being that was one with all things, the coming of the light that destroys delusion born of darkness, we should all look within to find the light that made Jesus proclaim, "You are the light of the world."
I pray that we are guided by this light that sees unity in all things as we enter this New Year and that this is reflected in the choices we make at the polls in our elections in 2018 and 2020.
Wishing you holidays of peace and joy and the light of Unity throughout the New Year!