This clear, bright morning, perfectly perfect
My shoes, the first to scrunch across the dew wet grass
I tear through cobwebs spun overnight
Apologising to the broken tendrils left trailing in the sparkling light behind me
The birds and I, all that are awake
I whisper words in my head
So as not to break the silence of the new day awakening
Some people go to church on a Sunday
Yet here I am
Already walking toward the rising sun itself
All prayers in my heart are grateful
*I learnt about God from Mum, she taught me simple prayers that I would say before bed, and I loved the ritual.
I learnt about Jesus from the nuns at the convent. Sister George (Georgina) was my teacher, grade one through to three. She was young and kind and beautiful. Once, when I had to take something to the nuns house, I saw her without her veil, her hair was short and curly, she had a wonderful smile. It was Sister George who taught us all the parables of the Bible, she told them so well, I remember them still. To me, they were wonderful stories and I believed them. Still do.
[I heard many years later that Sister George had eventually left the church and married, and I was happy for her, I don’t think Jesus intended people to live secular lives just because they wanted to spread his message.]
I learnt about the Spirit from my own experiences. Things I couldn’t and still can’t explain any other way. Recently I found someone that has taught me other things about Spirit, or at least the part of it that lives within us.
I have been reading John Eldridge’s book “Get your Life Back” Everyday practices for a World Gone Mad. You can see what attracted me to the book, the title fairly screams to anyone who is fed up with the madness of the world at the moment “pick me up and read me” I didn’t know anything about John until I began reading the book.
John is an American author, counsellor and lecturer on Christianity. His books harken to the bible but in a way that reminds me of my long ago teacher Sister George. He is gentle and full of common sense and I find his book particularly comforting before sleep.
John is also a great lover of the outdoors and nature. In his words, I’ve found a kindred spirit. Someone full of reverence for the life force that permeates nature and restores and nourishes our own.
The last quote below of Johns is exactly why I don’t go to church to hear about Jesus. It is my belief, that like any of the other great figures that have been documented throughout history, Jesus was a real man, who walked this earth and lived his life as a revolutionary. He must have been extraordinarily charismatic, intelligent and brave. He was a leader. He called out injustice where he saw it and fought to change systems installed by bigots. He loved and protected the less fortunate and was loved by them in return. He was human, and faced all of the same overwhelming emotions that we do. His teachings shook the ancient world and his power made him a threat to those that were weak and fear such things. His life went on to be documented in a book that still tops bestselling charts in this modern day. His words still repeated. And yet … elevator music and sermons by rote.
I think the church and religion as institutions and facilities have a lot to do with the dissolution of a holy trinity that is far more profound and metaphorically rich than anything we would hear in church. Perhaps that is because it has to be lived and felt, not handed down in a sermon. Because that is what Jesus did – he lived and felt and unfortunately had no say in his biography or the way in which his words were wielded and context stolen or left off the record entirely.
I read an article a few years ago that was discussing, how much of the iconography of the modern church stemmed from the Egyptian religion. It was very convincing. I realised that it would have been rather difficult to take the life of an extraordinary yet fundamentally human being and turn it into the massive religious institution which the church has become. So why not borrow from another religion that was already in place? I think elements of Roman and pagan religions were also appropriated and incorporated into Christianity. Yet beneath all the pomp and glamour and cathedrals and robes and rituals, there was a revolutionary man with a story that still resonates today. He was only about 33 years old when we killed him. Let’s remember that to and why. Humans haven’t changed much in all this time, I have no doubt that it would happen in 2021 just as quickly, if not quicker; than it did back then.
For this reason I’m wary of humans in large groups carrying mob mentality. One of the stories that has always stuck out for me is that of Easter. Jesus rode in on a donkey to much fanfare and waving of palm fronds by the people – many of whom laughed and jeered as he was tortured on the cross barely a week later. Adulation and aclaim turn to hate so quickly.
Are we any different today? One minute a hero, the next cancelled. Can you imagine Twitter on the topic of Jesus? The world gone mad indeed. Or at least humans have gone mad, as they always do. The world is as it is, eternal. At least I hope it is resilient enough to survive us.