Sunday, December 14, 2008
This is a picture I took in Israel of where I thought Jesus migh t have sat when he taught the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."(Mathew 5) Tonight I saw Pacific Theatre's "Christmas Presence". Ron Reed and the original company that performed it 25 years ago had gathered together to do one more performance of this strangely moving enigmatic questioning of the Christmas story. Immanual. God within.
It reminded me of the miracles that I experienced when on pilgrimage to Bethlehem I crossed the blood streaked streets in the sights of sniper rifles. The way was harsh but the journey was worth it. I stood with dozens from other lands and sang a Christmas carol in as many different languages. I was moved to tears then as I had been over and over again in what seems rightly called the Holy Land.
Reading the Beatitudes again tonight I see once more why these teachings caused those dependent on external finite earthly power to resist the notion of internal infinite heavenly power. Yet Love conquers all.
Earlier this week I saw the epic movie, Australia, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackson. I cherished the idealism and sense of the sacred that filled this movie as much as the extraordinary scenery and panoramic views of a country of ancient song.
I found Sarah McLaughlin's Wintersong album and played it all day in the truck along with the Sheree Plett Christmas album I got this year. I was shopping for family. Thank God for sweaters. And especially thank god for all those articles of clothing and accessory where one size fits all.
It's not Frankincense, Gold or Myrr I found but the Bible said there was gift giving that first day. I'm not not so bothered by the commercialism as the forgetting of the message of forgiveness. Love your enemies, Jesus said. In the Triune Brain of McLean, the lizard, mammalian and human anatomical constructs develop sequentially into that which is truly human. Lizards don't love but mammals can love their family and perhaps their 'tribe'. To be truly human as Jesus was, he said Love God and Love your neighbour as yourself. It stands to reason that if your enemy wasn't your neighbour he wouldn't be your enemy.
It's Christmas. It's a time of Love. The winter solstice was no doubt taken over by the church from the earlier tribal traditions. The secret part of WWII I most enjoyed learning of was that men all along the firing lines refused to kill each other in the thousands or more at Christmas. Instead they crossed the lines and shared their meager rations.
I'm hoping that this is happening right now. Peace on earth. Good will to men! Merry Christmas.