Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jesus's Last Words

"in Mark his last words are "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" - as if the crucifixion was a terrible surprise and the last act. In Luke, written a decade or two later there is no such puzzlement, and Jesus's last words are instead the more equanimous "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit". In John his last words are simply "it is finished" and again there are no signs of doubt or surprise. (And as for the most magnanimous of Jesus's saying on the cross - "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" - this uttered early in Luke's Crucifixion scene, seems to have been added after Luke was written......Mark, the earliest account, has an inconvenient feature of the Jesus story that later gospels obscure"
Evolution of God, Robert Wright - p. 250-251

While I appreciate that the Gospels were written much later than 4 decades after Jesus' death, some 70 to 100 CE (AD) and that even some of St. Paul's writings were closer to the time of his life, and that the gospels are at times 'conflicting' in their portrayal, this doesn't alter my own faith and belief.

There are indeed 7 savings attributed to Jesus on the cross. Jhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayings_of_Jesus_on_the_cross

Indeed I have more difficulties with 'forgive them" than I do with "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me." (ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI)  For me the Jesus of Gospel is till this point all too 'godly' and not sufficiently human for me to accept as one of us. He's really at times a bit too "goody goody two shoes". Why doesn't he jump into bed with Magdalene and why doesn't he slap around those pompous Pharisees. He's never taking a break to go to the washroom.  All too civilized by a long shot.

God becomes man and returns to the right hand of God.  The trinity is explained.

Well, Jesus is a carpenter and that's a middle class occupation in his day if anything. He wanders about with his merry men teaching and generally having kind of 60's love in experience. Doesn't work much. Just talks. Performs miracles. All's fairly well. Even when his friend dies he resurrects him.

When my friends died they stayed dead. I couldn't do anything about it. I've  encountered too much disease I couldn't cure.  Meanwhile Jesus does miracles.  He even casts the demons out of the pigs.  This probably explains why the Jews don't eat bacon while Christians do.  The persisting genital mutilation and proscription against bacon is probably why Judaism is a tiny religion and Christianity is a big religion.

I only truly believed Jesus had become 'man' when he uttered the words' "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me" because that is exactly what I felt like at the hands of my enemies, in storms at seas and in the desperation of loneliness and failure that is so much a part of the human condition.  It's the betrayal and abandonment rite of passage that the child makes from the bozom and safety of the parents home to adulthood of their own.  It's this experience that that even Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have experienced. It's this 'limitation' that is what is human. God is infinite. Man is finite.

"My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me" is God Human. This is Jesus Christ, someone who I can relate to. It's said that Courage isn't the absence of fear but persisting in spite of fear.   Faith is the persistence of belief despite despair.

So now having heard that human despair, I'll go back and look at what this very real and human Jesus said. Maybe there really is something to him.  Now that I know he's known the depths of human despair, admits it, and his followers aren't afraid to admit it, maybe he's got something uniquely special.  The 'powerful' of the world 'fake' it and play 'superhuman' but they simply don't cut it. The keep up appearances.  Jesus is beyond all appearance.

It's this experience of 'alienation', this 'separation' from God and home and love, that makes us human. It is here that spiritual awakening begins.

Christianity isn't a yuppie religion. It's all about the cross. For most of us Christians, our spiritual awakening begins and ends with the cross. In the abyss, you can continue to fall, lie down or look up to God and still believe.  In despair, you ask "Why have you forsaken me". In the abyss you feel alone but have faith  you are not alone. In the depth of misery I call out to a loving God believing for mercy.

 Maybe then death comes.   Or maybe there's  just a new day.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

1 comment:

Lenore Sigrid Clemens said...

Yes, and who knows what was left out in the various versions of the story and the Bible's different editors. I loved learning about "the historical mind", that made everything I'd been taught at Church and confirmation classes make a lot more sense to me. And who knows what kind of relationship Jesus really had with Mary Magdalene? They could have just left it out.
There is truth in metaphor, sometimes greater than in "facts"; there doesn't have to be a conflict between religion, in this particular, Christianity, and science and the theory of evolution. They can coincide very well; especially when you read Genesis and then read theories about the creation of the earth. Jung would have no problem understanding.
So, I'm not a Christian as many are re: the organizational church, but I believe in the truth of what some call "Red letter" biblical passages, the truth of Christ's teachings about love, many practices in Judaism & Christianity are practical safety factors - it was safer to not eat pork.
Christ died physically, in pain, wondering, but through that taught us about transcendent love and true sacrifice of self; and some kind of life after this life.
Anyways, thanks for another thought-provoking piece ;)