Talk by Tom Baker
April 20 , 2014, The Fellowship of the Inner Light
We have never really believed in the Resurrection of Jesus. For all its rhetoric the Christian church practically ignores the resurrection. The resurrection is almost never portrayed in art, church architecture, or even church dogma. It is the crucified Jesus hanging in front of churches that inspires us. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that saves us, it is his body and blood that nourishes our souls. By his death we are saved, in his blood we are washed, by his stripes we are healed. Even modern scripture scholars gently edge out the resurrection of Jesus just as modern thinkers ignore the thousands of documented near death experiences. Death is the great reality of earth consciousness. We don't want to give it up. We use death to solve our international problems, to entertain us and to polarize our country over the argument about firearms and the second amendment. So Easter doesn't really have much of a chance in this funerial world. Even in the church it was often said that Easter was a footnote to Good Friday. That's why this little church is a light in the darkness. Over the years you have let me make fun of death: the time I kissed the corpse of the man I liked and it screwed up my mouth, my first visit to the nursing home as a priest where I walked in and greeted the woman turned around to get a chair and talked to her about the holy trinity for five minutes until I noticed that her eyes did not blink and she never moved and was dead, the time Fr. Jerry Bell slipped on the fake grass and slid into the grave like a big black snake slithering under the shiny rock of the casket, Edgar Cayce's account of Jesus on the way to the cross telling jokes. I don't think I ever told you about Father Gluck and his crank up cross. Yet Resurrection isn't just about Jesus conquering death and Fr. Gluck having a bad day. It's more about people recognizing one another.
The resurrection narratives are all moments of recognition: Mary and Jesus meet in the garden, she thinks Jesus is the gardener and he flirts with her. Who are you looking for? Jesus of course. And when Jesus says her name, Mary, she cries out Rabunni and they probably both wanted to run together and kiss right then, but the Catholic church was even then cautious about holy people getting together, and Jesus says "No me tangere.” Do not touch me. The disciples on the road to Emmaeus don't know it's Jesus until they sit down and break bread. It's you! Peter sees Jesus on the shore cooking breakfast and puts on his clothes and jumps in the water (Peter is always backwards) Master it's you! You have had that experience with people: your child (It's you!), a friend (it's you!), a spouse (it's you.) or (it's you!). One evening in the dark night at Easter Kathy my wife told me she would always be my friend and then the moon came out and I saw the blue eyes I had known before. It's you, my deep and abiding friend. Christ consciousness is when we recognize the Christ in the other. It deepens when we recognize the Christ in the unrecognizable, not just in the girl you love or the man you admire above all others. (Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. Why? So you will begin to recognize the risen Christ in them.) For what is love if it is not recognition with delight of one you have known all along and forever? You're from home! You're from God. Eckhart Tolle says of human love that it is conditional, possessive, and intermittent. But we long for someone to see our being, to love us the way we intuit we really are, beyond the conditional, possessive, and intermittent way we love ourselves. We want the authentic self recognized: Bruce B. at the death of JFK. I saw the authentic Bruce shaking with sorrow and love.
© Copyright Tom Baker 2014