Holy Thursday Talk
by Tom Baker
April 21, 2011, Talk given to the All Staff Meeting at
Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment
Jesus was probably a little maddening to talk to. If he healed your sister and you thanked him he would say, "Her faith did the healing." Or if you were to say, "Man Jesus you are amazing!" he would remind you that only the Father is amazing. Or you might ask Jesus what he really wanted out of life and he would say, "The will of our Father in heaven." If Jesus were to come to therapy I might challenge him on not really accepting his gifts, of having almost no self esteem and being a bit co-dependent in constantly denying himself in favor of The Father, and of having no dreams of his own. I'd say (with some exasperation), Jesus, Jesus you need to claim your strengths. You've emptied the hospitals, prostitutes are teaching Sunday school, tax collectors are opening soup kitchens and Matthew the tax collector is writing down everything you say, the fishermen are catching more fish than they can eat or sell, and several once dead people are walking around like they were never sick. Look what you've done. You're saving the world or at least really, really improving the neighborhood. Give yourself some credit." And then Jesus would quote Edgar Cayce: "Thy Will O God; not mine, but Thine, be done in me, through me. I surrender all power unto the Will of the Father (1152)." And then in a kind but firm tone, He might tell me that he has done, as a man, the most difficult thing a human being can do; which is to always see God as the source of his life and God as the reason for his worth and then to give that to every single person he meets. And I might say that I couldn't help him and he might say that I was helping him simply by having a good heart and that he might help me if I would let him.
And the help he would give me? He would assist me in turning my will over to the Father. Edgar Cayce said that our will is the strongest part of us, it can make us stubborn, impatient and mean or, given to God, make us wise, and kind and fearless. Edgar went on to say that the hardest part of Jesus' life was in the Garden of Gethsemane where he said, "Thy will, not mine be done." It was not the will to endure punishment or the karma of the cross, but the will not to resist, not to defend, not to attack----the things we do naturally, both in malice and in innocent sport. The National Football League is essentially men in inefficient body armor attacking, defending and giving each other permanent brain damage, for our entertainment----the Super Bowl is pretty much revenge with funny commercials. While shocking, this kind of thinking is at the center of our disordered human consciousness. I remember as a young priest teaching a class during holy week and talking about the redemptive suffering of Jesus. A parishioner who had been a marine stood up and said, "Darn it Father, why didn't Jesus just kill Pontius Pilot. Wipe him out right there. Saved us from 2000 years of misery." I didn't know what to say, but was alarmed that most of the class were nodding their heads in agreement and, I myself, did not have a very good answer to the colonel's suggestion. I muttered something about the scheme of salvation and moved on. The answer of course is that Jesus loved Pontius Pilot. Edgar Cayce says that it may have been that Pontius Pilot loved Jesus too or at least felt himself in his debt, that the reason Mr. Pilot was so hesitant to crucify Jesus is that Jesus had cured his son of epilepsy. But all that aside Jesus just loved Pontius Pilot, and he loved the two thieves who died beside him and he loved poor old Judas who Cayce said was just trying to get Jesus to do what my parishioner wanted: get the holy bazooka out and make the world safe for good and decent people. And Jesus loved people in that really fun way that happy people love you. Cayce said that Jesus was merry in the moment of betrayal and joked on the way to the cross, laughed from the heart and the belly because he knew that his life and his worth came not from his body or his fan club or the rulers of this brief and beautiful and tragic world but from the will of the Father of us all, the Father of life vigorously lived, the Father of love freely given, and the Father of joy that takes no offence, ever.
My friend, your friend, the great friend to all the world, Hosanna in the highest.
© Copyright Tom Baker 2011