sexta-feira, 22 de abril de 2016
THE COSMIC JESUS
(Jesus) The true light that gives light to everyone coming into the world.
Anyone who loves is a child of God
I John 4:7
The only two evangelists who narrated anything about the birth of Jesus set him on a cosmic scale. Matthew included a star from the sky and Magi from the Far East. Luke included shepherds, flocks, an angel and a choir of heavenly beings. The cosmos was present at his birth.
Jesus had everything to have a provincial birth, not noted by anyone other than family and close friends. Joseph and Mary were from an insignificant village of a backwater province which was looked down on by the rest of the country which, in turn, was only a minor occupied area within the vast Roman Empire. The event (birth) occurred away from home, in a distant city where his parents were little known. Jesus would be just one more "John Doe" lost in the crowd.
According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus had significance far beyond the geographic limits of his family origin. In their Gospels they promoted a faith that was inclusive, not exclusive like the tendency of many religions, especially the monotheistic ones. In the Gospels, Jesus was always offending the conservatives by overstepping the limits they set. He was frequently in the wrong place with the wrong people. He didn’t fit into the scheme of the dominating powers, and they got rid of him, or at least thought they did. But his spirit lives on in time and in space through those who dream with him follow his lead of a life of compassion without regard to personal gain. This shows Jesus to be cosmic, transcending time, cultures and credos.
It took me many years to see this cosmic dimension of Jesus. The first years of my journey in the Christian faith was a series of a closing of windows and doors creating a shrinking world rather than discovering an expanding universe. I learned about “correct” doctrines and beliefs, came to know who were the “true” people of God and much of what God loved and what God hated. My literalism made me like the painter who was painting himself into a corner. My world was shrinking and I had less and less room in which to maneuver.
I slowly came to realize that my conservatism was really a denial of truth. Truth is infinitely larger than any system that anyone can devise. Fortunately I was able to break the chains of prejudice that imprisoned me and to free myself to be able to move on into new and wonderful worlds. I feel like a tree that is putting down its roots, but is able to shed old leaves and grow new ones as needed. The roots are my basic character and the leaves are the way I interpret what I perceive. I am no longer stuck with a rigid set of theories and doctrines. I can bend with the wind and grow stronger as I do so.
The historic Jesus is impossible to know. But there are certain aspects that have filtered through time which seem to transcend cultures and creeds, namely the identification of Jesus with compassion and solidarity. These are basic human needs and find resonance in almost all cultural situations. Having to do with deep human needs and not with creeds make Jesus cosmic. This is not a Jesus that is identified with some creed, but a Jesus that is accessible to anyone.
Jesus is not an outside Superman who drops in from the heavens as a savior, but one who walks with us as a brother and shares the good and the bad things of life with us.