Midweek Faith Lift
April 16, 2014
Palm Sunday—A Journey to Wholeness
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
Of all the times in the story of Christianity, this one, Holy Week, is the most confusing and the most mystifying. Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, which has an incredibly powerful message of transformation that we do not really understand. It has a profound meaning for us in our human journey, and I personally have long struggled to make sense of this whole story of the death and resurrection of Jesus and wondered what is the point. I could never really buy the traditional meaning of Jesus dying as the lamb of the world to take away our sins. And Unity’s take on it has been that the cross is Jesus crossing out negativity. I really can’t quite get that either. It doesn’t seem complex enough for me, it doesn’t satisfy me.
The disciples and followers of Jesus have this incredible person in their midst that they have grown to love and follow. He inspires them, heals them, leads them and then, suddenly he is crucified, dead and gone. What can they make of this experience? It was an experience that is still with us some 2000+ years later, and my gut feeling is that we are just really beginning to grasp the meaning of the life and death of Jesus. We are just beginning to grasp that his life and that this Holy Week was a week of invitation to Wholeness. Candie reminded me that last year, on Easter, I described the intersection of the horizontal and vertical beams of the cross as that place where our human and divine selves meet. The way I see it now goes a bit further and asks us to go a bit further.
Jesus’ final week of life in human form, his last opportunity to show us what it means to really “live into” our Divine nature and experience a true integration of our Divine/Human selves. Jesus was a fully human and fully divine Being; like the Buddha he was an awakened or enlightened Being. He attracted hordes of followers because of the powerful Presence of God that emanated from him. He was fully human and fully empowered and able to live into and express his Divine Nature 24/7, all the time, every day. We see a few glimpses of stories about his humanness, but for the most part, what got reported in the stories about him were focused around his larger than life Divine energy that healed people and taught them. Palm Sunday is the beginning of his most power-filled invitation to us to live into our true Divine Nature, to live into our wholeness, just like Jesus.
Well, I have to admit that I am really truly thrilled when I can show up 15-20% of the time truly present and in that energy of the Christ, my divine nature. On a good day, it might amp up to 25%, but more often than not, I feel I really have a long way to go! Some days, I struggle to just understand what it means, this Christ center that we hold so dear in Unity. What does it really mean to live from that energy? What does that even look like? We get glimpses of it now and then, but it is really HUGE!
One of the things happening during the weeks leading up to Palm Sunday and Holy Week is that Jesus continually tells his disciples in many different ways that he is leaving them. He is trying to get them ready to go on without needing him to be present physically to support them. Those closest to Jesus are getting a continual message that they must begin to function in a whole new way. They must somehow begin to live into the Christ purpose for them during their time on earth. They must begin to really do that! They don’t quite get it! Makes me feel better! Neither do we!
How will they know, and how will everyone else know that they are followers of Jesus? Today, we would text a “Selfie” with Jesus, or we would wear the cool sandals, or the WWJD bracelet, right? We would tweet about the hordes of people following him on Palm Sunday….you gotta come see this guy, right? Good thing the Feast of Sukkoth wasn’t Veisha or it would be the story of a drunken riot gone wrong! No what Jesus told his disciples, those closest to him, the guys he expected to get it and carry on his legacy, is in John 13: 34-35 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
What kind of love is Jesus talking about here? It is that agape love, love without limit, unconditional, wasteful love that is self-less; a love that produces and enhances life. The love Jesus is offering is the ability to be free of what John Shelby Spong calls a “survival driven” existence; to be free to give one’s life away for that is what Jesus did. It is a love that truly embraces people exactly as they are….a love that embraces US exactly as we are right here, right now. No one can create love, no one can force it or make it be there. All we can really do is receive it and then give it once it has been received. Once it has been received, love has to be immediately shared; it cannot be stored or hoarded or used later like leftovers. A love that is not truly and deeply experienced and shared, dies. It is in fully and honestly seeing one another and ourselves through the eyes of love that we allow ourselves to fully experience love and thereby make the journey to wholeness.
The whole Jesus story is a journey from “self-consciousness” to “universal consciousness” or what we in Unity call the Christ Consciousness. The Jesus story is an invitation to live into a new way of being human, to be fully human and fully Divine. Charles Fillmore taught that it was described in Scripture as an evolution from the material or ego driven, survival driven Adam & Eve mind to realization of and living into our Christ Conscious Divine Mind. We don’t abandon our humanity; we live into our Divinity, letting that power of Love penetrate all parts of our humanity. Jesus is the Window into the nature of the Divine; an avatar whose living and dying shows us the Way to live into this new Reality or Wholeness. This is where our Divine/Human selves are fully integrated and at peace and are fully Present in how we show up in the world. All our faults and human flaws are present as continual lessons as to what our true Divine Nature is like and what it really means to love as Jesus loved. This is the Invitation into Wholeness of Palm Sunday and of Holy Week.
Now all that sounds great, and here’s the deal! We very often want to have that AHA experience, that HUGE insight that changes us for good and for always! We want it to all be done in one SWELL FOOP! We are transformed, renewed and WHOLE, never to experience our “less whole” selves again. That is what all the people gathered on the road to Jerusalem wanted! They wanted Jesus to do it for them! They wanted him to be their King and restore their homeland and the power of the Jews. They wanted a Divine Rescue…..and boy did Jesus disappoint them on that one! Well we are like those Jews on the road to Jerusalem. We celebrate our “Christ Consciousness” triumphs, don’t we? We celebrate when we “show up” in a challenging situation with true compassion and self-lessness! Of course we do and we need to celebrate that! It means we are on the road to realizing our Jerusalem! Hosanna! That is what today is about, celebrating that it is truly possible to live into that Christed Self….,possible to move out of our self-consciousness into Christ Consciousness or Universal Consciousness. It is possible! Hosanna!
What does it look like….well we all have our instances or examples…but I wanted to share one with you that happened to me on my Silent retreat. I asked Todd to let me know whether or not the Cyclones won their game with UCONN. When I got back to my room that night, still in Silence, I looked at my phone and there was a message. I listened to it and heard Todd tell me that the Cyclones lost, how they lost, how he felt about it, that we had a confirmed appointment next Tuesday, how he met the new neighbors and they are really nice AND that he really loved me! Whew! It was enough to hijack me into the next week….and I could not sleep that night! Of course, I got really mad that Todd had to go and tell me all that stuff….forgetting that I had ASKED him to let me know. AND it took me until noon the next day to finally get it that this had nothing to do with Todd. I could have NOT listened at all, I could have hung up right after the first sentence. And all this after I had just told the retreat leader about a wonderful instance where I had been completely present to myself and someone else in this midst of pain and discomfort! Sheesh! Talk about living into my true divine nature….it is a journey to Wholeness
Prepare ye the way of the Lord….Celebrate being on the journey, on the road to Wholeness this Holy Week.