This Sunday, March 18, 2018, we continue our Via Creativa theme of Mothers of Invention. During this quarter, we’ll be exploring how we can bring forth that creative spirit of invention that can transform not just our inner world, but the world around us.
We used music from Bob Marley to learn how we can enter into a new covenant of innovation with the Holy Spirit that will heal the world.
From the Hebrew scriptures: Jeremiah 31: 31-34: I will make a new covenant.
From the Jesus Story: John 12: 20-33: Sir, we wish to see Jesus.
From A Course in Miracles, Chapter 3: All your difficulties stem from the fact that you do not recognize yourself
Song used in the sermon: Redemption Song – Bob Marley
That new covenant (Jeremiah promises) comes with a huge condition – one that the ego dislikes so much it often prevents us from accepting this call to return to our true, Divine self, because it knows if we accept this condition … it will die.
Jesus spells out this condition in this morning’s reading from John: “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
To sing our redemption songs – to bring about the true innovation of justice, peace and love into this world – we have to die. That word for the “life” we are to lose is “psyche,” which is our ego, the seat of our feelings and desires in this world. Jesus says any trust in that psyche – or this bodily illusion – will leave us disappointed, because nothing in this temporal world is permanent. It all eventually goes away.
This is terrifying for the ego because if we embrace this new covenant of innovation and justice it would spell its death. And it would, because Jesus is asking us to give up our old egoic ways of thinking and believing. If we want to see innovative justice in this world, we have to give up all of our past notions of revenge, anger, retribution and attack.
This is preposterous to the ego. If we die to the idea of retribution and revenge, how will we ever punish those who have done real harm in this world? If we die to the idea that it’s okay to hate some people and love others, how will we decide who is good and bad in this world? If we die to the idea that some people spend eternity in hell as punishment for sins while others drift off to a beautiful heaven as a final reward for living right, how will be able to know what’s right and wrong in this world?
As Marianne Williamson likes to say, “Being spiritually enlightened doesn’t mean being stupid.” Nobody’s telling you to invite a hardened murderer over for dinner or to take your physical abuser on a date.
What Jesus is telling us to do is this: die to the ego’s idea that revenge and retribution will solve anything in this world. Die to the idea that violence will end violence. Die to the idea that holding a grievance against anyone will make your life better. Jesus is inviting us to free our minds from the ego’s mental slavery so we can touch that place where true innovation lies – that higher self that can bring true peace, love and justice to this bodily realm through us.
In this passage, Jesus gives an example of how he lived out dying to the old ways of thinking to live into this new, nondual world of our higher self. In this story, Jesus is approached by several Greeks. At this time, the Greeks and the Jews were divided – they believed there was separation between them. The Greeks weren’t about to go see Jesus at the temple, because they weren’t allowed to go into the temple. So, they approached Jesus through his disciples, Philip and Andrew.
Under the religious rules and laws of the day, Jesus had every right to send these Greeks packing. This gospel was not for them, he could tell them, because he’s only been sent to the Jews. But, instead, he welcomes the Greeks, speaks with them and tells them later on this passage that “when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”
This is not a passage about how Jesus is the only way to God. No, it’s a passage that says simply this: “When people recognize that the message I am here to embody shows them a better way to live than in the hellish grip of the ego, they will remember who they are. They will withdraw their love and allegiance from the ego and place it where it rightly belongs – in God. When they do, they will no longer believe in the separation and experience unity.”
Jesus is always seeking to remind us that we’re all one. We’re not from some geological place on this earth. We’re not from this family or that lineage. Our identity doesn’t lie in our jobs, or who we married or where we live now. Our egos may identify with these bodily places, but we’re not from anyplace in this bodily realm. We, like Jesus, are from God and our purpose is the same as Jesus’ – to remind everyone we meet who they really are and where they really come from. This is how we learn to sing songs of redemption that can overcome the separation and heal the world.