VIA TRANSFORMATIVA: YOU CRACK ME UP – Cliffhangers

By: Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

This Sunday, April 1, 2018, we began our Via Transformativa theme of “You Crack Me Up!” During this quarter, we’ll be exploring how the Holy “cracks” us open to reveal the true divine, spirit that dwells within each of us. 

This Sunday, Easter, we used music from the Indigo Girls to explore how God uses the element of surprise and cliffhangers to draw out our true, divine Self.

Readings: 
From the Hebrew scriptures: Isaiah 25: 6-9: … the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines…
From the Jesus story: Mark 16: 1-8: They saw that the stone which was very large had already been rolled back.
From A Course in Miracles, Chapter 11: The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego

Song used in the sermon: Joking, Indigo Girls


Sermon excerpt:

There’s one person we know who loves a good cliffhanger, and that was a guy named Jesus. He often used this storytelling device in his parables. He left many unanswered questions in each of his stories. The most obvious one was the tale of the older brother of the prodigal son. When the prodigal comes home after blowing all of daddy’s money on parties and prostitutes, pops throws an amazing party for the son and his friends. The older brother is understandably peeved. He complains to dad that he’s been loyal and hardworking and he never got a party. The father tells him to buck up and come in to the party. But, we’re never told if he does or not. It’s a cliffhanger.

There are other stories from Jesus that beg for endings. How about the Good Samaritan story? When last we saw him, he had put the man beaten by the robbers up at an inn to convalesce and had given the innkeeper money for his stay. What happened next? Did the beaten man recover? Did he want to seek out the Samaritan and thank him? Was the beaten man a Jew who resented being rescued by an enemy? The possibilities are endless.

How about that Roman centurion at the foot of Jesus’ cross who finally, in a flash of the Spirit, recognized Jesus for who he was – the embodiment of God. Did he see that not only was the Holy in Jesus but was in him also?  Did he quit his commission and become a follower of Jesus? What about the money changers Jesus ran out of the temple? Did they right their tables and carry on or were some of them convicted of their wrongdoing and found more honorable work? And the one that keeps me up at night: Did the fig tree Jesus cursed ever grow back?

Jesus knew the power of cliffhangers – they not only keep your attention, but they invite you to think more deeply about the story and the lessons it may hold for your own life.

Take today’s Jesus story, for example, there are more cliffhangers in here than just wanting to know where Jesus ran off to. Who rolled away the stone? Did the women ever overcome their fear and terror and finally speak about what they saw? And who, really, was the dude wrapped in dazzling white clothes waiting for the women to show up so he could make his dramatic announcement that Jesus had risen from the dead?

Other gospel writers call this guy an angel, but if we look at this scene through a metaphysical lens, I’d call this guy the Holy Spirit, because what’s happening here is that we’re being reminded that if we’re looking for Jesus – if we’re seeking unity with God through his teachings – the tomb is the wrong place to be looking. But, the tomb is the favorite place of the ego, because it longs to keep our true, divine-self entombed in this place where we are constantly plagued by life’s cliffhangers that keep us hooked in this bodily illusion.

Our lives are filled with cliffhangers: Will we get the job? Will we get the boy, or the girl?  Will we get the house we want, the car we want, the money we need, the power we crave? Every day we live out cliffhangers, wondering what’s coming next in our lives.

“You want to find Jesus?” the Holy Spirit asks. “You want off this cliff you’re hanging on? Leave the tomb, because you’ll find your closure in Galilee.” What does that mean? Do we have to get on a plane and go there? No. Going to Galilee simply means that we have to go back to the beginning – to our source.

You see, Jesus began his ministry in Galilee. This is where he began teaching that there is only one of us here and that to end this illusion of separation, all we need to is repent, or change or mind, about our belief in this separation we perceive. There’s a reason the Spirit never sends us to Jerusalem. This is the scene of our crucifixion – Galilee is the scene of our resurrection.

Resurrection, according to A Course in Miracles, “is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence.  For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works and ascends to the Father and His Kingdom.”

Jubilants, rejoice with me this morning because the tomb is empty. Jesus has shown us that we can transcend the ego. Our resurrection is at hand, and that’s no joke.

Breathe deeply.   

Listen to the full sermon.

Listen to the full celebration.

Here’s your assignment this week:  Hear the good news this morning, Jubilants, you a free – free from the tomb of the ego, free from any ideas of self-doubt or self-blame that keep you buried in your ego. This is our day of resurrection, Jubilants, when we transcend the ego and become who we truly are in our higher, divine self. The resurrection is a symbol of joy, because the Christ is not dead, but continues to live on through each and every one of us. I invite you, Jubilants, to find ways to embody that Holy Easter love in the world today and every day of your life, because that will make you and everyone else say: “Oh, Yeah!”

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