The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Word in Flesh

 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His [c]own, and His [d]own did not receive Him.
John 1:10 & 11

First of all, I want to make absolutely clear that the traditional Christmas Story, while it does have implications for all of humanity for all time ( though it's not what most people think ) & so, IS a Story for the Ages; the Christmas Story that we read in the Bible is primarily one about the salvation of the Jewish people. It's also about their condemnation, but that might be another Story for another Day. This is, however, not to say that the world of our day, or humanity in general, did not or does not benefit from what the historical figure known as Jesus of Nazareth did. According to the Bible ( Matthew 1:21 ), Jesus came to save HIS people from THEIR sins! He surely did that, at least to those who accepted Him as Messiah, but He also showed, to anyone who reads His Story ( down through the ages ) that a Man could also be God! 

The 'flesh' of which the Bible speaks can be applied to humanity in general, but primarily, as above, it refers more generally to the Jewish people, or, more correctly, to the Hebrew people. Theologically speaking, it refers in particular maybe, to the Law, or the Law/Temple System. Not to get too far into it, theologically speaking, for that is something I prefer not do anymore, but, as I've postulated before, the Hebrew Story IS the Story of Humanity. The tendency among many, unfortunately, is to allow the Hebrew part of the Story to fade into the background & apply the Story DIRECTLY to us & OUR situation, OUR day & age. There are many ageless truths to be found in the Bible, but when we bypass the Hebrew flavor, we tend to read into the Story what was never meant to be there. In the same vein, then, we also tend to overlook certain blessings that ARE there!

The 'Word' ( Logos ) that was 'in the beginning', actually means just that; 'word'. Just as Elohim breathed life into His Creation, so the 'word' that proceeded forth from His mouth did not return to Him void, but accomplished everything He sent it for ( ? ). In the Story of Israel ( what we know as 'The Bible' ),  it is often taken for granted that when 'Elohim' Spoke the Word, the Universe, with all its constituent elements, was formed, but closer, more careful study will reveal that this piece of Ancient Near Eastern literature is NOT about the formation of the material 'world' in which we live; it is about the formation of a covenant that this 'Elohim' made with His own Creation, the people who would be known as 'Israel'.

As we progress through our reading of the Bible ( I'm writing largely of my own Journey here ), it should become clear that this 'Word', according to the apostle John ( John 11:26 ), resides with ( in ) us. One might even say that It IS us, or at least a part of us. Since we are, in some sense, Creators ourselves, with the ability to create a blessing or a curse with our own words, or the thoughts we breathe, it should be fairly simple to take two & two here to make four. I'm not saying that we created the world ( Earth ), or that we can simply make things appear out of nowhere, just by saying the 'word'; no, we have to put forth some effort too, working to create, or manifest what we imagined with our thoughts & spoke with our mouth, but as they say, 'you gotta start somewhere'!

My readers are by now aware of the fact that I affirm we are Gods! I agree with Jesus when He 'echoed' ( ? ) the sentiment of David King of Israel, telling the religious leaders, 'you are gods'. It is not, however, in our human nature ( our 'humanness' ) that our God-hood rests, though it is often made manifest there ( ? ), but rather in the fact that we are spiritual in nature, of the same essence as the One that Christians call 'God'. Other religions perceive this Divine Source differently & thus call It by a different Name. That this Divine Source ( some simply call it 'Energy' ) formed the universe is abundantly clear! 'As above, so below'; it had to start somewhere! Or did it? Maybe It, like the 'God' that Christians claim, has always been; 'Eternal in the Heavens'!

The Truth is that, humanly speaking, no one KNOWS for certain that their perception of 'God' is the correct one! Human beings can only BELIEVE, unless they see it with their own eyes, that a thing is actually true. The Christian religion tells people that they must take it on faith; they must believe that the God of the Bible is the One True God; Islam doesn't totally disagree that He is the One True God, but He is only One ( Person? ) & His Name is 'Allah'. The Jews are kinda mid-way between the Christians & Muslims, while the rest of the world can go to 'Hell'! Just Kidding! The Eastern religions worship the Source by the Names of Shiva, Yamantaka & Amaterasu, along with a host of other deities, most of which are based, however loosely, on mere human beings.

Back to our Story now, many people miss the fact that we are glorious & powerful beings, even in our humanity, because the Bible tells us, for example, that we are all begotten in sin ( Psalm 51: 10 ) and that even our hearts are desperately wicked ( Jeremiah 17: 9 ). Read in the context, not just of the surrounding passages, but the Rest of the Story, it should be fairly clear that these words were meant for Israel. Can they be applied to us as well? Not really, but in reading those words, we can better understand our own human nature, with its tendency to want see for itself, not just believe everything it's told, just because 'I said so'. 

'Flesh', as defined by Merriam-Websters online dictionary, is 'the soft parts of the body of an animal and especially of a vertebrate'. We are, biologically speaking, little more than animals! We, however, as we've seen, are More than our biology; at the heart of the issue, we are of the same Creative Essence as the One Christians call 'God'! Because of this, we are able, of ourselves, to create, both ourselves & even our environment ( to whatever extent ); by our choices, we manifest that which WE will, 'good' or 'evil', kind or unkind. When Jesus told the Jews ( Pharisees? ) that they were gods, this is what He meant; they had the power, as Judges of Israel, to decide whether this or that was right, whether this or that was wrong. WE have that same Power; by our choices, we decide what kind of environment we're going to live in, spiritually speaking. Our choices determine whether we will be a rest in 'Heaven' or whether we will perpetually slave in 'Hell'!

Not much of a Christmas Story, eh? Well, we can't be jolly & cheerful ALL the time, now can we?! But we don't hafta be 'The Grinch', either! By exercising our God-hood in a creative, not a destructive way, we can ensure that, although it may not always be stars & tinsel, in our hearts, we will know the Peace that Passes all Understanding.  In that Way, if in that way only, we ourselves may celebrate the Christmas Story, knowing that we are an Essential part of it!

Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank

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