Monday, March 28, 2016

The message of the crucifixion is love.

As a child and adolescent growing up I was filled with fear and dread at the story of the crucifixion. I was taught that Jesus was killed and tortured for my sins and through His suffering and death, I was redeemed. This story of redemptive violence runs very deep in our culture and has done much damage and harm over the centuries. It is the basis for the belief in the hero's death in war and is daily manifested in the “hometown heroes” banners which hang on the lamp poles in our Village and Towns.

 In A Course In Miracle, a different story is told about the crucifixion. Jesus says in the sixth chapter, first section, twelfth paragraph, “The crucifixion cannot be shared because it is the symbol of projection, but the resurrection is the symbol of sharing because the reawakening of every Son of God is necessary to enable the Sonship to know its Wholeness. Only this is knowledge. The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are. If you use the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather that as a call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the “wrath of God” as His retaliation weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.”

 As a psychotherapist, I see many adolescents who cut. They say it makes them feel better. It releases tension and helps them feel alive rather than numb and dead inside. Damage to our bodies does not heal our souls. The soul needs other caretaking which ACIM teaches us is love.

It is anger and shame that contributes to attack, self loathing, and destruction. Jesus intended the crucifixion as an extreme example of the resurrection of the spirit in the face of bodily destruction.

The Apostles, He says, missed the lesson. Most of us still miss the lesson today especially when religious authorities teach attack and bodily suffering and death as redemptive.

 I have been blessed by ACIM. I finally get the lesson Jesus was trying to teach. Salvation comes from the love of forgiveness. It is simple, but counter cultural. Miracle workers are very much needed in our weary world. I look out on the world and say my loving kindness meditation mantra: “I wish you well. I wish you happiness. I wish you peace. I wish you love.” Happy Easter.

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