Dear Light Group,
I grew up a Christian, and every Sunday in church congregants repeated the Apostles’ Creed, which began, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.” The Creed also stated that Jesus “sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father almighty.”
So Jesus was God. That was the implication of Jesus being the Son of God and that was what seemed to be meant by the Holy Trinity. In my young mind, that put Jesus way, way up there in heaven, at some unfathomable distance, where he “sitteth on the right hand of God.”
Then, as an adult, I decided to read the Bible with what some call “beginner’s mind.” What that meant was trying to read the Bible as if I had never read it before. It meant setting aside what I had been told about Jesus. It meant ignoring those prayers I had said in church. It meant coming to the Bible with as fresh a perspective as possible.
When I read the Bible with that mindset, it came alive for me. It fascinated me.
One of the more surprising and powerful impressions I had in this reading of the Bible was of how human Jesus was. No longer was he this remote being sitting at some unfathomable distance. He certainly did extraordinary things. But he also acted in some very human ways.
One of his human features was his emotional side. He appeared to have quite a temper: he cursed the fig tree; he whipped the money lenders; he had biting words for many people: “O ye hypocrites.” “O ye generation of vipers.”
But another side to his emotions is exemplified by the shortest line in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” That occurs in the Book of John, where we get the story of Lazarus, who was sick and dying. Jesus arrives on the scene after Lazarus has died. Lazarus’ sister, Mary, is crying and so are other people. At that point, Jesus “groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” Jesus asks where they have put Lazarus, and then “Jesus wept.”
There is another scene, this one in Luke, where Jesus weeps. During the his final days, he travels, and on seeing Jerusalem, he “wept over it.” Speaking of Jerusalem and the people in it, he says, “If thou hadst known…the things which belong unto thy peace! For the days shall come upon thee that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee…and shall lay thee even with the ground and thy children within.” He is foreseeing the destruction of The Temple, which occurred a several years after Jesus was died.
It is our ignorance of God and of the Divinity within that moved Jesus to tears. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who had been with Jesus and knew the healing power of the Lord, yet doubted. Jerusalem, caught up in its ritual and rules and money-making, was ignoring its true wealth, its spirituality, and would be destroyed.
Jesus was moved by compassion. In a similar vein, let us be moved by compassion for all humans and for our ignoring of the Divine within.
In that spirit, you might try a prayer such as, “God, bless all mankind. Lift us up by Thy Spirit. Center us in a knowing of Thy Spirit. Fill us with Thy Peace. Fill us with Thy Truth. Fill us with Thy Love. Fill us with Thy Beauty. Let us grow in our knowledge of Thee and Thy Goodness. And let us go forth to bless all with Thy Light and Thy Love.”
Love and Light,