Once upon a time, roughly 2 millennia past, walked a man upon the earth who was unlike many men. He spoke differently. He berated the priests and the popular religions. He was simultaneously hated and admired by different parts of the populace. Not surprisingly, he was a curtain lifter.
He didn't have an easy go of things. He was arrested and then tried and murdered by folks who could in no manner fathom his wisdom or his words. He was turned into a martyr and like all martyrs, became more popular dead than he ever was when he was alive.
On this day many folks celebrate his sacrifice. They know not really of what they celebrate or indeed what his true mission even was. His words have been twisted, re-written and fabricated by folks such as Irenius, Clement and many others.
At around this time "saint" Stephen was stoned after lecturing to the betrayers and murderers of Jesus. They were in a fervor and quickly put an end to any verbal reprisals.
The Christian sects that grew prayed to the moon and the sun singing songs and enjoying their various beliefs that Jesus first went to the moon and then back to the sun. It is not surprising that these many and diverse ritualistic groups would incorporate and modify existing religious holidays to suit their new belief system. The Sabbath, Passover and other "holy" days were adopted and transformed as were the many new year's rites and sacrifices.
This is the result of third-hand accounts of what Jesus was trying to do. His efforts were aimed at reforming and eliminating the most pagan and unintelligent aspects of religion and in some ultimate ironic twist his enemies eventually founded a new religion in his name.
So as the centuries roll on and the billion or more Christians celebrate Jesus' sacrifice, it would certainly be a nice change of pace if they actually knew what it was he sacrificed.
His life was extinguished because he spoke out against priests and dispensers of officially sanctioned wisdom. He tried to phase out prayer in public,the whole ritualistic nature of Judaism and other beliefs, and by pointing out a better way.
"Pray not on the street corner or in the synagogues, but retire to thine own closet where thee will be rewarded openly."
Some folks, sadly, took this literally to mean its time to pray in an empty closet. Others believe it means don't pray too openly to show your pious nature. However, its true meaning was lost on most the illiterates who heard his words, lectures and so-called sermons and repeated them without understanding them.
Jesus wanted folks to abandon the churches and the temples and seek out spirituality on their own - in their own mind. This is where they were to be rewarded - in new understandings!
How many more centuries will unfold with the countless churches all over the world making a mockery of Jesus' life and efforts, exhorting their members to come and pay tribute - doing the very thing Jesus would least desire they do? And do this under the blissful darkness of ignorance and good intentions?
I know the answer to that question. It is unpleasant. But Jesus, wherever he is hanging out now, will surely not be deterred by such a pessimistic outlook for billions of individuals. Instead, he will likely continue to work towards mankind's emancipation from whatever spectra he now resides in. This emancipation he works for is freedom from the bondage of ritual and rhetoric by those who do not understand that Jesus was just another enlightened man, who was far ahead of his time and who wanted to paint a picture of a spiritual, progressive evolution which was far more expansive and infinite in nature than any in such a dark period could ever conceive of or hope to grasp.
Someday the true understanding of being "born again" will be almost universal and understood to be the emancipation of the mind from the slavery of organized religion and others telling you what to believe. It will be understood that no one else can save you from your actions - other than yourself. That will be the time of each individuals personal salvation and each will experience their own "second coming of Christ" as his words will at long last be understood.
In the meanwhile, as this slow transformation of societal intelligence/understanding occurs, I will give Jesus' true intentions and agenda a little blog-space today.