Updated: Apr 19
He dreaded the Easter season. I heard this from a friend who considers himself spiritual but not religious. He shared that he had an allergic reaction whenever he spoke with ardent believers in his family and the word Christ came up. He felt judged because he did not believe the way others in his family did. Well-meaning people told him that he would end up in a dreadful fiery place, after leaving this earthly plane, if he didn't follow their way. And not just for a little while but, well, forever.
I let him know I could relate. I, too, had grown up finding myself in the company of people and going to communities that had similar beliefs as his family members. But I let him know it was okay. And the thing to do was not to try to convince anyone they are wrong, but to give them the space to believe in whatever spiritual path works for them. I suggested that the way to demonstrate his beliefs was to live them in his day-to-day life. How a person lives their life is the most powerful message they can convey.
As we head into Holy Week, there will be conversations, discussions, and debates about Jesus. People will attempt to answer questions like: "Who was he?", "What did he do?", and "What did he represent?". The fact is we know very little about him. The earliest writings about him took place more than 40 years after his death, and through retrospective lenses colored by the writers' agendas. However, we have been able to glean from the writings about Jesus that he had an open heart, and he reminded us we are to have such an open heart. Because of this openness, he fulfilled his spiritual potential like few others. As a result, people couldn't tell where the human part of him left off and his divine nature began. Consequently, he said, "When you see me, you see the presence that sent me." Most importantly, Jesus noted, "All things I have done, you can do." He was not interested in bringing attention to himself and what he had accomplished and had done; instead, he wanted to make sure we knew what was possible for us. Jesus represents our possibilities. Although exceptional, he was not the great exception. He is a model of what is expected of us.
There is a yearning within all of us to express our divine potential. The desire is the Christ presence. The Christ is that part of God within everyone that Jesus spoke about through his transcendent message. It was not a message exclusive to any particular religion. There was no Christianity when Jesus walked the earth. As one of my spiritual teachers asked, if Jesus were seated amongst a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Zoroastrian, and Shintoist, do you think he would turn to them and say, "You must all forsake your beliefs and accept Christianity?" Probably not. Jesus taught Universal Truths that his followers made into a religion. However, Jesus was not about dogmatic theology.
It's likely that if Jesus were here today, he would be a leader in bringing spirituality without dogma or judgment. He probably would view the movements that have sprung up in his name as strange. In any event, I let my young friend know that if he has a challenge with the word Christ, he can substitute the word with "Force," "Genius," "Potential," "Inner Power," or "Divinity." We can call this presence whatever we want. The Easter season is simply a time to remind us to call it forth as the activity of our awareness.
Peace and Blessings,