Today, we will be discussing Christianity and hope our Christian adherents are ready for the Truth which epitomizes the life and teachings of the Messiah who as He said, came to bear witness to the Truth.
Christianity is one religion that could be said without fear or favour to have introduced glamour,grandeur and flavour to the worship of God. Irrespective of whether one is a Christian or not, unless one is hard of hearing would he not be enthralled by Christian’s hyms, songs and all other embelishment that is making Christianity more attractive to the yuppies these days.
We call it embellishment because all these externalities were not in the grand design of the Messiah,who is not on record to have composed neither a hymn nor a song. The business of liberating our soul from this hellish world is far more serious than all the fantasies we have brought into religion.
One pastor had argued with me,the purpose of the hymns essentially is to avoid dozing off by the congregation in Church. But why wouldn’t they snore away, when most of the time in places of worship,we indulge in things that bear little of no relevance to the purpose of coming to worship.
Because of the pomp and pageantry that Christianity is reputed for,a good number opted for this religion in the quest for good social standing, beautiful wedding,colorful birthday celebration and other flimsy things like decent burial and all that.
The latter seems the most abysmal of all reasons of wanting to belong to a religion. When the Messiah said; Let the dead bury the dead in Matthew 8 vs 2I to the lady who told Jesus; Suffer me to go and bury my father and i will follow you. Neither the lady, the disciples nor the world understood the spiritual meaning of that eternal statement.
The Messiah was making it clear to us that only those who are spiritually dead should bother much about the dead. In other words, we have more important work to do towards the liberation of our soul than worrying about the dead. We should bury our deceased no doubt, but not with all the fantasies we have brought into it. Death itself is a solemn affair that reminds the living of their mortality. The Muslims are far better and worthy of emulation in the handling of their departed.
Perhaps,it is within purview to remind us that our body is both a vehicle of expression and a cage for the soul to transverse the earthly field. We are to imagine the position of a bird that has just been freed from its cage. This compares to when our soul is separated from the body at the so-called state of death. Which bird or soul would want to bother about a cage that has been used to imprison it all the while? No soul cares a hoot whatever is done to its body once it has left it. Cremate it, bury it, or use the cadvar to teach medical students, none of these matters to the soul. We hope to dwell further on this in future series.
Meanwhile, it is unquestionable that, in terms of ceremonial worship Christianity stands tall, head and shoulders above some of the religions around.
Christianity in this Country has different sects,such as the Catholics, Methodist,Anglican,as well as other denominations viz; The Redeem Church,Moutain of Fire, Four Square, Latter Rain,Day Star, House of this, House of that and numerous others. They all also have distinct features, but the concept remains the same. It is principally to make us true human beings and upon that, unite us with the Creator. I wouldn’t know of any religion that is set up for a different purpose. If there is,such of course wouldn’t qualify to be a religion.
We may not involve ourselves with the nitty gritty of the differences in the mode of worship of various religions,what is crucial is how far Christianity has remained within the teachings of the Messiah-Jesus Christ who remains and shall ever be, the pillar that sustains Christianity.
Christianity is woven around Jesus who ironically, did not as Prophet Mohammed did, give the world the ceremonial Christianity that has become the order of the day.
Because of this, there is a great difference,a fundamental difference at that, between the Christian religion of history; That is, institutional Christianity and the precepts and practices of Christ Himself.
In the modern Jesus of the Christian church, we find the idea of the imaginative Irenaeus, not the Adept of the Essenes, nor the matchless Reformer of Galilee. The Messiah pitifully is now disfigured under Plato-Philonean mask, not as the Truth bearer with which the disciples perceived Him on the Mount.
It is one of the saddest aspects of religions history that the original Jesus had to disappear into an ecclesiastical Icon.This was a Godsent whose message of Universal Love and Spirituality cannot be pigeonholed into any formalised religion.
Christianity as known and practised today was not founded by Jesus Christ. It was formulated and given to the world by St. Paul, an educated Jew, who used to be Saul and antagonised Jesus all through the Messiah’s life time.
If Peter, who was tacitly appointed by Jesus as His successor, had given the world Christianity as Paul did, this religion would have been substantially different from what it is today. We would have had the pure teachings and not the admixture of Judaism and a tinge of the Messiah’s teachings, formulated by Paul.
We couldn’t have expected anything different from Paul, when research showed that he was schooled in the Hebrew law. He-as Saul was also an advanced Judaic scholar. All these might have influenced what Paul gave to the world as Christian Theology. His central idea was based upon the old Judaic system of sacrifice, and that itself has been handed down from time immemorial – a blood stream that has coloured all history
When Christianity as a new religion was founded and given out, it was a little more than allegorical metamorphosis of Judaism. Jesus was now made the sacrificial offering. The Lamb slain for the sin of the world. Thus: The real mission of Jesus, which was to lead his disciples to realize the kingdom of heaven within themselves (as the Messiah said the kingdom of God was at hand) was turned into an unintelligible mystery of God sacrificing His own begotten Son to Himself.
This stands logic on its head and it was a gross insult to the sublime idealism of Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Mankind that Jesus preached all through, even on the cross under a most excruciating pain.
The clean, noble gracious life, teachings and deeds of Jesus offered to the world something sui generis in nature. Regretfully, almost from the day of His departure, that His spiritual mission and teachings began to undergo the usual corruptions, misrepresentation and bastardisation. The Messiah was not understood even by His intimate disciples and later His very name was seized by a corrupt priesthood and utilized as an instrument of self-aggrandizement.
According to the most authentic sources, Jesus was a Jew,son of Mary and Joseph who was a member of the Essene Brotherhood. We cannot gloss over the immaculate conception. Every Christian must believe it although it doesn’t add and neither does it deprecate the Messiah especially His teachings, which have stood the test of time and because of its pristine nature shall ever be, being the TRUTH.
William Cullen Bryant once said; Truth though crushed to earth shall rise again.Were in not, the same priestly class particularly,the Roman Empire thorough its Procurator Pontius Pilate who with a feeble protest ordered the crucifixion of Jesus wouldn’t be recognizing Christianity 320 years after. By the year 380 AD, Emperor Theododius 1 of the same Roman Empire applied a stamp of authority on Christianity and made it the official state religion through the Theodosius Edict regarded as the Thessalonica- being the final word on the controversies within the earthly Churches of that era in Rome. What a great wonder!
One can go on and on the memory lane about Christianity, but the real interest should be in the teachings of the Messiah and for us to determine it by ourselves as to how well we are in tune with the Messiah’s precepts. On this, there are two basical things that exemplified the teachings of Jesus.
(1) The vital importance of Love without which there can be neither peace nor religion.
(2) The immanence of the Kingdom of God,which is to be found only within man himself.
Being of pure heart and noble purpose, impelled by great love,he at once set to work by healing the sick and preaching the good news of the presence of the Kingdom of God in all human beings
It is recorded that Jesus resurfaced about the age of 30, having disappeared from the record at the age of 12, after he met the Sages in Heliopolis. Investigation also revealed different heresies on the whereabouts of Jesus during those 18 whooping formative years of His, but it serves no purpose to indulge in unnecessary controversies, which help not our course, and neither diminish nor improve the status of the Messiah. Honey called by any name shall ever remain as sweet.
What helps our present cause is what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God is at hand. That the Kingdom of God is not a far-off thing to be realized only after death. Jesus also insisted that people should immediately depart from the ways of sins by loving one another.
But alas! His message was but poorly received and meagerly understood even by His direct disciples, much less the multitudes. They weren’t prepared for such lofty utopianism and refined perception. Least of all could they understand the main point in it; That the Kingdom of God was a present reality to be accessed while in flesh and blood.
This has always been the dilemma of mankind. Even today, among the so-called enlightened in the world, very few if at all, can grasp that sublime idea of entering the Kingdom of God alive.
Generally, we could imagine a heaven to which people may go after death, but when told we can pierce the dark veil and enter that kingdom now while in the body, in full possession of the senses, they hesitate. Most of the non-illumined often set such idea aside as an overwrought imagination
Yet, this is the very heart and soul of the teachings of the Messiah when He said; If you want to commune with your God, offer not repetitive prayers as the Pharisees do but you enter thy innermost closet. What is entering the innermost closet beside TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION.?
We can not go straight into Transcendental Meditation without bringing out the core teachings of the Messiah. We will find them in His numerous parables which gracefully have been left intact perhaps because the hidden meanings were not. fully grasped.
We will be taking some of the Messiah’s teachings next week for us to imagine how much we are conforming or derailing. Thereafter, we will discuss Transcendental Meditation, which is only the True Worship in details.