This ascension message of Christ returning to Heaven in dialogue with God has both the beauty of deep spirituality at its essence and contention of belief. So to take an outsiders view and one based on my personal spiritual experience may give a very different slant.
Having also heard Luke 24.44-end on Thursday, when I attended a lovely ascension service, but I left very unsettled. So this is a blog that I am starting with powerful spiritual feelings but with some distress of feeling left out. Luke, the outsiders gospel, refers to the Bible and I heard …everything written is true…..something that gives me considerable discord with the mystical loving Christ I know. Also something about proclaiming to all nations, this true and right religion approach, everything is outside that, not open to the one true God….my mind doing some jumbling and racing there full of the negative and perhaps misguided messages of church and dogma. I then have terrible fear that this Christian God is old testament and not consistent with love, is judgemental and not therefore always forgiving.
But actually that is not what Luke writes so I must take heart…it says everything written about Christ the Messiah, must be fulfilled and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem. Not quite so demonising. And of course as an outsider with my own experience of Christ I see repentance as letting go in your heart centre, Christ there for all to help that happen in your Earthly spiritual journey, just ask, and he helps open you to unconditional love. Christ is the part of God that expresses love. And to have your sin forgiven through the resurrection. Sin being the life you lead when you are disconnected from God and unconditional love, out of step, with that flow of love, mind centred. And if karma is a barrier to being clear to experience heart centred unconditional love the resurrection being some way of clearing that karma, but Christ taking that on and taking that away with his death.
So I am now resolved again that my spiritual experiences are not out of step with the deep values based meaning of Christ, I look at this Sunday’s Gospel. Let’s explore some things said, perhaps contentiously. “True God”, not that the Christian God is the only human way of expressing our desire for connection to God and the love God brings to those who seek that. True God means having that connection to that immense Divine energy we experience and read about, knowing its trueness, not a human pastiche of it – not singular human Christian teaching or something else, translated in the cultural moment.
“Christ having authority over all people, to give eternal life to whom all you have given” is taking us into some special conceptual realm. Beyond human and mortal, beyond time, to some other experience, sci-fi might even say other dimension. And perhaps is Heaven, after death, or Heaven on Earth parallel to a mortal life. And I reflect is that Heaven the experience of deep centred joy, bliss, unconditional love, when your heart centre opens, perhaps at times when you feel most aware of God or Christ, perhaps when you are most open to the Divine or Holy Spirit inside you. Is that opening the door to an experience of Heaven on Earth, or a sinless path perhaps to Heaven after death, or taking us out of the cycle of birth and rebirth for Eastern philosophical ideas. When in that moment you are outside of your minds constraints like time. But then at some point your mind, your ego, brings you back from that ecstatic state to that time determined existence and perception. You then realise you have shifted back into that mortal human existence with all its sensory attachment and fear, and Heaven again is separate and just a distant unreal memory.
But John’s words are not easy words to contemplate….perhaps all will become clearer further down the spiritual road. But a lot of the words of “giving to you” that relate I think to the apostles, and so after those first apostles, to anyone who is open to the Jesus of heart-centred love and through that follows that route to God. Not necessarily a Christian doctrinal route, but a heart centred route. To those Christ’s prayer “Holy Father protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one”.
But the last reflection if Jesus is of the Trinity God and one God, the Christian three faceted God, then the dialogue of one facet of God to another is a little bizarre. So let’s be a bit more open and sympathetic that God as a concept. Although perhaps a singular Divine energy it can manifest in more than one form and these forms can have relationship and dialogue between then that makes them appear separate although they are not. With a bit more tolerance to other spiritual perspectives, different ways of experiencing and conceiving the subjective world of the Divine, then we are more likely to bind the human world with love.
Image by Lance and Mike in collaboration