Monday, March 24, 2008

Resurrection and personal transcendance

Today our minister blew me away with an alternate theory of the resurrection. I plan to share the audio file as soon as he gets it up on his website, however until then I wanted to journal a brief synopsis, as well as I can remember, and talk a little bit about what it means to me.

There are some holidays which we Unitarian Universalists have a tough time with. Most UUs are not Christian, some are atheists, some are pagans, Jews, humanists or agnostics. So the two Christian traditions of Easter and Christmas are hard for some people to really sink their teeth into, in a spiritual way. Especially Easter, with it's central theme of the resurrection from the dead. However, Rev. Alex likes to push his congregation out of our zones of comfort, so today he chose to tackle that theme head on.

He started by explaining where the story of the resurrection came from. Taken in it's context, it makes a lot of sense. The Judeo world was immersed in Hellenic thought and philosophy at the time of Jesus' life. Rev. Alex explained to us that there was an important Greek philosophical model of the world which corresponds to the Christian concept of Heaven. Basically the Greeks believed (a full 600 years BEFORE Jesus came around) that this world is not the real one, rather it is one of pain, suffering and impermanence. The REAL world is one we must "transcend" into. The real world is everlasting, beatific, and absolutely perfect in it's radiant goodness. Rev. Alex explained it better...

Anyway he explained this is the philosophy that the resurrection is based on. This is where the principle Christian belief of God OUTSIDE of the world, and the transcendence into Heaven at the end of our life came from. But what if, like some historians believe, the resurrection from the dead didn't happen?

I'm going to skip ahead as there was lots of history and philosophy involved here and I don't remember the details well enough to do them justice. Basically here is where Rev. Alex argues his alternate interpretation of the resurrection, that is the daily, living resurrection of ourselves from ourselves.

We bury ourselves in anger, hatred, greed, stress, woe. Our own ego kills our spirit. But we can transcend that. We can resurrect ourselves.

When Jesus said, "the Kingdom of God is at hand" he wasn't talking about a distant heaven coming closer. He really meant, it's at hand! It's here, in every atom, in every tree, in every child. Rev. Alex said "turn your head and you see the Divine." Heaven is here, all around us. The divine spirit, what some people call God or Yahweh or Allah is HERE ALL AROUND US. We just have to let go of our ego, transcend the things we have chosen to bury ourselves in, and we can set our spirits free. And we can do it at any given moment.

~~So, that about sums up the key notes of the sermon.

On a personal note, I want to say this had a tremendous effect on me today. I want to transcend my anger, stress and all those things that have been holding my spirit back from peace and love. I can't do it yet, as I'm buried far too deep. But I can start on the right path. So I'll be working on letting go. I'll be working on loving more and hating less. I'll be working on not allowing this life I chose to stress me out. And maybe one of these days I'll be able to resurrect myself.

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