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Be Ye Perfect

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What If I Have It All Wrong

 

Paulo Cohelho Quote
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RE- THINKING JESUS: BE YE PERFECT…..

One of the “dilemmas” of this new spiritual path we found ourselves on was the need to see Jesus through very different eyes. We found ourselves in a position where we had to completely re-think Jesus and his teachings if he was going to be relevant in our lives.

Another dilemma for us and others involved the Bible. Reading it became a real challenge. Since we had set aside many of fundamental Christianity’s core tenets of faith and its interpretation of the Bible, trying to read it was very frustrating. There didn’t seem to be much point in reading a passage when the only interpretation you were familiar with was something you no longer believed to be accurate.

Despite those difficulties, there was still the sense that the Bible was like a chest filled with treasure just waiting to be discovered and this spiritual path we found ourselves on seemed to be leading us to a place where the treasure hidden inside the chest could be revealed. It has been amazing to see how God has brought a new understanding of the Bible into our lives over the past couple of years.

For example, several months ago I sent out an e-mail to nearly 300 people on our e-mail mailing list explaining the changes that were taking place in our lives. I also explained how I had revamped our web site to reflect these changes. In response to that e-mail about 200 people chose to remove themselves from our mailing list. We could have been disappointed and viewed the departure of nearly 200 people as a negative but by then we were at a place where we could simply accept it – it was what it was. In fact, out of that e-mail came a huge blessing.

Some time before all of this happened, I had subscribed to a newsletter put out by a lady in England named Maggy Whitehouse. Her e-mail address ended up in my address book and I accidentally sent her the e-mail about the changes in our life and on our web site. She had no clue as to who I was, but for some reason she read my e-mail and looked at our web site and then sent me an e-mail saying that she would like to continue to receive our e-mails. If that was the end of the story, it would be a blessing but it didn’t end there.

A few weeks later I came home and found a large envelope sitting on the table addressed to me. It took me a few moments to realize that it was from England. When I opened the envelope I discovered a book inside that had been written by Maggy, entitled The Book of Deborah. For some reason, Maggy had felt led to send me this book. It is the first in a trilogy of fictional books Maggy has written. This one tells the story of Jesus from the viewpoint of Jesus’ adopted sister Deborah. I read the book and sent Maggy an e-mail telling her how much I appreciated her gift and how much I enjoyed the story. (Actually as I write this, books 2 and 3 in the series are on their way to me and I am looking forward very much to reading them. You can visit Maggy’s web site at www.misterlion.org/pp/)

In the course of our correspondence, Maggy recommended another author she knew by the name of Neil Douglas-Klotz. I took her advice and recently was able to acquire a couple of books by Neil called Prayers of the Cosmos and The Hidden Gospel. Neil’s “specialty” seems to be the study of and the revelation of the wonders that are found in the words of Jesus when we go back and understand those words in the Aramaic language, the language in which Jesus most likely spoke and taught. What I am going to share with you in this article is only possible because Maggy Whitehouse recommended Neil Douglas-Klotz to me. The core essentials of this article come from Prayers of the Cosmos and The Hidden Gospel. Most importantly, Neil’s work is opening up the words of Jesus in a way that absolutely confirm the path that we now find ourselves on.

Though I never stopped believing that Jesus’ teachings were of paramount importance, my limited understanding of them impacted their relevance in my life. Today, thanks to people such as Maggy Whitehouse and Neil Douglas-Klotz and many others, I know that Jesus’ teachings, when understood in a much different light than I previously understood them, are more relevant to me than ever before. Not only is that true but coupled with my belief that Jesus never came to start a “new” religion, i.e. Christianity or get people to convert to an old religion, i.e. Judaism, I have come to the realization that if we keep Jesus’ teachings separate from specific religions, and understand them based upon language and context, Jesus’ teachings can be shared freely with anyone and everyone.  Nowhere is Jesus asking anyone to convert to any particular religion. Instead he is showing people how they can experience a transformation in their lives that will produce a freedom, liberty, love and joy unlike anything they have ever experienced before.

We are discovering that rather than moving us farther away, as some perceive it, this new path and new understanding of Jesus’ teachings is challenging us more than ever to be a disciple of the man from Galilee. We are discovering that the teachings of Jesus have been espoused in many religions and other spiritual movements throughout mankind’s history. For many years, I could have been described as someone who was more concerned with following a religion about Jesus than practicing the spirituality of Jesus. I thought what you believed about Jesus got you “saved.” Then I began to really contemplate what Jesus taught and I found that my concept of salvation didn’t line up with his teachings at all. A light bulb went on in my “head” and I realized that it is the understanding and application of Jesus’ teachings in my life that bring me “salvation.” (And yes my definition of salvation has changed enormously over the past few years).  

It shouldn’t have been surprising but it was to some degree, when I came to the place where I realized that one doesn’t need to know that Jesus taught something to benefit from it. To put it another way, one doesn’t even need to “believe in Jesus” in a particular way to benefit from his teachings. Universal principles and laws are valid regardless of how one discovers them. The only requirement is to apply them in our lives. Whether Jesus taught it or Buddha taught it or you simply discover truth on your own, truth is truth no matter who reveals it or how it is revealed to you.

With this new found appreciation for the relevance of Jesus’ teaching comes an awareness of the responsibility that accompanies his teaching as well as the awareness that the transformation that Jesus proclaims will definitely change individuals and the world if we truly follow and do what he says.  Jesus’ “gospel” would be “salvation” for the world if we understood and applied his teachings in our individual and collective lives. Please understand that I am not saying that Jesus’ teachings will save us all from “hell” and eternal punishment. After much soul searching and study in the Bible, I set aside that belief a long time ago. Deep down I believe most people know that there is a salvation that they need to experience but it is not from some place called hell where God is going to torment most of humanity forever. Instead we sense that we need to be “saved” from our egoic selves, from the carnal mind and lusts of the flesh as the apostle Paul describes it, from the self-inflicted suffering that Buddhism speaks of, from the constant cravings or desires that kabbalah tells us we all must overcome. It is freedom and liberty from all of this that Jesus offers us through understanding and application of his teachings.

This past weekend a very good friend of mine shared with me some of the frustration that his wife was feeling. I may not have it exactly right but it seems that she was struggling to figure out exactly what it was that we should be doing individually and collectively on this new spiritual path. I can understand her frustration to some degree. At one point in time, as fundamental Christians, we had what seemed to be the ultimate mandate. We were to participate in saving the world by getting everyone to convert to Christianity. What could be more important than telling everyone that they needed to accept Jesus as their Saviour because if they didn’t, they would spend eternity in hell being punished by God? As if that wasn’t enough, we debated the end times, the 2nd coming, pre-trib or post-trib raptures, the anti-Christ, the two houses of Israel, what was the true name of God, was Jesus divine, human or both, whether Sunday or Saturday was the Sabbath, should we celebrate Christmas and Easter or Tabernacles and Passover and a host of other doctrines that Christians and others cannot agree on. Generally speaking, I would say that all of that debate produced very little spiritual transformation in anyone and to be blunt, to expect it to do so may be foolish. Intellectual debates over facts and information that make up doctrinal statements or statements of belief carry little, if any power, to transform people. And yet, this is what we have focused on for many years. If we aren’t here to get everyone converted to a particular religion, why are we here? What are we supposed to be doing? In this series, Re-Thinking Jesus, I hope to answer those questions, at least to some degree.

A few years ago a friend of mine was the pastor of a local Presbyterian Church. One afternoon we were sitting in his office discussing the Bible and spirituality. During that conversation he suggested that I was an iconoclast. I wasn’t sure if I had been complimented or criticized since I didn’t know what an iconoclast was. At the time my pride wouldn’t let me ask him so I had to wait until I got home and looked up iconoclast in the dictionary to see whether it was a positive or negative statement. After reading the definition I still wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or criticism. It was probably neither. He was simply stating what he observed in me.

An iconoclast is someone who “makes attacks on cherished beliefs or institutions; one who destroys or opposes the veneration of religious images, a destroyer of images used in religious worship, someone who attacks cherished ideas or traditional institutions.” Was my friend right? Was I an iconoclast?

I think that I would be “Guilty as charged!” with this caveat. I am only interested in tearing down those beliefs, institutions, etc. which I believe distort or cover up the truth. I must admit, of course, that my iconoclasm is based upon my interpretation of what is “truth” so it is very personal and subjective. I would suggest to you that anyone who proclaims the truth or challenges the beliefs and practices of any individual, institution, religion, etc. is doing it solely based upon what they perceive to be the truth and therefore, it is all subjective. To claim otherwise is naive and perhaps ludicrous.

For example, we have enormous differences when it comes to doctrine and practice within the thousands of Christian sects that exist and yet many of them will tell you that what they believe and teach about the Bible is the “truth” and “nothing but the truth” so “help them God.” They are spreading the true and literal word of God and where others disagree with them, the “others” are misled, deceived, etc. More and more I find the view that “I” or “we” or “you” have THE truth and nothing but THE truth to be humorous and tragic at the same time. It might even be hilarious if it didn’t have such disastrous results far too often.

Today I am much more comfortable presenting what I believe to be the truth and then step back and allow others to decide whether my views resonate within them as truth to the point that they can embrace it. If they do not, that is okay. As long as neither of us is trying to impose or force our views upon the other, we can respect each other’s views and agree to disagree if necessary.

Since I am most familiar with Christianity let me “pick” on it though it isn’t alone in the following. Christians often exude a certainty that they know God better than any other group on this earth. This is understandable based upon their beliefs and doctrines. They will tell you God is “this” or God is “that.” They will tell you what God wants, what God expects from you and so on. They will definitely tell you that the Bible says “this” or the Bible says “that” but the reality is that when it comes to “this and that” and what it is that God actually wants or expects of you, the hundreds, if not thousands, of Christian denominations, can’t agree among themselves and often have contradictory beliefs. The contradictions wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t used as a basis to support divisions but the reality is that Christians do divide over them. Christians even divide within their denominations over “minor” differences so we can have any number of Baptist or Lutheran or Pentecostal sub-groups. When it comes to bigger issues we often create new denominations. This has resulted in hundreds and perhaps thousands of Christian denominations coming into existence. When it comes to major doctrinal issues, Christianity divides itself from the rest of the world. There are the Christians and the pagans. They are the believers and everyone else constitutes the non-believers.

Think about all of that in the light of the following: Jesus prayed that all of humanity would understand and experience the “oneness” that was the reality of his relationship with God! How would you say we are doing? So far, I would say… not very well. We will discuss this further on in this article but I believe that our biggest problem in this area is that we have somehow come up with the idea that Jesus was talking about a unity based upon all of us agreeing with the same “doctrinal statement.” As heretical as this will sound to some, our problem is that we have decided that this oneness that Jesus spoke of is based on us all converting to a religion about him and believing certain things about him. To be blunt, I would suggest to you that a careful reading of Jesus’ own words will prove that concept to be utterly false. Instead, I would suggest to you that Jesus’ concept of unity was based very much upon an internal awareness of God and an awakening to who we truly are. It wasn’t about what we believe about Jesus but who we truly are and what we do based upon who we are that will produce the oneness he spoke of.

STOP! I would like you to stop reading this article and take a few moments to consider the following verse. Think about what you have been taught, if anything, regarding this verse. Meditate on it and contemplate what you believe Jesus meant when he said the following:

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Tick tock, tick tock…..

Okay, now that you are have actually contemplated this verse and are ready to move on, I would like to share with you some things that I have been taught regarding this verse.

Jesus was perfect and therefore perfection is the standard that I am to strive for. It is the standard by which I am to judge myself and the standard by which I will be judged by God. Since I am not perfect but a sinner and God is going to punish sinners forever in hell, therefore I need a Saviour, i.e. Jesus. If I become a born-again Christian, then someday I will be perfect and that day will come when I am totally transformed. That transformation will occur sometime after I die or perhaps when Jesus comes back at his “second coming” if I am still alive at the time or I suppose at the time of a rapture, be it pre, mid or post tribulation (none of which by the way I believe to be scriptural).

However, based upon the English translation of “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” and standard fundamental Christian doctrines, what I have been taught does make sense to a great degree.

When I quoted “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” I purposefully left out the book, chapter and verse number. I wonder if you took the time to actually look up that verse in the Bible. If you didn’t, can you truly understand it? Did you already know the context within which we find that verse? For those who don’t where it is, the verse is Matthew 5:48 and I want to suggest to you that where it is located is very important.

I believe that where that verse is found is important because what I have been taught about that verse can only be true under the following circumstances.

Perfection in English means “the state of being without flaw or defect.” What I have been taught works if Jesus meant “the state of being without flaw or defect” when he said those words. In order to determine if this is what Jesus meant, we need to look at the definition of the underlying word that Jesus actually used and then take into consideration the context of the passage in which we read this verse. Does the underlying word mean “perfect” and does it fit the context? That is why the location of the verse is important.

When it comes to context, I can’t remember hearing anyone ever teach on Matthew 5:48 in context, i.e. by including the verses around it. My memory seems to suggest that this verse is almost always lifted out of its context and discussed on its own as if it stands all alone.

So let’s deal with the context first and then tackle the definition of perfection. Let’s go back a few verses and get the context within which we find Matthew 5:48.

Starting in verse 43 we read:

“Ye have heard that it had been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?”

What is the key part of this passage?  One thing that will help us is to determine what is the key part of this passage is what is called a chiasm. The Bible has many passages that are chiastic in structure and I think we can use that device in this passage to see what the key component of the passage is.

In case you don’t know what I mean when I say chiastic in structure, let me explain what it is. A chiastic structure is a literary device that divides a story, passage, verse, etc. into two parts and the story, theme, topic, etc. of the first part is repeated in the second part but it is repeated in the reverse order. Often times the key point is found where the two parts meet.

For example:

From Genesis 3:6-11

a 3:6  She ate the fruit from the tree and then gave it to her husband.

     b 3:7  They realized they were naked.

          c 3:8  Adam and Eve hid themselves.

             d 3:9  Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him,                            “Where are you?”

         c 3:10  “I hid myself.”

     b 3:11a  “Who told you that you were naked?”

a 3:11b  “Have you eaten from the tree?”

In the Genesis example, the chiastic structure points us to the key point of the passage which is God asking Adam ‘Where are you?’

Now let’s look our passage in Matthew 5:43-47 and divide it into a chiastic structure.

A1   Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

  • B1     But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good  to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:
    • for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • B2     For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
  • A2 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
  • In this passage Jesus tackles the subject of love. He points out that those who were listening to his teaching had an understanding of love that was very exclusive, i.e. they differentiated between those who were considered neighbours and those who were enemies.

    In “A1” Jesus defines love within the context of what his audience has been taught and currently understands. In “A2” he goes back to the original view of love as expressed in “A1” and states that even publicans or tax collectors follow that same understanding.

    In “B1” and “B2” we find rewards being discussed. In “B1” Jesus elevates their understanding of what true love is and tells his audience that their reward for doing so is that they will be acknowledged as children of God. In “B2” Jesus states that if his audience does nothing more than the publicans, they can’t expect any more reward than the publicans. If the publicans aren’t viewed as children of God, then neither can his audience be perceived as children of God if they are doing nothing more than the publicans.

    Now we come to “C,” the key point in this passage. Why should those who hear Jesus’ words love not only their “neighbours/brethren” but their “enemies” as well? The answer is simple. God loves everyone and to prove it God pours out blessings upon those who do “evil” and those who do “good.” The just and the unjust are blessed by God and if God does this, then how could those who desire to be acknowledged as God’s children to otherwise? Plain and simply, God doesn’t ask His “children” to do anything that He doesn’t do. God’s love encompasses all of humanity and so should our love.

    A Brief Rabbit Trail - I won’t go into much detail in this article but the roots of the Aramaic words that are translated as good and evil in verse 45 do not relate to something morally right or wrong. They actually have an agricultural meaning and are used in regards to fruit that is ripe and unripe. Mature and immature would be another valid translation. Proof of this is found in Matthew 7 where Jesus speaks about good trees and good fruit and evil trees and corrupt fruit. Trees aren’t morally good or evil. They aren’t right or wrong but they can be mature or immature and their fruit can be ripe or unripe. We need to delve into what it was exactly that Jesus was saying in Matthew 5:45 in much more detail in another article. What might be mind-boggling for us is the idea that God doesn’t see us as good or bad but as mature and immature, complete and whole or fractured and dysfunctional.

    Getting back to Matthew 5:48 we see that from verse 43 through verse 47 Jesus is dealing with our understanding of love and he wants us to know that the reason God asks us to love everyone is because God does that as well and as proof of that, God pours out blessings on those who are still “unripe” or immature or to put it another way, those who are out of sync with Him. You could say that God pours out blessings on those who are in harmony with Him as well as those who are out of harmony with him. Another way of phrasing it would be to say that God pours out His blessings on those whose lives are balanced and those whose lives are out of balance.

    Now we come to verse 48 – “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father Which is in heaven is perfect.” We often comment on that verse as if it has nothing to do with the previous verses but in doing so, we ignore context and miss out on a wonderful lesson. Jesus didn’t suddenly drop into his teaching some verse totally irrelevant to the subject he was discussing.

    There is a word in verse 48 that should stop us from lifting the verse out of context but we seem to ignore the word and what it tells us. That word is “therefore.” “Therefore” tells us that the reason that you are to be “perfect, even as your Father is in heaven is perfect” is based upon something that has been said in the previous verses. Therefore points us back to something prior such as… I filed my tax return late and therefore I had to pay a penalty or I got married this year and therefore was able to claim my wife as a dependent. The “therefore” in Matthew 5:48 tells us that the reason for the need for “perfection” is to be found in the preceding verses.

    Based upon that premise, what are told about God in Matthew 5 verses 43 to 47? There is only one thing that you are told and that is that God pours out blessings on the “good” and “evil” or the “mature” and “immature” or those in sync with Him and out of sync with Him depending on how you interpret the Aramaic word taba that the KJV translates as evil. You are to be “perfect” because God pours out blessings on both the good and evil. That leads me to ask a simple question… WHY? Why does that characteristic of God mean I should be perfect?

    And if I may ask another question, does the fact that God pours out blessings on everyone automatically mean that God is perfect, i.e. that He “exists in a state of being without flaw or defect?” Though it may be a component of God’s perfection, the fact that God pours blessings on everyone doesn’t necessarily mean that God is perfect. If that premise is true, then demanding that you or I be perfect based upon that fact alone doesn’t make sense.

    Let’s pretend for the moment that you or I read Matthew 5:43-47 and then we are given Matthew 5:48 but it is incomplete. There are two blanks that we need to fill in. What we have is this -  “Be ye therefore ___________, even as your Father Which is in heaven is _____________.”

    What would you do to accurately fill in the blanks? You would do exactly what we have talked about already. You would go back and read the preceding verses in order to discover whatever it is that God is and once you made that determination, you could fill in both blanks, since they are going to be identical.

    To help us be very accurate, let’s look at the word “perfect” in the language of the people at that time, Aramaic. The Aramaic word for perfect in verse 48 is “gmar.” Its root is a verb that means to accomplish, to fulfill oneself, to be complete. Though perhaps hard to believe it also means to cease, to disappear or be completely consumed. (More on that in a future article.) 

    The Greek word used in Matthew 5:48 for perfect is telios and it also carries a similar meaning of complete or “mature.” Mature is an interesting choice since we have mentioned that the Aramaic words used in Matthew 5:45 for good and evil can be used when speaking of ripe and unripe or mature and immature trees and fruit.

    There is certainly a big difference in being “mature” as opposed to being “perfect.” Maturity doesn’t demand perfection. If we go with mature, how would we define maturity based upon on our passage? A mature person would be someone who has grown up and in so doing, realizes that all of humanity is one with God and one with each other on the spiritual level and as a result, the mature person loves everyone, even those who are perceived as our enemies. Our love would not be exclusive to family, friends and neighbours but rather our love would be inclusive, extending to all of mankind. Is this possible?  Not only is it possible but it is probable when we come to understand and experience the reality of oneness with God and with all of humanity that Jesus prayed we would all achieve. Matthew 5:48 would not be laying the yoke of perfection upon us but it would be asking us to grow up and part of that growing up would be to expand the circle of those we love to include everyone, even our enemies.

    In his book, Prayers of the Cosmos, Neil Douglas- Klotz points out that the Aramaic word that we translate as perfect in Matthew 5:48 can be translated not only as complete, or to accomplish or to fulfill oneself but it can also be translated as “all-embracing.” That makes so much sense when we look back at the preceding verses. Isn’t that what Jesus is asking us to be and to do? Isn’t he telling us that we need to expand our love so that it is all-embracing? Rather than restrict who we love to a select group we need to mirror God’s love and God’s love embraces everyone. God shows it by pouring out blessings upon everyone, no matter how they may be viewed and in essence, we are asked to do the same. I wonder what the world would look like if millions of people started doing that all the time.

    When we understand the Aramaic and keep Matthew 5:48 in its context it could read:

    “Be ye therefore all-encompassing, even as your Father Which is in heaven is all-encompassing.”

    In his books, Neil Douglas-Klotz points out that Aramaic words (and words in other Semitic languages including Hebrew) often have multiple meanings. In essence, there could be several literal translations for a single verse and they could all be accurate and correct. In fact, Middle Eastern spirituality often left it up to the individual to determine which “literal” interpretation worked for that person at that time. It was the “job” of each person to take the words of a mystic or teacher and meditate on them, considering all the interpretative options and then figure out which interpretation suited their situation. It was also understood that at a later time and in different circumstances, one of the other “literal” interpretations could be more appropriate and useful. This certainly goes against the general practice of the western Christian Church where the Church has for centuries told its followers what to believe when it comes to interpreting the Bible. Imagine “embracing” a spirituality that actually acknowledged several literal translations as viable and allowed individuals to choose which interpretation they felt was best in their current circumstances. Instead the western Church decided long ago that it didn’t want any of its members to possess a Bible, let alone read it or interpret it. The “priest” would tell his congregation what the Bible said and what it meant. I am not sure much has changed over the years.  

    In his book, The Hidden Gospel, Douglas-Klotz offers the following as a valid interpretation of Matthew 5:48 based upon the multiple meanings of the Aramaic words used in the verse. Instead of reading “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father Which is in heaven is perfect” imagine what you might think if you read the following.

    “Be complete: develop yourself to the fullest degree, just as the Source of All constantly bears fruit, completing all movements in Unity.”

    Here you can see the “agricultural” meanings coming out. To show the multitude of meanings contained in the Aramaic, Douglas-Klotz then offers another translation of Matthew 5:48. Here it is.

    “Be fulfilled in all of your selves, know them until they cease to know themselves, grow with them until they outgrow themselves in a reborn, “I am.” The Knowing, Growing, Parenting of the cosmos completes itself through you.”

    If you are familiar with any Gnostic texts, this may sound very familiar. Something similar occurs in the Gospel of Thomas where we read: “When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known and you will realize that you are the children of the living Father. But if you do not come to know yourselves, then you exist in poverty and you are poverty.” (Saying 3:4)

    In some ways, “Be ye perfect…” is so much easier to deal with than “Be fulfilled in all of your selves, know them until they know themselves, grow with them until they outgrow themselves in a reborn, “I am.” The Knowing, Growing, Parenting of the cosmos completes itself through you.” How many selves do I have and what does it mean to be fulfilled in them? What does it mean that I am to grow with these “selves” until they outgrow themselves and there is a reborn “I am?” How in the world does “the Knowing, Growing, Parenting of the cosmos complete itself” in my or you?

    Talk about confusing and yet somewhere inside me, these words resonate much more than “Be ye perfect…” Somehow, someway I sense that understanding these words are some of the treasures in the chest/Bible that I mentioned. To put it another way, they are “The Hidden Gospel,” to quote the title of a Neil Douglas-Klotz book. Along with the true “self” that the apostle Paul mentions in Romans 7, I can recognize a lot of other “selves” in me. There is the victim, the judge, the little kid, and who knows how many others. I do need to grow so those selves are outgrown and the true self can emerge, the part of me that can truly say “I am.” And as amazing as it sounds, I can actually believe that somehow the God is completing Himself/Herself/Itself in each of us. To quote the Bible “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” The “Day of Jesus Christ” is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

    It seems to me that we are all waiting for Jesus to burst through the clouds and rescue humanity from the devil and the anti-Christ some day in the future. I have a feeling God is waiting for Jesus Christ to be revealed in us today, thereby rescuing us from our “selves” and transforming the world in the process. The kingdom is within. We are the Temple of God and God is in His/Her Temple. It is time we stop looking outside ourselves for this revelation and instead look inside ourselves. The Revelation of Jesus Christ takes place in you and me.

    Blessings, shalom, namaste

    Doug Trudell

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