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Archived Message

Sunday, August 26, 2001

"Human reason is antagonistic to Spiritual Truth."

                       This week's message is taken from "The Thunder of Silence" by Joel S. Goldsmith, however, some of the material presented here has been paraphrased.  His words, although not mine, are a reflection of my own belief regarding the ministry of Jesus.

              
For hundreds of years before Moses, the Hebrews had been living in a state of slavery with little or no opportunity to make advances in education, culture, religion, art, or the sciences; and under such circumstances it is not surprising that they were living without any greatly developed moral sense.  To these people, Moses presented a higher way of life, the backbone of which was the Ten Commandments.  If those commandments were obeyed, a person was considered as fine a type of citizen as could be expected, and moreover, if in addition to that he also obeyed the dietetic laws and a few other customs, he merited the title of a good Hebrew.  If the law were disobeyed, all the offender could expect was to be stoned or excommunicated.  Little or no concept of love was embraced in this teaching.  It was strictly a teaching of moral and ethical laws.

              When Jesus came, he taught a way of life which was not primarily concerned with changing the negative sense of life into the positive, but with rising above both the negative and the positive into the spiritual.  It should not be forgotten that as a Hebrew rabbi in the organized Hebrew church, Jesus was authorized to speak and preach from its platform; nor should it be forgotten that what he preached was not called Christianity:  There was no Christianity.  Moreover, he did not preach to Christians:  There were no Christians.  He was a Hebrew rabbi preaching to Hebrews.

                Jesus received an illumination which gave him an entirely new religious teaching, something which heretofore had been unknown to the Hebrews.  He went far beyond the karmic law of the Old Testament in his teaching of One Power.  As he taught this revelation to the men and women of his day, it made them free of all ritual and dogma, so free that the church would not tolerate the man or his teaching.  What else but hatred and fear could they feel for one of their own who turned his back upon some of their long established and most cherished practices, such as the insistence on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem once a year for the purpose of paying tithes as well as the observance of other rituals.  Jesus' very turning away from these observances was a silent criticism and condemnation of that in which they had placed their trust for so long.

              Jesus brought to light the truth that spiritual welfare is in no way related to the rigid observance of any forms or rituals, but has to do with the state of consciousness developed by the individual.  He preached a new dimension of life, a higher consciousness, which required dying to old beliefs.  He made it clear that new wine cannot be added to old bottles, that is, that this new dispensation could not merely be added to the old Hebraic mode of life, but that the old would have to be exchanged for the new because the two were contradictory.

             In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus summarizes the difference between Judaism and his new teaching which was not yet known as Christianity but as the teaching of a radical and independent-thinking Hebrew rabbi.  This teaching is revealed in the word Grace.  The law came by Moses, "but grace and truth by Jesus Christ."  This grace and truth mean something quite different than what is meant by the law.  And so for three hundred years after Jesus' ministry, there were people traveling up and down the Holy Land, crossing over into Rome and Greece, teaching and preaching not the law as set forth in the Hebrew faith, but a something new, a something startling, something different called grace and truth which gradually came to be known as the teaching of Christianity.

             The first followers of his teaching were called Jewish Christians because they were Jews who were followers of the Christ.  In fact, in those early days, only those who were Hebrews could become Christians.  But eventually Paul and Peter realized that this Christ-teaching was more than just a different kind of Judaism.  It was unique, something separate and distinct of its own, and gradually it came to pass that in order to become a Christian, it was not necessary to be a Hebrew first.

             
When Christianity became organized, it adopted the Old Testament teaching of a punishing God, perhaps in the vain hope that it might frighten people into being good; but as a matter of fact that very teaching, far from being a deterrent to evil-doing, is probably responsible for many of the sins committed in the world today.
    
[paraphrased - Joel S. Goldsmith from "The Thunder of Silence"]

               We are now in the Year 2001, it is time to reclaim and embrace the Religion of Jesus.  Religious Science is the Religion of Jesus.  We must turn from the belief in two powers, Good and Evil, we must turn from those who try to convince us that there is a Power apart from God, and awaken to the truth that God Is All There Is, "there is none other."  In the words of the Radical Rabbi, we must "know the Truth and the Truth will set us free."

                                
 And So It Is!           

Letting Love use me in Its own Good Way,
Henry Lee Bates