Friday, March 18, 2016

ACIM, AA and Easter – Part 2

Happy Easter to everyone.
Last week [Msg-2-Mar-2016] I opened the message with: “Over the years of writing these messages, I have received many comments, criticisms and questions about Jesus, the Bible and the role of Christian dogma as the root of a good spiritual path. What does A Course in Miracles (ACIM), old-timers in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), as well as my own resurrection from the death of alcoholism have to say about the formal Christian story? As we approach Palm Sunday, followed by Good Friday/Easter, I think it is time to share some of my thoughts on these topics – based on my experiential faith / knowledge.” This week’s message continues that discussion.
Easter, to Christians, is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus following his crucifixion several days earlier. I want to discuss with you some of ACIM’s understandings of the Resurrection, Jesus, the Christ, and Atonement. Much of the source material for the following is from the “Glossary of Terms from A Course In Miracles,” Robert Perry, Circle Publishing, 2005.
Resurrection:  As opposed to the biblical interpretation that the resurrection was the raising of Jesus body, proving that he was divine, ACIM states that it was not proof of Jesus’ divine status but rather a demonstration of a general truth: that life cannot be destroyed and indeed is the only reality. [T-3,I.7:6-7]. Over and over again the Course mentions there is no death. Consequently, the resurrection of Jesus referred to the reawakening of his own mind to the reality of Love and the vision of the Holy Spirit rather than the revivification of his physical body. The resurrection also refers to “…the rising of the mind and of the entire Sonship (all of humanity) from the ego’s dream of death to the awareness of eternal life, from insanity to perfectly healed perception.
Jesus: All of humanity, including Jesus of Nazareth, is, collectively, the Son of God. However, according to ACIM, Jesus was the first to perfectly complete his part in the plan for salvation, and so become the leader in that plan and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. As part of this function, he authored A Course In Miracles [M-23.7:1]  Since we believe we are still real people in this material, real world, “…he is now the living presence in all minds and works to bring us to the realization of the homecoming that has already occurred.”
Christ:  Christian dogma teaches us that Christ is the risen Jesus, the Son of God. ACIM states, however, that all of created humankind is His One Son – Our true identity and the single Self that is shared by all. Jesus was the first to see with the vision of the Holy Spirit and to remember the truth about our shared identity in Christ. I, as well as many spiritual traditions, have stated: “I am not a body with an eternal soul. I am an already-loved eternal spirit currently having a human experience. I just need to awaken to that reality.”
Atonement:  Biblical texts refer to Atonement as the wiping away of sins by payment for them. Specifically, Jesus paid for all the sins of humanity on the cross. The Course announces that sins are wiped away by the realization that they were not real in the first place, and the rift with God never happened. As a result, ACIM tells us that Atonement is said to undo errors (rather than sins), correct perception (rather than the corruption of one’s soul), and cancel out past errors (rather than pay for them.)… Put simply, “Atonement…enables you to realize that your errors never really occurred.” [T-2.I.4:4] It wipes away what stands between us and God with knowledge that nothing stands between us and God.
Bottomline: The Christ – that is within us all, that unifies us all, that operates only in the reality of Love is the Christ that has made Himself very real to me In AA, and I was resurrected and transformed. That same Christ made Himself real to Jesus’ early followers and they, too, were transformed. Beyond that experiential Truth, all the remaining biblical and theological discourses pale in comparison. I know He is a living presence in my life.
There are questions about whose Gospel version is closer to the truth. There are questions about whether the Gospel accounts are truly historical accounts. Did He really conquer death? Did Thomas really touch Him? All these kinds of questions really don’t matter unless you have not had a life-changing encounter with Him. What He has taught me is that there is no death – except the death of that perceived illusionary world I think is real: the world of duality, lack, gain/loss, win/lose, right/wrong. Those perceptions in me must die but Felix (my ego) will fight to keep those perceptions alive – he will not go quietly into the night.
As I stated last week: The Christ of Faith and the Holy Spirit (called The Voice For God in ACIM) are still alive and well and will transform your life as soon as you willingly ask. This, however, is not a once-and-done kind of thing. It’s a daily process of choosing to see events, people and situations differently and asking the Holy Spirit to make it so. It is just like my recovery from alcoholism. It is a “one-day-at-a-time” kind of process.
To crucify Jesus all over again I only need to cloud the face of Christ in someone I meet by not recognizing that the person in front of me is simply a mirror of my perception. The Hindus convey the same idea with their “NAMASTE” greeting (The God in me recognizes the God in you), as does the ancient Mayan greeting “IN LAKECH” (You are but another me). When I cannot envision the face of Christ in someone, it is always because my faulty perception has interfered and blurred the image. However, I cannot will myself to be Christ-centered. I can only be open and willing to see with the vision of the Holy Spirit rather than with my eyes of sight. The Voice for God will provide me with that vision – that new perception.
As stated in ACIM in Chapter 26, Section IX: “Is it too much to ask a little trust for [that someone in front of you] who carries Christ to you, that you may be forgiven all your sins, and left without a single one you cherish still? Forget not that a shadow held between your brother and yourself obscures the face of Christ and memory of God.” [T: 26, IX, 2:1-2]]

#3 Mar 2016

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