Do you have the Rock that anchors your soul?

When Simon crosses the Lake …and climbs into the boat with Jesus those in the boat worship him and say “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Do you see what I did? I used a few words and arranged them in an ambiguous way. I did this to prove a point. The disciples call Simon, Peter, the rock. The disciples also call Jesus the Rock and worship Jesus as the Son of God.

So why do Bible commentaries and modern editors arrange the words in the Jesus walking on water passage to make it seem like Peter is not The Rock that anchors their souls? Why do they set themselves and others up to criticize and reject Peter as The Rock that the builders rejected?

Has Simon tricked or deceived them?

Jesus calls Simon, the Rock on which I build my church.  So why would Jesus ask Simon the Rock to do something that only magicians or wizards like Simon the Magus could do – unless of course Simon the Rock is Simon the Magus?

Commentators will say Simon the Magus is a wizard and a false prophet who called himself Bar Jesus—the Son of Jesus!

How then can Simon Magus be Simon Peter? Does not Peter in Acts 8: 18-20 admonish Simon Magus for offering to give money for the services of the Holy Spirit?

Mm…unless of course Peter the Rock is admonishing himself and like a very wise old prophet…he knows that the man who criticizes himself and admits when he has done something wrong, is a righteous man, a man who can turn from his sins.

Why you ask, did Simon Peter look up in fear when he saw the powerful wind and sink into the water?  By looking up and recognizing the Wind’s “awesome” power as the Breath of God, the Holy Spirit, he admits She Jesus is not a ghost, or a woman of the evening he and other men can pay to touch them. This admission demonstrates Simon as the Rock who lets himself be dunked, baptized, washed clean and born again by Her “awesome” power. With this dunking, Simon becomes Bar Jesus!

Take heart. Do not be afraid. You too can sink into the water and be born again. You can learn the mystery of what it means to be a person of “little” faith.

There is more to this “walking on the water story” and there is definitely something “fishy” about it and the name Simon! Like Jonah, Simon a skilled mariner gets called and tossed into a situation that causes him to sink like a rock into the sea.

Commentators are right. Simon is a false or fickle prophet because he has one or more fictitious names and these names are like a millstone or an anchor weighing him down. So, who then is the true prophet in the boat at the helm? Is he a man without a pseudonym and someone who knows why the Woman has anointed him ?

Simon says in Luke 7:39, “If this man (the Christos, the anointed one) were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.”

Can the birth name, the true name, of this prophetic teacher anointed by the Woman as the Christos be Alexander, the disciple of Simon? (Mark 15:21).

This idea sounds incredible, I know. Take heart. The Acts of the Apostles add more details.

Alexander is the one the Jews push forward to defend Paul’s teaching (Acts 19:33). In the Greek Interlinear text, the text says Apollo (the god of prophecy) was born an Alexandrian by name and race and proves to be Christ Jesus (Acts 18:24; 28)

Beware. Do not let Simon’s pseudonym and those of other Biblical characters deceive you, or the Prophetic Teacher the Sinner Woman anoints blind you and keep you from experiencing the resurrection for yourselves.

People of “little” faith have an anchor they can be sure…is grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.  When the Pilot hoists the anchor, and brings it up into the boat and the wind picks up…the boat puts out to sea and escapes many Pauline perils and treacherous shoals with the faithful “little” mother known to many as Paul. Paul is the “little” person of faith who sallied forth and braved many stormy seas writing letters for the love of friends to show and tell the Good News.

Paul writing a letter addressed to the Thessalonians, says. “Those who believe that Jesus died and rose again…will see the Lord return…and those that died believing will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18). Believers can count on it. Paul is an apostle, someone whose testimony and experiences also prove the risen Christ Jesus (Acts 18:5).

Christians can and have taken heart down through history, encouraging one another when the storms of life cloud or blind their vision and cause them or their loved ones to lose sight of one another, forgetting the promise of eternal life.

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible

My recently published book “The Ecumenical Affair” gives the Woman Caught in Adultery a voice. An affair is not breaking news. And yet, when I finally decided to publish my book, the publishing company that recruited me and convinced me to self-publish, rejected my manuscript. They did not like that the story takes place at the 6th and 7th Assemblies of the World Council of Churches. Nor did the publisher like the sex scene or the phrases I included that conveyed sexual desire.

The rationale of the publisher that recruited my manuscript supported traditional, Christian, family values.  They felt my story was not suitable for families or for young readers. To their credit, the recruiter re-brokered me a deal with Balboa, the self-publishing arm of Hay House and readers can buy my book now.

What has happened to Christian values? Have Christians forgotten how Jesus stood up to the crowd of people wanting to stone and silence the Woman Caught in Adultery and her story?

Until 1969, the Gospel Woman Caught in Adultery had a name. She was not just some undesirable person excluded from Jesus’ ministry.  All over the world, people saw the Woman Caught in Adultery as Mary Magdalene. Since the rise of feminism, Mary Magdalene is no longer identified as the Woman Caught in Adultery.  Many feminists and exegetes now say there is no proof that Mary Magdalene was ever married so she could not possibly have committed adultery. Nor, so many say, is there any proof that Mary was a prostitute who slept with the married men catching her in the very act of adultery.  So, many Christians are now asking, “Who is Mary Magdalene? Why did the Teacher speak with her “face to face” in the Garden of the tombs? Why is she weeping?

At the 6th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, people asked each other. “What does “Good News” look like?” Some said, “Good News gives the marginal person a place at the table.” When the 6th Assembly delegates spoke of the marginal person, many saw the marginal person as someone who was undesirable and most often poor with no legitimate means of physical support.

Today’s United Church Christology is one that includes everyone at the table. Sunday’s sermon at St Andrew’s Wesley United Church in downtown Vancouver, lifted up the marginal with the parable of the Mustard Seed. The Minister, an openly gay man married to an openly gay Vancouver city councillor proudly told his story of how he and other persons of the LGBTQ + community were like mustard seeds, weeds that could plant themselves and grow into a bush and then a tree.

The United Church like many mainline churches says the Spirit is like God’s breath. It is invisible and it is blowing inside the marginal who are like the seeds of the mustard tree who plant themselves in many places where they are not wanted.

I left Sunday’s service feeling invisible and marginalized as a straight widowed woman in a predominately LGBTQ+ congregation–clinging to the old conflation theory that insists Mary Magdalene was the Woman Caught in Adultery.  Granted, by writing and self-publishing “The Ecumenical Affair,” I have marginalized myself. I have told my own story in such a way as to support my Master of Arts Liberal Studies thesis that claims Jesus was the married man who spent the night with Mary Magdalene.

People do not want to admit that Jesus the Teacher slept with Mary Magdalene. If they did, I think that would seriously challenge Christians to rethink their Christology and redemption theories.

July 21 and 22, the weekend of Mary Magdalene’s feast day, I attended a process theology workshop at St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church. Marjorie Suchocki, the author of “Through a Lens Darkly: Tracing Redemption in Film” opened the workshop outlining the different redemption theories Christians have adopted down through the centuries. Suchocki then showed clips of the film “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrade,” as well as the films “Chocolat” and “Troubled Waters.” These films challenged the “Substitutionary Atonement Theory of Redemption.”

The “Substitutionary Atonement Theory supports” the Christology that Jesus is sinless and offers himself as a willing sacrifice to pay the penalty of humanity’s sin, bringing forgiveness, making humanity righteous again and reconciling humanity to God. The problem for many process theologians is this atonement theory lets humanity off the hook. It does not give humanity the opportunity to face the Truth, to say. “Yes, I, we did it.”

The three workshop films hound the bad guy until he faces the Truth and admits his guilt, repents and seeks forgiveness. At the conclusion of the day, Marjorie Suchocki asked what Truth, Christians need to face? Someone mentioned the Residential School scandal.

I went home from the workshop thinking. “Will Christians ever face the Truth—that Jesus loved both Martha and Mary? Will the Truth remain invisible, and undesirable?  Is the Truth exceedingly bitter, too worrisome and too much for Martha and the children to face in post-colonial times?

Little Children and Jesus

When I was a little child I saw Jesus as a man who took children on his knee, like Santa Claus. When I asked my brother to remember how he saw Jesus as a child, he said he couldn’t recall how he saw Jesus. But he remembers seeing the lady Sunday School teacher as God.

In church this past Sunday, the lady Sunday School minister and the children led in the Worship Service. A child with the name Nicolas read the Scripture verse Mark 10: 14.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

The Sunday School Minister, now called Sunday Club Leader, told us adults that children know God and if we would only ask them, they would teach us about God.  It was her opinion that children were not empty vessels waiting to be filled with the knowledge of God.  It seemed to me she was saying, children are born knowing God.

So, what happens to this knowledge of God that little children are born with? Where does it go as we grow up? Why are there so many atheists and agnostics living in the world today who are convinced God’s promise of eternal life is impossible.

I remember lying in my crib when I was a baby.  I knew I was wearing a cloth diaper. I can still see the bars of the crib… the light streaming in from the window on my left. I remember thinking, I have been alive forever. I cannot remember a time when I was not alive.

This past Sunday, the Sunday Club Leader and the Children demonstrated a Godly Play lesson, a typical Sunday Club discussion session. Dressed in costume, they read a paraphrased translation from the following passage:

Now one of the scribes had come up and … asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord,  and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” “Right, Teacher, the scribe replied. “You have stated correctly that God is One and there is no other but Him, and to love Him with all your heart and with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, which is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that the man had answered wisely, He said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12: 28-34)

The children then asked themselves and us the following questions:

  1. What did you like best about this passage?
  2. Where are you in this passage?
  3. What is the most important part?
  4. If you could leave out something, what would you leave out?

Mark’s passage puzzled me. I couldn’t think of anything I liked best about it. So, I went to the next question. That too left me puzzling.  My mind focused on the part where Jesus said the Lord our God is One Lord. I asked myself. Why would Jesus say the Lord our God is One Lord? This was what was tripping me up?

Orthodox teaching says God is Love because God is Triune. [i]

At some point in Sunday’s service, the Sunday Club Teacher told those of us listening that kids often get what us adults miss and simply lack the language to express it.

So, I asked myself, “how might a child explain the Trinity? And I thought, well children often love their teachers like my brother did when he was little and see them as God.

Reflecting on Mark I thought of a simple way to express the Trinity.

God is One because God is Love and Loving makes us One.

Going home I reflected further with the Sunday Club Song that we sang in my head:

Like a rock, like a rock, God is under our feet.
Like the starry night sky God is over our head.
Like the sun on the horizon God is ever before.
Like the river runs to ocean,
our home is in God evermore.[ii]

Did I get it? Did others? Letting the children come to Jesus has always been a big deal. There are some things Jesus said and did that some adults want to deny or keep hidden from other adults and especially little children.  Yet, Jesus loves the little children and wants the little children to know the Truth and how hard it is to admit the Truth when we think the Truth will get us in trouble or cause the people we love to lose respect for us.

Kings, elders and leaders sometimes say and do things that hurt and offend people, just like children do.  Sometimes an apology will make things right again, and other times a leader must face the Truth and say.  Yes I did that and admitting it is something that is exceedingly bitter for me.  Please do not contact me right now.  I need to retire, to be left alone for awhile, to make peace with myself, with my family, my priest and my neighbours.

Jesus the Teacher called the Woman who anointed him with her tears, a sinner and called Peter, the Rock on which the Church is built—Satan.  How could Jesus the Teacher say such things? Peter the Rock on which the Church is built, told the Woman at the door, that he did not even know this man called Jesus. Why would the Rock say such a thing?

Adults want their children to see Jesus the Teacher as a perfect human being who is the best leader ever who never said anything mean or did anything to make someone else get hurt. Like my brother and I did when we were three years old, many Christians see Jesus the Teacher as God and incapable of making a wrong turn, getting himself tarnished with soot, or getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

So, I went home and sat down to think things through.  If I could leave something out, what would it be? It would be the phrase “not far off”. But then again, I thought this phrase is the most important part. It is the part that challenges me to think about who the Scribe is and what role I play in the passage. Because that part challenged me the most, I now say it is the part of the passage that I like the best.

Where am I in this passage? I am the one to whom Jesus says “Hear O Israel.” It is the part of the passage I didn’t hear in the paraphrase read by the children. They may have excluded it. I can’t say.

The Wise Scribe not far off from the Kingdom is the Rock. He stands like the children at the door—not far off—waiting for Jesus the Teacher and the disciples to welcome him in as the Rock, the Father of the Messianic Kingdom–who loves and forgives them as they love and forgive him.

Right! Sunday’s lesson makes sense to me now. God is One because God is Love and Loving makes us One.

Peter the Rock is the very wise scribe who spoke with Jesus the Teacher. He is the Lord the chief builders rejected.  He like many of you has much to learn and much to teach and say to the revered Teacher wearing the Robe about what it is like to be beaten and discriminated against.  Simon Peter the Wise Scribe, like many psalmists and bards, has had to work at many things such as gardening, fishing, carpentry, and even magic to sustain himself and perfect his craft. He has a storehouse of knowledge, just waiting to be mined and developed.

[i] William H. Lazareth, The Triune God: The Supreme Source of Life (Thoughts Inspired by Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity). Document TH4-4 Vancouver BC: World Council of Churches Sixth Assembly, 1983, 1.

[ii] words: Keri Wehlander, Adaptation to music: Linnea Good, ©1999 Borealis Music http://www.LinneaGood.com

Russian News Source reports: POD OF DOLPHINS BRINGS ICON OF The mother of god to shore in Sochi

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/104337.htm

This incredible event happened on May 17th 2017. Surely this is a miracle equal to the big catch witnessed by Peter and the disciples gathered by the shore after Easter.

The 12 dolphins brought a mud encrusted icon of the Mother of God to shore. The disciples brought a fish numbering 153, a number long regarded by mathematicians as the icon of the Vesica Piscis.

For centuries before John wrote the Gospel story of the big catch, mathematicians and people using gematria equated the number 153 with the Vesica Piscis and Mary Magdalene.  The Vesica Piscis, the bladder of the fish, is the shape of the space between the intersection of two circles with identical radii.

The ratio of this space between the two intersecting circles is 265/153.

Vesica_piscis_circles.svg
Figure 1 By Tomruen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44856416

Since the average gestation period for the human fetus is 265 days after the night or day of conception, it has been suggested that the Vesica Piscis is the Womb of Life, the yoni of the goddess https://www.britannica.com/topic/yoni.

So, one would think that 265 rather than 153 would have become the abbreviated number for the ratio of the Vesica Piscis. Yet 153 is the divisor and the multiplier and perhaps that is why it gained more significance.

Margaret Starbird and many people down through the ages have suggested that the Fish caught in Peter’s net with the number 153 is the Vesica Piscis, the long-lost Bride of Christ.

According to the Neoplatonist Iamblichus writing in the 3rd century CE, Pythagoras told a story very similar to John’s story of the miraculous catch to his students in the 3rd century BCE because the Vesica Piscis is a foundational concept for geometry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_catch_of_fishhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous_catch_of_fish

So, this mathematical evidence suggests that John may have used this story for a similar purpose—to reinforce the authority of the Mother of God and all women.

Mathematics is said to be a universal language. It may be the common ground that can unite believers and non-believers with a shared conviction that the Vesica Piscis and all women are created in the image and likeness of the very womb of creation. In the Christian context, Mary and other women are absolutely necessary for the bodily resurrection of the risen Christ, the next generation of Christians.

Unless women and men have sexual desire or some inclination to have intercourse with the opposite sex, they will not beget any children. Without sons and daughters in their networks, humanity won’t have the abundant, eternal life that Jesus promises. Granted, not all people have to be heterosexual or sexual. However, according to John’s Gospel, Jesus is.  Jesus is the Bridegroom of John’s Resurrection Story, the very one who belongs with the Bride (John 3:29).

The number 153 like the Trinity, is a triangular number.

The number 153https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/153_(number). The addition of the first seventeen numbers 1+ 2 + 3 + 4+ 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17 = 153.

According to Margaret Starbird, the number 153 is the sum of the Greek letters in the title η μαγδαληνη, the Magdalene—in gematria. Gematria is the Greek and Hebrew literary technique that assigns a numerical value to each letter of the alphabet to reinforce the meaning of the text (Magdalene’s Lost Legacy: Symbolic Numbers and the Sacred Union in Christianity, 41;139).

Margaret Starbird and others are sure that Mary and Magdalene and Jesus were married. Yet, many scholars like Darrell L. Bock say that Mary better serves her community as a disciple, not a wife and as such makes a better witness to the risen Jesus (Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answering the Questions Everybody’s Asking, 167).

As a feminist, one might think it would be better that Mary be remembered as a serious scholar or disciple rather than a bride or wife who is subservient to a groom or husband, especially if she was a notorious sinner in need of repentance. However, in my view, a serious mature Christian and feminist can celebrate the Magdalene as the Cross of Jesus and the Mother of God, the feminine body of Jesus, the Fish emblazoned with the number 153.

One may ask, how can any serious Christian or Magdalene devotee celebrate the Magdalene as the Cross that caused Jesus to suffer and to die?  One simple way is to think about the Cross as a person, as a female, as the Magdalene.

Think of the Woman who brazenly anointed the Teacher in front of Simon an esteemed elder of the faith. Simon and the Teacher in that story both say the Woman is a sinner. The Teacher and Simon both know she has sinned. However, by anointing the Teacher in front of Simon, the Woman is asking Simon and those who love her to forgive her, get behind her and lift her up as a forgiven sinner and an example of the kind of love that brings peace and the assurance of eternal life. At the conclusion of the anointing story, the Woman goes in peace.

As history bears out, many disciples simply dismiss the Anointing Woman as a sinner and a loose woman and fail to hear her voice in the stories of Jesus.

Many people see Jesus as the perfect, obedient Teacher whose teaching caused such controversy that the government of the day had him crucified…silenced with Mary Magdalene clinging and weeping at his feet.

Movie makers, artists, song writers and story tellers have exploited this story to depict the suffering of an almost naked male as if he was actually nailed to a wooden cross.

This image of the suffering Christ makes it nearly impossible for anyone suggesting the crucifixion is a meta-metaphor, an icon par excellence. Yet, I believe the Cross is the icon of the Mother of God who presented herself as the “fallen woman” to teach people the resurrecting miracle of love and faith that can bring people back to life—even after 2 millennia.

Paul says, I died with Christ, the anointed one when he accepted the Cross (Galatians 2:20). According to Paul, Christ accepted the Cross and died to the Law and came alive again as the Law of Love took root in his heart and soul (Romans 6: 5-11). In other words, Paul and Christ’s followers died to their former sinful ways that failed to love and honour both our Mother and our Father and our neighbour as ourselves (Romans 6: 5-11).

Paul, Cephas and Apollos realize that the crucifixion can divide believers and separate the mature Christians from the infants (1 Corinthians 1:11-13). Like Paul and the first Christians, the Cross causes believers to quarrel, suffer and work patiently to free people enslaved by old prejudices and religious values that fail to openly recognize the Father of Alexander and Rufus as the one shouldering and lifting up the Cross!

The Father of Alexander and Rufus is a key verse (Mark 15:21). His name is Simon and he opens and closes the door with his body and permits only those Christians who love to see Jesus face to face. Another important fact that the mature Christian needs to know is that Alexander was long regarded as the incarnation of the Greek God Apollo.

These two keys, point to a third. Rufus is the Latin word for red-haired one. The Woman recognized down through history as Mary Magdalene who brazenly anointed the Teacher in front of Simon was depicted as being the red-haired one, the one having red hair (Mark 15:21; Luke 7:36-50).

The Cross is an easy mystery or code to crack for intelligent beings. She is the Icon of all icons and she has been muddied and tossed into the abyss. Mature Christians seeking to free people enslaved by old prejudices and religious values can easily and patiently remove the mud without damaging the Iconic Cross and see the Glory of God for themselves.

So, stop doubting and believe. It was no accident or coincidence that a pod of dolphins swam into shore on May 17th 2017 and spit out a muddied icon of the Mother of God. Dolphins are intelligent mammals.

 

 

 

 

 

Love Quotes

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned. (Song of Songs 8: 6-8)

Have you ever wondered about Jesus’ love life and his sexuality? Did Jesus desire Martha or Mary Magdalene with the intensity reflected in the Song of Solomon, also known as the Song of Songs, quoted above?

The Church teaches that Jesus was a king as powerful and wise as King Solomon, but maintains, unlike Solomon who had 700 wives and 300 concubines, Jesus was celibate. He resisted all temptation to give in to sexual desire.

The recent Dan Brown book “The Da Vinci Code” suggests otherwise. “The Da Vinci Code” suggests that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married and that Jesus fathered a female child. Although the book is immensely popular, many prominent church theologians adamantly refute the claim that Jesus was married or that he fathered a child.

In my view, Dan Brown has done Christianity a great service. Christianity needs to get over its prudishness. Love and sexual desire can be dangerous. It is like fire. Yet, without fire, we humans will remain like people who have not experienced the benefits of fire.

One would think the Gospel and Jesus would show us how to love one another as passionately as the Woman and the Man in the Song of Songs.

Consider this quote:

I slept, but my heart was awake.
Listen! my beloved is knocking.
“Open to me, my sister, my love,
my dove, my perfect one;
for my head is wet with dew,
my locks with the drops of the night.”
I had put off my garment;
how could I put it on again?
I had bathed my feet;
how could I soil them?
My beloved thrust his hand into the opening,
and my inmost being yearned for him.
I arose to open to my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with liquid myrrh,
upon the handles of the bolt.
I opened to my beloved,
but my beloved had turned and was gone.
My soul failed me when he spoke.
I sought him, but did not find him;
I called him, but he gave no answer.
Making their rounds in the city
the sentinels found me;
they beat me, they wounded me,
they took away my mantle,
those sentinels of the walls.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
if you find my beloved,
tell him this:
I am faint with love. (Song of Songs 5: 2-8)

In my Master’s thesis, “Mary Magdalene: Her image and relationship to Jesus”, I suggest that Martha is the beloved wife of Jesus the Teacher.

In Luke 10:40, Martha is concerned about all the work a household full of disciples demands. She says: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.”

The Lord answers: 41 “Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha is the wife, the housewife of the Gospel. In my view, this is why Jesus calls her Martha, not once but twice and why Martha calls him Lord. Martha is an Aramaic word that means Lady. Many people miss this fact.  For 2000 years, many people like Dan Brown have insisted that Mary Magdalene, not Martha, was and is the Bride and the Church that Jesus gave himself up for (Ephesians 5:24). My thesis maintains that Mary chooses not to “help” Martha with her housewifely duties and upholds the fact that Jesus tells Martha that Mary’s choice will not be taken away from her. It is the better choice because Mary goes and anoints Jesus the “good teacher” in a sensual way that shocked people to challenge the hypocrisy and double standard within Patriarchy.

In the Song of Songs, the Woman wisely scorns the Man who offers her all the wealth of his house. Like the Rich Person of the Gospel, when the “Good Teacher” asks her to give up all her wealth to become one of his beloved companions, the Woman chooses not to give into this temptation. Instead she holds to her faith and to this song sung by faithful women down through the ages, trusting that the Man who loves her, will revive her with his beautiful singer’s voice when she is faint with love.

Consider this quote:

O you who dwell in the gardens,
my companions are listening for your voice;
let me hear it.

14 Make haste, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or a young stag
upon the mountains of spices!

Some people who have read my book “The Ecumenical Affair” are shocked and offended. In my book, I reveal an erotic affair that really and truly happened during an international religious conference.

In “The Ecumenical Affair,” I weave in quotes from the Song of Songs and other Gospel texts to suggest that the Woman having the affair sees herself as the Woman of Song of Songs. She’s not a prostitute. She’s a homemaker whose marriage is dead.  Her marriage doesn’t have the spark, the passion of the Song of Songs. This adulterous affair and its exilic aftermath causes her like Mary Magdalene to see her adulterous lover as the Gardener, the man of Song of Songs.

I think what is shocking and offensive about “The Ecumenical Affair” is the idea that I have suggested that the Greek, the Woman’s adulterous lover, is Jesus the Teacher.  One would think that the Greek, his wife and the ecumenical community of faith would see this as flattering. However, for the moment, this does not seem to be the case.

I think people’s reaction to my book may be similar to the photo someone tweeted of a naked woman walking down the street wearing only paint. Looking at the photo, it is obvious that people have noticed and are pretending not to have noticed. Similarly, with my book, people have noticed and are not sure how to react. What they see is beautiful and artistic. And yet, it challenges their morality. It asks. “Is the Jesus worshipped by millions over the years as God incarnate the man caught in adultery? Is this his human side, the side more like King Solomon and his father, King David than the church allows people to admit?”

 

 

The Heineken Beer Commercial

Last week this Facebook post caught my eye.

Cheers to you Heineken! Everyone should raise a glass to the famous beer company…
GLOBETODAY.COM|BY GLOBE TODAY

 

When I watched the video, my first thought was WOW! Good on Heineken. Prejudice needs to be questioned. And then I looked for the bias behind the Beer Ad.  It was subtle and it was there. If you’re in denial about climate change…you need to get with it. If you’re struggling to accept the LBGT community…you need to get to know them.  If you’re a Trump supporter…you need to resist his slick business ways and hold onto the “good things” like the beer summit that Obama prompted.

I like to think that I am open to all points of views. In saying that, I also know I offend those who have less open views. I think it is important to love all people. Not all people hold that view.  Some people I love and admire greatly, think some people are mean and nasty and undeserving of  love or respect.

In many of my posts, I put forth the idea that Simon the Cyrene was the Spiritual Father who carried the Cross of Jesus. Mark’s Gospel 15:21 says that Simon the Cyrene was the Father of Alexander and Rufus, a red haired person.  Yet tradition argues that Simon was most likely black because Cyrene was a Greek North African colony.  Others argue there is no proof that Simon was black just because he or his ancestors came from there. Moreover, people may assume that Rufus is male and assume that Simon was white because Rufus is a masculine Latin word for “the red-haired one” and it is unlikely a black man could father a red-haired child.  Others may argue. “Who cares?” Still others may insist.  “The Bible is not racist or sexist.”

So how can we all be right?  In last week’s post I posted that 1 Peter 2:22 has probably caused the most arguments than any other.  I then brought up Paul’s opinion that believers are put right with God through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22).  I failed to mention that Paul’s and Peter’s assertions have been used to demonize non-Christians and to convert them to the “politically” correct religion.

I also suggested that the Truth was a Tender Lie. I supported this idea that originally came from the TENDER LIES album of singer song writer DONSTEWART.  The stance that many people of faith now take is one of equivocation. They simply put themselves on the fence and say…”the Truth is a mystery.”

Well the Truth is often a mystery.  Mysteries intrigue many people who seek to unravel and reveal them.  For as Jesus once said. “Nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17). Still others like to create mysteries and do their best to keep the Truth hidden in a Gordian knot. While still others silently lift up a mirror and let people see the Truth for themselves.

Why do you think the Heineken Beer commercial ad posted by Globe Today went viral? Is the Truth prejudiced?  Is the media?  Is the Truth a mystery that cannot be unravelled. Did you notice?  When you click on the ad presented by Globe Today the picture of the black man and the red-haired woman is nowhere in the actual ad. That’s what caught my attention. Thanks for the lift Globe Today. Cheers!

 

 

Tender Lies

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Christians are to follow Christ’s example (1 Peter 2:21).

“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

This statement traditionally thought to have been written by Peter probably causes more people to stumble and argue than any statement in the whole Gospel. If any believer attempts to say. “Hey wait a minute. Christ did not observe the Sabbath Law. Or what about that adulterous affair.” Others may jump in and say. “No, it was the disciples who broke the Sabbath. The Woman was a slut. She was sleeping with all the village men.”

Paul says that believers who try to justify their righteousness through obedience to the Law are doing the impossible. The Law merely reveals sin.  Faith in Jesus Christ is what makes the believer righteous (Romans 3:20-22).

So, what are Peter and Paul saying? Are Christians supposed to sit idly by and let people abuse them and treat them unjustly?

Have you ever suffered the abuse of someone who calls you a liar, when you are doing your best to tell the truth? What do you do? Do you argue back? Does this make them back off? No!

So, what can you do, when you know that your truth is just as valid as the one calling you a liar?  You know you are not a liar. Your perception of things is not tied to just what comes out of a person’s mouth. It comes from the action, the emotion of the situation and the subtle little euphemisms that allude to truth in a polite, non-offensive way.

Jesus called Peter Satan. Satan is thought to be the biggest liar of all. Why would Jesus call Peter the very Rock of Christianity the worst liar of all? Can anyone honestly say, no deceit has ever come out of Christ’s mouth? Can anyone honestly say, no deceit has ever come out of their mouth?

Jesus was a great story teller. Story tellers give fictitious names to their characters to conceal their true identities.  Jesus used hyperbole. Hyperbole is exaggerating or stretching the truth to make a point.

Denying the Truth outright is a lie.  So is evading the truth by saying nothing. A clever way to lie so that no deceit comes out of one’s mouth is to evade the question all together and change the subject or ask a question.

Sometimes when one is hurt and feeling bitterly treated, one may feel justified to punish the abuser with silence and withdraw –wash one’s hands of the relationship. So, it sure sounds like the Rock is a liar. After all—didn’t the Rock deny even knowing some “fellow” called Jesus of Nazareth? (Matthew 26:71-73).

Peter is spot on and so is Paul.  The righteousness of God is revealed through faith in Jesus Christ. Believers need to know who Jesus Christ is so they can see how the Lord Jesus Christ reveals the Truth and how the Lord Jesus Christ lifts up a mirror to save people from war like behaviour—and the tyranny of injustice and legalistic or myopic thinking.

Jesus is the Rock who says no deceit comes out of Christ’s mouth. Jesus is the Christ and Christ is Jesus. The two are one and Christ is the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4). When Jesus uses hyperbole, or tells a parable or creates a metaphor to illustrate a point, Jesus is being deceitful, strictly speaking, and makes the Rock out to be a liar.

Believers need to open their eyes and trust what they see. Jesus is three persons who are tied to one another for all eternity. Their faith in one another is the Truth that Christians need to focus on. Jesus, the Christ and the Lord are One. Each is Jesus and each is the Christ and each is the Lord. Their faith in each other and in their triune relationship qualifies them to be the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer.

What about the text 1 Peter 2:22 that says there is no sin in Christ and no deceit ever came out of “his” mouth? The truth is the truth is a tender lie. It changes and shifts in the same way a golfer shifts the angle of a golf club to sink a putt.

People who love one another angle the truth to sink the truth into their loved one’s hearts. More importantly, when people love one another as the Mother of God loves the Father and the Son, there is no sin. There is nothing that can separate them. No power in all of Creation can destroy the Love they share with each other and all Creation. Their love is divine. It forgives and trusts the other and finds ways to show and tell this Divine Love so that no one seeking the truth will ever doubt it!

Is their relationship one of injustice? The Father judges correctly (Luke 7: 43) and listens to the Son. He realizes his mistakes and sins of omission. As such, when the time is right, he heeds what the Son says. He, as does the Woman who loves much, loves much because he too is forgiven much (Luke 7:46).

Love is patient and kind and forgives much even when the other is slow to listen, slow to see or acknowledge the other’s side or slow to be fair (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Love is a tender lie and may seem like an illusion to a humble man who finds it incredible when his Jo says. “You’re my Rock! We’ve been together since the beginning of time and nothing can separate us.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clé Opa!

If like many people, you struggle with The Emmaus Story and wonder who the heck is Cle opas? You’re not alone.

Most people just shrug their shoulders and zero in on the fact that Jesus appears after the Resurrection to a couple making their way home from the vicinity of the Cave where they have heard the body of Jesus is buried. The man’s name is Cleopas. So, one can assume they are a couple. They are discouraged because they had hoped Jesus of Nazareth would be the one to redeem Israel.

They’ve heard reports from their friends abroad. The Tomb is empty. Imagine.  How would you feel, if you had been invited to a dinner party, and when you arrive people tell you? “Don’t bother. Nobody is home.”

As the couple makes the day’s journey home, Jesus comes and walks along with them. As they talk with Jesus, they are kept from recognizing him. Something holds them back. Perhaps they are afraid for Jesus.

However, Jesus says they’re being foolish.

Jesus tells them, they need to believe all that the prophets and Moses have told them. The things that happened concerning the Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection happened according to the prophecy concerning the coming of Jesus (Luke 24:27).

Here’s a recap.

Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to the Cross (Acts 2:22) and the notorious resistance fighter Jesus Barabbas (the son of the Father) was released from prison (Matthew 27:17).

The Cross is a Tree and this Tree caused a scandal. (Rom. 9:33; Gal. 5:11; 1 Pet. 2:8). This Tree like the Burning Bush spoke. This Tree said. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”(Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5). The Father redeems the Tree. He is her rock and her redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

The Bible is filled with God stories where donkey’s talk (Number 2:28) and trees walk (Mark 8:24). Authors write and wrote The Emmaus Story and The Gospel stories so that people will believe Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God (John 20:31).

The Emmaus Story clues Christians in. The Scriptures need to be unlocked.

Christians should take the new command Jesus gave the disciples, seriously. It is one of the keys to understanding who Jesus is. Jesus told the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 18-20).

When Jesus the Son of God appears to Simon just after the mystery of the Scriptures is unlocked, the disciples exclaim, “the Lord is Risen indeed!” (Luke 24:34)

OPA!

Imagine the couple’s shock and surprise when they finally get it, when the Truth of what has happened sinks into their hearts. They are eternal. They have lived from the beginning of time.

All that happens to the Emmaus Couple and Jesus the Teacher, happens to give people hope. People die and suffer many losses and illnesses. But Love is stronger than the grave. It has the power to reunite people with their loves ones and their neighbours.  For nothing, not even 2 millennia can separate us from the Love of God.

The couple making their way home are the Key to understanding the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus the Teacher is not complete until Jesus the Bridegroom realizes he is the Clé and his Bride is the Teacher’s Opa, his oops!

The Teacher’s oops, his affair with the Woman of Luke 7:35, is no ordinary oops. It is an OPA and it is part of the prophecy.  It should be celebrated and remembered. Jesus of Nazareth is not perfect either. He needs to trust that Jesus the Teacher is a prophet who knows the Law, the Teachers of the Law, and idolatry have made the Woman a sinner (Luke 7:35;39; Psalm 31:6).

Jesus of Nazareth needs to trust what he hears, what his eyes and his heart are telling him! People are not crazy.  He died.  Some of his women pals saw  how his life as a single ordinary person ended the moment they saw him light up in the Tree’s presence and how she lit up in his.  He is the KEY and he has the Kleio safely in his pas, his all! (See  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clio).

Jesus of Nazareth is the Simon, the listening one and the one who judges correctly (Luke 7:43) who refused to believe he is God. He does not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2:6).

Yet the Nazarene’s followers insist. He is the Key of David (Revelation 3:7). He is the Eternal Father (Isaiah 9:6) who rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

The Eternal Father is the first person of the Trinity. As stated in the first four sentences of the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus Christ reveals the mystical triune nature of God (John 1: 1-4).

Jesus is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—three persons tied together for all eternity by the linen scrolls of their faith and their love for each other and all Creation.

Once Cleopas and his red-haired Bride realize who Jesus is…that Jesus is themselves talking face to face and breaking bread with the notorious Jesus Barabbas and his beloved who excels in grace giving, Jesus vanishes. Jesus becomes a cipher, a secret code that requires a Clé and an O PA!

The Twin Demands Proof!

This past Sunday I participated in a discussion group. The leader asked. “Do you believe the death and resurrection of Jesus actually happened?”

The consensus within the group was yes. If one can’t believe the death and resurrection, what point is there in being a Christian?

I suggested that the death and resurrection were symbolic. I used a story from my book The Ecumenical Affair, to illustrate how God spoke to Moses through a burning bush.

I recounted the story of how the Woman defended the idea that the bush was not an actual bush to two prominent visitors attending the 6th Assembly of the World Council of Churches.  At Noon that day, the Greek a prominent Greek philosopher and member of the Ecumenical Patriarchal Staff had invited the Woman to dine with him that evening. Also, invited to the Greek’s table that evening was his friend, a Roman Catholic father from the Vatican Staff.

The Father asked the Woman. What do you think of all those protestors denouncing this Assembly?

The Woman replied. “Oh, they’re just a bunch of Pentecostals who take the Bible literally.”

The Father says. “What do you mean? I take the Bible literally.”

The Woman says. “They don’t see the metaphors…take the burning bush for instance. Do you honestly believe that Moses actually saw and spoke to a burning bush?”

The Father replies. “Yes, if Moses said he spoke with a burning bush, I believe him.”

The more the Woman protested and offered examples of metaphors, the more excited she got. When she finally said. “A bush could be a sage…”

A Woman in Sunday’s group interjected. “What has a sage got to do with the burning bush?”

I replied, “A sage is a small bush and it is also a wise person and as I, the Woman of the story made this point, the two men suddenly started to speak rapidly and excitedly in Greek.”

The interjector continued.  “What has that got to do with a burning bush?”

I replied. “As the three of us discussed whether or not Moses actually heard God’s voice calling his name as he spoke with the burning bush, the burning bush leapt right out of the pages of scripture and appeared to me. The three persons on fire for their faith were that bush, a meta metaphor—not merely a metaphor, something more.”

The group looked skeptical.

Another offered. “I think Moses saw an actual bush with the sunlight coming down in such a way as to make it look like it was actually on fire.”

The Leader then asked. “What do others think. Was the death and resurrection meta metaphorical?”

One by one, people insisted the death and resurrection had to be more than a metaphor. It had to have happened because people have been believing for 2000 years.

People talked about near death experiences.  I mentioned that my late husband, their former minister, explained the resurrection of the Risen Christ as a spiritual one as opposed to a physical, bodily resurrection.

I said. “My late husband and I argued about this point often. I always took the stance that the resurrection had to be a physical one because Thomas demanded proof. He wanted to touch Jesus and put his fingers in the nail prints and his hand in his wounded side.”

The discussion continued with people remembering times when loved ones had died or nearly died.  The group’s experience with death was not one of fear. They felt at peace with death because of the Gospel testimony and the two-thousand-year Christian belief that God raised Jesus from the dead.

I went home thinking. “This is not good enough. Christians need to probe the enigma, the mystery, of who Jesus is and how and why Jesus the Nazarene died. The Apostle Paul is adamant. We have been crucified with Christ and we shall rise with him (Romans 6:6). More importantly, Paul says God raised Jesus from the dead so that God’s children may be knit together in love, “comforted with the full assurance of understanding, that they may acknowledge the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ” (Colossians 2:2 KJV).

 So, on Monday I started to write this blog. I started with Sunday’s Gospel reading: John 20:19-29.

In this reading, Jesus breathes on the disciples and says. “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Thomas also known as the Twin says to the disciples. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later … Jesus stands among them and says, “Peace be with you!”  Then he says to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas says to him, My Lord and my God!”

I asked myself. Why? Why would Thomas, also known as the Twin need proof?

So, I turned to the alternate reading for Sunday. It came from the Book of Acts 2:14a, 22-32 

Here is what I was looking for. In this passage, Peter stands up, raises his voice and confirms the resurrection. He says. “Jesus of Nazareth was a man certified by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through Him…He was handed over by God’s set plan … and you, by the hands of the lawless, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. ”

 The Rock stands up! Think about this. The Rock full of faith and personal conviction tells the disciples that Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to a cross and put to death with the help of the disciples and lawless people.

Think about the Cross.

Is the Cross a stake that the Romans used to kill and exterminate lawless people?  For many people, it is.  For many Christians it is a tree, a symbol of God’s Love for all eternity?

Suddenly I saw something I had not considered before. Jesus is the voice Moses heard when he heard God speaking to him in a burning bush. Jesus is also the fruitful vine wedded to the Father (Psalm 128; John 15:1) Yes of course. Jesus is The Tree!  Jesus is also the Nazarene, the rejected Rock (Acts 4:11) from Galilee who denied knowing Jesus (Luke 22:56).

Of Course. The Rock, Simon Peter is Jesus the Nazarene “the Rock” of our Salvation and he is the Father, the Husbandman, who carried the Cross, the Tree, and was nailed to it (Mark 15:21)!

According to Scripture, death is not something to be feared. God raised Jesus the Nazarene up to show people that death and sin cannot hold people. When Jesus accepted the Cross, he vanquished sin and death. He put the joys and sorrows of his old life and the mistakes of the past behind him. Going forward, he committed himself to living by the righteousness of faith in God’s promises (Romans 4:13).

So how and where does Thomas the Twin fit into this scenario? He demands proof that the resurrection happened. Why?

Early before the Resurrection is clearly happening, Mary Magdalene visits the Garden where Jesus has been placed. It’s a place where there are many tombs. She’s grieving. She’s looking for her lord. She supposes that the Rabboni might be the Gardener, the Husbandman of Psalm 128 that her soul longs for (John 20:15).

The Rabboni makes it clear to the Woman that he is not the Father, the Husbandman.  So, people should be asking, Why, does the Rabboni say he needs to ascend to the Father? This may seem trivial.

Pay attention. The Rabboni is the Messiah, the Christ, the Woman of Luke 7 anointed in front of Simon. Yes, that’s right. There are two male Messiah and one female one. That is why the Rabboni, is also called the Twin. He wants to appear to Simon the Father of the Law.

Stay with me. There is a Biblical rationale.

Thinking about Moses and the Burning Bush. I suddenly saw Thomas as the twin brother of Jesus. I also saw the Rabboni as the resurrected dead and buried Moses.  As Moses heard the Burning Bush calling his name, so too has the Rabboni heard his name being called by the Tree. The Rabboni knows he and the Lord have bitterly treated and cursed her. This is why he calls her Mary. Standing before him in tears, she is asking him to covenant with her to free the Jews and the Gentiles from the bondage imposed upon them by the Pharisees, the Fathers of the Oral Tradition and the Law of Moses that makes everyone a sinner.

Knowing and accepting that Jesus of Nazareth is also known as Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7: 36 -50) and also Simon the Cyrene (Mark 15:21) and also Simon Peter, one can begin to understand why Jesus the Rabboni also known as the Twin demands proof.

The Rabboni is the one the Woman of Luke 7 anointed as the Christ and he wants to see Simon, face to face. Simon is the Pharisee—the Father of both the Oral Tradition and the Law. The Rabboni wants to see Simon attached and fully committed to the love and support of the Tree he and Simon bitterly cursed by calling her, the Woman who loves much—a sinner (Luke 7: 36-50). She is the Burning Bush. She is Wisdom (Luke 7:35), and She is justified by the faith of all her children (Luke 7:35). Her children and his need to know her love and faith in the Father, her Rock and theirs is eternal.

Easter Joy

On Easter Sunday, one of the readings came from Paul’s first letter to the Church at Corinth, chapter 15: 1-8. The Other reading came from Matthew 28: 1-10.

Paul writes:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters[c] at one time, …  8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles and am unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

 Matthew writes:

…Behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen…

In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that Cephas is the first to see the risen Christ. Even though Matthew’s Gospel places two women at the tomb, and John’s Gospel has the weeping Magdalene speak with Jesus the Teacher. Paul is the last one to see Christ.

What does it matter?

In the first chapter of Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth:

Paul writes:

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?

This question: “Was Paul crucified for you?” is easily dismissed.

New believers and many others quickly conclude that Christ is male and that he is the crucified one. Paul, Apollos, and Cephas are simply teachers sent by Christ to preach and instruct people about the good news that Christ was raised from the dead.

The idea that three people were crucified as Jesus who with the third sunrise became perfectly united in mind and thought as the Risen Christ seems like a folk tale. It can’t possibly be the historic reality and legitimate theology.

The name Saul who later became Paul is not mentioned in the Gospels. However, the Gospels were written after the Letters of Paul. Paul is a Latin term that means “little” or humble. Tradition says Paul is a man. However, the Greek word for man does not mean male. A Greek man is a human being. So, think of Paul as being the human being who labored to give Jews and Gentiles the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Paul openly admits to being the worst sinner, the chief of the sinners! (1 Timothy 1:15) This is why the Easter reading of 1 Corinthians 15 read in juxtaposition with Matthew’s Gospel is so intriguing.

While I was growing up, Mary Magdalene was always billed as the worst sinner, the one who had seven devils seeking to possess her!

Now as a mature woman, at last I see Christ face to face. Others before me have seen what I had been unable to see until I met my Lord.  Who I tell you now is my sweetheart and the Rock of my salvation.

Until I met my jo, my sweetheart, Cephas was simply Peter. I was blinded by the light of Apollo. I could not see Martha as the Lady and his beloved Anna (Grace) who trusted and believed her Lord was the Son of God. My love and adoration of Apollo threatened their relationship. It worried Martha. Thankfully, Apollo had faith in me and she forgives me. I saw Apollos as the “Good Teacher” who was one with the Father. It had not occurred to me that I was the Vine, the Tree who was one with the Father who was the husbandman.  Nor had it occurred to me that Cephas was “Jo” “Cephas,” the sweetheart and husbandman, of the Mother of the Gospel.

With the popularity of the Da Vinci Code, people insisted that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. In my Master’s thesis, I disagreed. http://www.lindavogtturner.ca/papers.html  I said they had an affair! I based my thesis on scriptural evidence and my own affair with an Alexander who in my mind and heart was the Greek Apollo and the Christ. Like many people, I saw only one male Jesus. Although, I saw Mary Magdalene as the female Jesus, I did not see another male Jesus.

To my surprise, with an untimely or coincidental occurrence, I met a black male singer. At this time, I was an adulteress, a divorcee and a widow. I was writing my master thesis “Mary Magdalene: Her image and relationship to Jesus. Putting myself in the role of Mary Magdalene, I supposed for a moment that Apollo was the Gardener. Contemplating the idea, I thought I should devote my life to environmental awareness and content myself with being a widow and a virgin for the rest of my life.

I met the Singer at a church called Northwood. My minister whose name was John announced that Northwood had started a Jazz Vespers in the Valley. Vespers is an evening service. I was busy the first Sunday, but when John announced the next Jazz Vespers service, I was eager to go because I recognized the Singer’s name. Moreover, I was fairly certain he was unattached.

In the months and years that followed, the Singer and I became more and more sure that we were meant to be together. During this time, the Song of Solomon awoke me to the idea that Jesus the Rabonni is the King the Woman lets go of. And, the Stag is the Singer who the Woman coming up from the wilderness leans on.

With the appearance of the Stag Singer, my heart, my ears, and eyes were open to the nuances of Scripture.  I saw Simon appear behind me and I saw him appear to my beloved Greek Teacher and his beloved (Luke 24:34) and then he finally appeared to me more completely as (Luke 24:51) as Simon the Cyrene, the Son of Man who carried the Cross of Jesus.

You know the stories. The Son of Man came eating and drinking with drunkards and gluttons (Matthew 11:19). He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners! He was a Cyrenaic. He thought people should be full of joy and take the time to enjoy themselves.

I heard an old tune on You Tube today https://youtu.be/nKH_SxODIjg It’s an oldie but a goodie!  Here comes Peter Cottontail.

Open your eyes and ears!

The Rock moves. People watching see for themselves. He is alive! He shakes. He rolls.  He hippity hops and makes a joyful sound for his Easter children.

The Rock is our Easter Daddy. He died on Friday when he denied being “one of them” or admitting he knew who Jesus was. People spotting him coming in from the countryside, lean the Cross on Him. Mark’s Gospel says this man’s name is Simon the Cyrene, the Father of Alexander and the red-haired one, the fiery spirited sinner (Mark 15:21).

Christ was crucified, divided.  Then in a loud voice, Jesus cried out. “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.” With these words, Jesus’ earthly life ends.

With Easter, Jesus comes back to life again. Humankind is reborn in the image and eternal likeness of God. Humankind need not fear death. Death has lost its sting! Jesus is not an apparition, or a disembodied spirit.  Eternal life is not an empty promise!

Jesus is alive and was raised from the dead to let the whole world know heaven is on earth! Heaven is in homes and places where human hearts forgive one another, souls soar, faces shine like the sun, people dance, sing, and embrace one another with love and kisses—spreading joy to all creation.