Facing Cucumbers

In our modern world YouTube has become wormhole upon our attention. Last year there was a collection of videos on YouTube doing the rounds. Cat videos. These particular cat videos involved the relationship between cucumbers and cats. If you’ve not seen them, I’ll explain what happens. The videos involved secretly putting cucumbers behind cats, and then filming their response as they notice the cucumbers. The reason these videos are funny is because cucumbers trigger cats’ fight or flight response. As of course cats have not evolved in environments where they would normally encounter rouge cucumbers, they perceive them as a threat, perhaps a snake or some other predator like that. In evolutionary terms, the cat’s response to the harmless cucumber is entirely understandable. It makes sense that animals – cats and humans alike – would have inbuilt responses like this. Our bodies need to be able to have immediate responses to positive and negative stimuli. Our ancestors walk through the primordial fauna. Locking eyes with a beast, the world narrows, and they run, darting through the vegetation fast. If our response was slower, more considered, it would be no use to us. For threats of this magnitude it has to be fast, and so it has to be simple. The cat is not processing masses of information. Small, round, and green equals very bad in the reactive cat’s mind. There’s no more to it. All the cat’s attention is locked on that cucumber. There is no self-reflection taking place, no musing on the significance of the cucumber after the fact. The cat lacks the mental capacity to reassess a cucumber’s threat after the fact, and learn its fight or flight response is unnecessary. The cat doesn’t learn. It cannot override its instinctual response. It cannot turn its attention inwards.

Forest.

Similarly, with our ancestor in the fauna, he or she is capable of considering the wider implications of the beast, how it makes them feel, but it’s probably not very wise. Spend too long considering the knots in our stomach, the adrenalin running in our blood, or the sweat on our palms, and we’ll probably end up being dinner. These instincts then are the opposite of introspection. Our attention becomes focused on what’s out there, instead of in here. ‘I want more’, or, ‘get me out of here’. Like the cat, these responses come right out of our gut, they’re pre-verbal and automatic. The experience of this stimuli, this instinctual tightening, is actually the second of the Buddha’s ‘Four Noble Truths.’ And the third Noble Truth is that we can release that tension and relax, regardless of our circumstances. Navigating the choppy waters, but more than navigate it, thrive, even when times are tough. My reading of the Buddhist tradition puts these two things right at the centre: recognising our instinctual response to the world, and learning to release that instinctual response, and thrive even in adverse circumstances. This instinctual tension and apprehension is carried by most of us, most of the time. Our anxious bodily knee-jerk responses to a world we feel constant at war with.

There’s a slight pause in the conversion. She looks away. ‘Sorry did I say something wrong?’ ‘No, no everything’s fine’, and she walks away. I wonder what I said. Teeth gritted. Just dipping slightly into some of that negativity – that negativity which is rarely even voiced. You feel slightly misunderstood. Slightly rushed. Slightly in conflict. Slightly miffed, as you once again do that thing, as others now seem to expect of you. And the tension within you rises, but you’re nice and polite and you don’t say anything, and the moment passes. And everything works out fine. Little interior discomforts begging a response, but no response is given so we’re left slightly on edge, slightly irked, focusing in on some detail of negativity.

 Sliced Cucumber.

Sliced Cucumber.

We see the other in some ways more clearly than we see ourselves. And often we see this response play out in others more clearly. We observe, as they hone in on some isolated aspect of negativity, losing all perspective. They only see what’s irking them, and the rest is absorbed into the background. This kind of tension colours a great deal of reality, this tension which focuses our awareness on that negative stimuli out there. The cucumbers in our lives, which unlike the cat is not causing us to jump out of our skin, but just tightening us slightly, locking us up slightly. All this stuff is stuff on the surface of life. It’s at the superficial level, at the level of the stone skimming across the lake. Stuff that there is no obvious fix for. A lot of these little problems, little frustrations, are not problems with straightforward solutions. It’s down to circumstances. It’s down to relational dynamics. It’s down to the dysfunctionality present in other people. Not easily solved. Not easily avoided.

In the face of unsolvable problems we often respond by grabbing control in some way. Become needy. Something to fill the void. Maybe control others as a way to handle our own discomfort. Or we push away, separate ourselves from the problem. Snap at people. Criticise. Or in some way ignore the problem – we space out. ‘I can’t think what to do, so I’m just not going to think about it.’ Or we busy ourselves, distract ourselves, drink to forget maybe. And then you listen, and you actually hear the trouble some people are in, and you are not surprised that they’re grabbing, or pushing, or spacing themselves out to deal with their unsolvable problem. Their unsolvable problems are huge, and frankly, the fact that they’re finding the strength at all to show up, to be present, be active, to engage, is remarkable. All this negativity is unselective in who it hits of course. We can influence aspects of our life in places, but most of the time we’re subject to the way the winds blow. Despite this, we seem amazingly capable of carrying more negativity than we might imagine. We are capable as human beings of being subjected to great horrors, and yet after all that, still operating as loving rational people. These reactive responses to the world rear up particularly when we are not present to ourselves. To thrive in difficult circumstances, to navigate the choppy waters, to not respond reactively to these unsolvable problems, we must practice, more and more, being present to ourselves. That is what the Buddha’s teaching comes down to. What does it mean to be present to ourselves? It’s not about avoiding the pain and frustration, but acknowledging it, sitting with it. Being a friend to ourselves. Not locked in an internal battle, but accepting the hurt, and being with it.

The Buddha under the Bodhi Tree. 

You might be surprised, but this is actually a question I seem to get asked more than most, definitely more than theological or philosophical questions. ‘I know someone who is hurting – what do you think I should say?’ Or, ‘I’m with someone who is hurting – what do you think I should do?’ I know there are no words. Words can help make us feel less isolated sometimes, but there are no words, and we all know that.  And so all there is is being present, being present to ourselves, being present to the other. We lie awake at night and we can’t let go, and it goes round and round in our heads. But to be present not to these thoughts, these unsolvable problems, but to ourselves, to accept all that choppiness but be attentive to our self in a heartful way, when we do this the edges of all this jaggedness in our head seems to soften. Not disappear, but soften. And all this falls into the category ‘easier said than done’. Easily said, but when it comes down to it, we’re attempting to override our instinctual response to negative stimuli. And in that depth we uncover a sense of wholeness, of well-bring as the Buddha experienced it, enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. And within the Christian tradition this sense resonates strongly with the manifesting of the Kingdom of God. A present, manifested reality. The unsolvable problems are still unsolved, but they’re softened. And we’re whole. And we’re present. And we breath. And so, we spread out, we open up, we draw from deep within us something brighter and warmer. As the reading said: happiness and ease flow from the bottom of the lake. From this place of peace we manifest the fruits of the spirit, kindness, love, and joy. And once we have been present to ourselves, and slowed down enough to settle into ourselves, we find what? A manifestation of love, of the Kingdom of God. Buddha’s sayings are recorded a good century before Jesus, and yet I hear so much of Jesus in there. Don’t hate. Love. Love those who hate you. Live free, free of idols, of greed, free from craving, and disharmony. Free yourself from fear, from sin, and live in truth, in love, in joy. Be present. Be present to yourself.

Amen.

Resurrection and the Nature of Truth

Oil rigs.

Without spiritual symbols informing our lives, we are incomplete beings. The temptation is, in our hyper-rationalistic, literal world, to strip symbols of their significance, and understand everything in binary terms: as true or false, as scientifically verifiable or not, as history or myth. Most of the time this approach is preferable. My dad is a geophysicist. He calculates the probability of oil being in one place as opposed to another. This is done by sending acoustic energy into the ground, and then analysing the data collected back. Algorithms are built which take that data and turn it into sound pictures of what is beneath the surface. Oil rigs cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and so before they embark upon building one, one needs to be sure there is oil there - though 100% assurance is never possible. Growing up, as you might imagine, with all this as the backdrop upon our lives, it informed the way I thought about the world. In the same way that the oil was either there or not, I believed things could only be true or not. And it was just a case of collecting enough data and asking the right questions, and though I could never be 100% sure, if I was meticulous enough, I could be correct within a negligible margin of error. I could have a working model which was reliable.

'The Incredulity of St. Thomas' by Caravaggio

Today is Easter Sunday. Today is about resurrection. For most Christians, it’s about the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus 2000 years ago. A man, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and on the third day he rose again. At university, when I began to think about the topic of Jesus’ resurrection systematically, I approached the problem in the way my dad approached finding oil. My first assumption was it must be either true or false. Either Jesus did bodily resurrect, or he did not. And though I could not be 100% sure in my conclusion, the data would surely point me in one direction or another. The data in this case was historical evidence. What was the historical evidence that Jesus came back to life? With this line of enquiry, however, one quickly runs into a lot of problems. There is a lack of evidence. Indeed, the only evidence available comes from the New Testament itself, and so, the whole topic shifts quickly towards the question - to what extent can we take the various accounts in the Bible to be historically credible? There is a huge amount of scholarship surrounding this question, and a great deal could be said on this. We certainly don’t have data as reliable as that data my dad worked with when finding oil. But scholars agree that the New Testament can, to an extent, be trusted as historically credible, in part. Which is to say, some of it is more credible than other parts, and that statement comes with a lot of caveats.

 The Apostle Paul.

The Apostle Paul.

Broadly speaking, earlier accounts are seen as more reliable. However, the more explicit resurrection accounts that we find in the Gospels, such as the famous ‘doubting Thomas’ account, in which Jesus invites Thomas to touch his pierced body, that account only appears in the Gospel of John, and as such can be seen as a later myth, John being the last book to be written. That doesn’t mean we can just dismiss Jesus’ resurrection however, as there are much earlier references to it. It’s debatable which book in the New Testament was written first. My money is on 1 Corinthians, which was written by Paul, which, unlike the Gospels, was written in living memory. Towards the end of 1 Corinthians there is a part which reads: “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 at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me”. This little part in 1 Corinthians is thought to be very early, because it reads almost like a creed. It is likely that this pithy statement was a faith pronouncement memorised to express the faith of the earliest Christians, perhaps formulated less than ten years after Jesus’ death. As such, many scholars have concluded that at the very least, early Christians did believe they experienced the risen Christ. It’s difficult to dispute that. What is far less clear, however, is in what sense they experienced the risen Christ.

What does it actually mean to say he appeared to such and such a person? Here are a group of individuals, having some kind of collective experience. Now the jump that people often make at this point is to assume that this collective experience is seeing Jesus walk and talk to people in the flesh. After all, that is what the accounts in the Gospels point towards. But the earliest accounts from 1 Corinthians (as I’ve read), and Paul’s other letters make no such claim. It's far more ambiguous and more in keeping with some kind of spiritual encounter with Christ. Indeed, the appearance of Jesus need not mean a reanimation of the body, but rather, a sense of hope found in hopelessness, a sense that what Jesus stood for can carry on in us despite his death, a sense of Jesus’ spirit finding some form almost tangible amongst us. The time that elapses from that credo I read out in 1 Corinthians - ‘that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve’ etc. - the time between that and the account we find in the Gospel of John, of Jesus in the flesh appearing amongst the disciples, and Jesus inviting Thomas to touch his pierced side etc., is a period of about 100 years. In other words, the accounts surrounding Jesus’ resurrection are evolving, and they’re evolving fast. They’re being shaped into a more compelling story.

The Ark of the Covenant. 

Let’s take another example: today's reading (John 20:1-18). It reads to us like the account of an event, but if you dig a little deeper it's clearly not. We heard, ‘But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.’ Sounds nice, two angels hanging out in Jesus’ tomb, but why, what’s the point of that? First of all, these two angels are not in the other three Gospels. This suggests it did not happen, so why would John have even include it, what is the point of this image being added to John’s resurrection account? Picture the scene. Concrete Slab, at one end a big angel, at the other end, another big angel. Does that remind you of anything…? In Exodus, Moses goes up the mountain and carves the ten commandments on stone tablets. Ultimately, those tablets are housed within the Ark of the Covenant, which is itself housed in the Holy of Holies – the innermost sanctuary of the Temple. The Ark of the Covenant symbolises the presence of Yahweh on earth. It acts as the throne of Yahweh on earth. And what does the Ark of the Covenant look like? It looks like this – a concrete slab with a big angel at one end, and another big angel at the other end. The Gospel writer is making the not-so-subtle assertion that Jesus, or the risen Christ, is now the true representative of Yahweh. It’s clever. It makes the point well, but it’s clear evidence that this aspect of the story at least did not happen. We are not supposed to be taking it literally; it’s trying to tell us something.

If you compare the various things said about the resurrection in order - first what Paul says about the resurrection, then compare that to how it’s talked about in the Gospel of Mark (the earliest of the Gospels), and then read how it’s talked about in the Gospel of John (the latest of the Gospels) - there is a clear evolution taking place. Over time the accounts are becoming far more detailed. And if you think about it, that’s quite weird. The accounts become more detailed the further from the actual events we go. The reason for that, I would suggest, is that they’re trying to build the case for Jesus as time goes on. As the early Christians are travelling around modern day Turkey and Greece, they need to make their case stronger, and so they tell stories and make rhetorical assertions to bolster the claims they’re making. A surface reading today might suggest to us that they were therefore lying, and that would be a mistake. Because to make that leap one must assume these accounts were intended to be taken literally in the first place, which I think is a mistake. Anyone Jewish in the second/third century who heard the Gospel of John talking about one angel there and another there, would have immediately thought of the symbolic significance of that language – these accounts are written to inspire us! To get us on board with the Jesus’ message, to get us to participate in Jesus’ Kingdom!

A fantasticaldepiction of Jesus' bodily resurrection.

And so, returning to my original question. Back in university I set out to answer it with as much certainty as possible, assuming it must either be one way or another. Either Jesus did bodily resurrect, or he did not! I’ve come to see that question as really missing the point. If pressed I would say there is no reason to think he did bodily resurrect, but it's really a pointless assertion. The development present in the New Testament shows that Jesus’ earliest followers really didn’t care about that question either. For them such accounts were a rhetorical device. They were much more concerned with winning people for the Kingdom – getting people to participate in Jesus’ ongoing mission. My initial assumption was based on a belief about truth, that truth is a single thing, that something was either true or it was false. Rather, I think a two-truth model is superior - two truths we can label as inner truth and outer truth. And it’s when these two modes of truth are conflated that is where the confusion lies. In ancient times, in Bible times, people didn’t make a distinction between inner truth and outer truth. Jesus’ resurrection to his earliest followers was true because it elucidated a deep spiritual truth, even though today we struggle with it because it’s not a verifiable outer truth, it's not a scientific truth. Nor, however (as you sometimes get in response), is it valid to say ‘well you have your outer truth and I have mine’. The geophysicist who relied upon their intuitive sense would not get very far, which is why a complete relativizing of truth is also deeply problematic.

There is clearly a world of things which you can say concrete things about. And so one must be discerning. There is an appropriate sphere in which outer truth is king, and there is an appropriate sphere in which inner truth is king, and to conflate the two can be dangerous, and in some cases could even be fatal. And so, this Easter we practice resurrection. We affirm resurrection as an inner truth, as a mythological truth. As a symbol which points us towards an inner dimension of the self which we disregard at our own peril. To not believe in hope, in the second chance, in the redeemed soul, in the light beyond the darkness, in the ongoing community of love after your own personal death, would be an incredibly bleak world to inhabit. To not have faith in this kind of resurrection, one would, in effect, be stuck on Good Friday. Stuck in the nihilistic dread of death at Calvary, seeing no point beyond, no path through, the death of meaning, and the despair in all things. But my Easter message is that we can believe in hope, we can believe in resurrection – and we don’t have to convince ourselves of magic or the impossible to have such faith. We must merely need to be present to the spirit within us, and love one another.

Amen.

Palm Sunday & The Golden Gate

Light on the Golden Gate.

“Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they cut in the fields.” Jesus enters into Jerusalem carried upon a colt. We celebrate Palm Sunday. This image of Jesus entering into Jerusalem is a story we find in all four Gospels, which tells us that all four Gospels writers considered this story, this triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, as important. That alone tells us a lot. Hardly any stories concerning Jesus appear in all four Gospels, and often when they do appear in all four they subtly contradict one another. These contradictions and inconsistencies, and even omissions, point towards something we need to remember about the Gospels, that the Gospels are not primarily concerned with conferring to us historical facts, they are primarily concerned with conveying the mythological narrative, the cosmic significance weaved into the Jesus story. So we may get hung up upon the historicity of these accounts – How many times did the rooster crow? etc. - but really the historicity matters very little, if at all. What matters is the story being told. I’ll state it even more strongly. The pearl of great price, the truth, that of ultimate concern, is not located in the man two-thousand years ago, it’s located in the story being told and received today.

If we think more broadly about the Jesus story, what comes to mind? The Christmas story - the shepherds watching by night, the baby in the manger perhaps, the wise men? Or maybe we think of that most central prayer, the Lord’s Prayer: Thy Kingdom Come. Or we may think of Jesus’ first miracle, the water into wine, or perhaps that parable which many see as the cornerstone of the Christian faith, the parable of the Good Samaritan. What’s interesting about each of these, as central and important as they all are, is that none of them appear in all four Gospels. None of these examples are so totally critical to the Jesus story that all four Gospel writers agree upon the necessity of their inclusion. But the image of Jesus upon the colt riding into Jerusalem - they all agree upon that. They all see that as a vital component. Obviously, the reason it is vital is because of what this image signifies, and what it signifies is not readily evident. And that’s an important point to understand. This imagery is significant because it’s interacting with (or in dialogue with) the dominant stories, beliefs, and assumptions of those first century peoples.

globalrose-flower-bouquets-prime-100-red-roses-64_1000.jpg

We can think of an example of this today. If I was to give someone a rose, we would understand that to carry a certain meaning. Think about how much is wrapped up in such a simple gesture. There are gender assumptions tied into the giving of a rose; it’s perceived as a romantic object, and is often used to convey feelings of love. A single red rose says something very different to a bouquet of yellow roses. Red petals say something different still, and so on. All this symbolism requires us to have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips that we all take for granted. But if this symbolism is committed to paper, and then teleported to a different time, a different culture, and a different world, all that rich meaning is lost. It has to be rediscovered. We have to play the detective and see how this symbolism is employed, see what reactions it invokes, and see upon what other occasions such symbolism is used. Then slowly we can piece together the various meanings and build up an entire world of meanings and assumptions alien to our own. That is the process necessary to understand this image of Jesus upon the colt entering Jerusalem. We have to enter the mind of the intended reader, the apocalyptic Christian/Jewish persons whose worldview was shaped by the various mythic motifs of their time and place. And so, as is often the case, we should anticipate ideas in the Old Testament being echoed in the New. The Old Testament helps us unlock the New.

Jesus entering Jerusalem. 

So, I’ll paint you all a picture. Jesus is riding up towards Jerusalem from the East, in and through what is known as the Golden Gate of Jerusalem, up towards the Temple. The Golden Gate of Jerusalem is still visible today; it is, however, walled up, and has been walled up since medieval times. So, if you are standing on the East side of Jerusalem in the garden of Gethsemane and look up towards the walled city of Jerusalem, up towards where the Jewish Temple would have stood, you will see this bricked in gate, the gate through which Jesus rode. The celebratory, palm waving procession in through the Golden Gate mirrors an annual ritual the Jewish people undertook at the time, the ritual of Tabernacles. One of the Jewish sources we have from Jesus’ time described what that ritual consisted of: it states how branches of palm, myrtle, and willow were cut and tied into bundles. People then carried them in procession up the hill to the temple, through the Golden Gate, while singing Psalm 118. The Tabernacles celebration brought to mind a few things, including, primarily, the time the Jewish people were in the wilderness, travelling to the promised land. And secondly it was linked to the hope that the Davidic priest-king would come, and the kingdom would be restored. So, Psalm 118 is really key to capturing the ideas that Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem would have invoked at the time. Imagine them coming up the hill and singing, ‘Open to me the gates of righteousness’; there are the gates. ‘That I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.’ And where do I give thanks? At the Temple of the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; The righteous ones shall enter through it…

Sun above Jerusalem today. 

The reason it was called the Golden Gate is because it was literally covered with gold, along with the façade of the Temple that was covered with Gold. The hot Middle Eastern sun rose and shone with fiery brilliance upon the gate - a scene of bright light and waving palms and the Davidic King riding forth through the gates of righteousness.  And so, this image of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem through the Golden Gate, as the Gospel writers frame it, has one very clear objective – to show us (the readers) that Jesus is the Davidic priest/king. The writers present Palm Sunday as the people’s recognition of Jesus as the Davidic King. So you could say that Palm Sunday is, in effect, a dramatized version of that question he previously asked of his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?’. Now it is not just being asked of the disciples. Everyone is being asked. And of course, we all know as Unitarians that this question “Who do you say that I am?’ is so often distorted through the assumption that Jesus is God. In Orthodox circles, if this question is put to someone (you’re in a small group setting and that question is discussed), it’s Jesus’ nature as a member of the Godhead that is being alluded to. We are culturally conditioned to hear the question in that way. So we almost need to deprogram ourselves before we can hear afresh what the Gospels writers are even driving at.

By putting Jesus front and centre in this Tabernacles-like procession through the Golden Gate, the Gospel writers are claiming him to be the Messiah, ‘the anointed one’. The complication arises that although he is not understood to be God (to be Yahweh), he does represent Yahweh, and as such is worshipped by early Christians as a representative of Yahweh, which is a subtle yet critical distinction. You can find an example of it in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which says, ‘let all God’s angels worship Him’. Its seems odd that Jewish people would worship Jesus (a man) if he is not God, and it’s of course because he represents God. And he is not the only example of this happening. In the Old Testament when the High Priest emerged from the inner sanctuary, from the holy of holies, it is said he was like the morning star, like the sun shining on the temple (that imagery again, the brilliant sun upon the face of the temple). His very presence made the court of the temple glorious, and in response all the people together fell to the ground upon their faces to worship their Lord. Which is to say, they are worshipping in that moment the High Priest, because in that moment he represents Yahweh. Though he is of course nevertheless just a man. And in the same way, there are examples of the Kings of Israel being worshipped as, again, representatives of Yahweh, despite being again very much just men.

High Priest of Israel. 

So, first/second century Jewish people worshiping Jesus as a representative of Yahweh is certainly not as strange an idea as it first sounds. It’s perfectly consistent with the Old Testament. But to emphasise the point, Jesus is always, and without exception, seen as separate and subordinate to God in the New Testament. And so, as a representative of Yahweh, Jesus has a divine mandate: to inaugurate the Kingdom of God upon earth. Thy Kingdom Come: enact into being that which was only present within the Holy of Holies within the innermost part of the Temple upon all of creation. Within the Holy of Holies is the place illuminated by the light of God’s presence, but now that light of the Kingdom is within the midst of you all. It is universalised, it is called forth and enacted into being. That is Jesus’ proclamation, and that is what he seeks to enact. And so, having now moved up towards Jerusalem and through the Golden Gate, Jesus begins his very short-lived ministry within Jerusalem, in which he is going to push his agenda despite the inevitable consequences.

And so, a few things happen in quick succession. First he goes into the Temple and he tells the parable of the Wicked Tenants, which is essentially a ‘get stuffed’ message to the chief priests and Pharisees, so he’s being incredibly brazen. He is saying there’s no privileged position anymore; the kingdom is for everyone. And then to really drive the message home he returns to the Temple later that day or the next day, and turns over the tables of the money changers. The reason for that was the money changers had in effect become the gatekeepers to the Temple. You had to pay the right amount to get the right offering to sacrifice to God, and the effect of this was that poor and foreign worshippers found getting access to the Temple more difficult or impossible. And so Jesus is enraged. The Kingdom is not for the privileged few, the kingdom is for everyone. And then we know what happens after that. He is arrested and crucified. The Temple veil rips apart, which is to say the light of God ceases to be contained within Holy of Holies. The implication for us is that we too should enact this equalitarian kingdom into being with just as much fire in our gut, whatever the consequences may be for us personally. Palm Sunday then is the beginning of the End. The beginning of our journey towards Jerusalem, towards the crucifixion, towards the hope which lies beyond his death – the Kingdom of love, the universalised kingdom which stretched beyond the death of any one person.

“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Amen.

Source: The work of Margaret Barker.