The theme of this week’s Agape’ Meditation Newsletter, supplement to this Sunday’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church, is SALVATION. Do we need to believe in Jesus to be saved? Jesus might say, no.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Thirty-first Sunday Ordinary Time
Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service
Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Jn 6: 37 – 40
Wis 3: 1-9
Ps 23: 1-6
Rom 5: 5-11
We’re All Saved?
This is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.
John’s gospel is a tricky one. On one hand, there are statements like the one above – indicating God’s will that all will be reunited in God’s love. Reflection on this statement seems to open the door to “salvation” to all human beings. Soon following that, however, is the Johnnine qualifier “everyone who sees the Son and believes in him will have eternal life.” Suddenly, the promise of reunion with God seems conditional – only those who see the Son and believe are saved. If we believe that Jesus came to teach us how to love and that Jesus preached of a God whose love is unconditional, how is it that only Christians can be saved? Inconsistencies like these are what have led to centuries of Christian arrogance creating horrors like the Crusades, the Inquisition and Witch Hunts that have killed millions of people all “in the name of God.”
When faced with these inconsistencies, prayerful meditation on scripture is critical. It is only in prayer, inviting God to help us see past the inconsistencies of scripture, that we can be open to receiving God’s truth. (John’s gospel, for example, was written between 90 and 100 CE and is a theological reflection on the resurrected Christ. Additionally, John’s gospel has likely been significantly redacted to fit a specific agenda.) The Vatican II Fathers used these techniques of prayerful reflection, along with theological debate, in developing the Vatican II documents. In these documents, the bishops, cardinals and pope are clear – all human beings can be saved – regardless of their religious beliefs. Salvation, in their eyes, is something that we cannot grasp, but is a mystery known only to God. If God is unconditionally loving – that means EVERYONE – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Pagan, even Atheist. All are one in God.
Where have you found scriptural inconsistencies to be troubling?
How do you reconcile the God of love that you know with the fickle and jealous God often portrayed in scripture?
What do you want to believe about God?
What do you want to believe about salvation?
Spiritual Practices – Piercing through the veil
Lectio-Divina (Divine Reading) is a spiritual practice which helps us to see through the veil of human perceptions and agendas to access God’s truth. This week, you are invited to apply Lectio-Divina to the above scripture to uncover God’s truth for you.
Read the scripture slowly and meditatively, looking for a word or phrase that jumps out at you. Receive this word or phrase as God’s nourishment for you today.
Meditate on this word or phrase. Ponder it in your mind. Reflect on what it might be saying to you. Perhaps repeat it over and over in your mind, allowing you to arrive at a place of stillness where you can hear God’s voice in the midst of those words.
Respond to this word or phrase. Write or say aloud your thoughts and feelings about this word or phrase. What does it mean to you? What do you want to say to God in exchange for this word or phrase?
Rest in silence and allow God’s grace to enter you….receiving what God wants you to receive from this meditation, allowing the word or phrase to nourish and become part of you.
In Authentic Freedom, we understood that Jesus came to remind us of the truth of our Oneness with God. This Oneness applies to EVERYONE and everything. All of creation comes from God, is a part of God, and returns to God. From this perspective, salvation is the extent to which we have remembered this Oneness. While existing in the human condition, we may only get a glimpse of this Oneness, but with diligent practice, these glimpses increase and become more enduring. And, nothing and no one is denied access to these experiences of Oneness, experiencing glimpses of salvation in the midst of human condition, and enjoying the fullness of salvation once the human condition is released and we return in full recollection of our Oneness with God.
Where have you experienced glimpses of your Oneness with God?
How are you setting time aside for your spiritual practice so you can remember your Oneness with God and experience salvation in the midst of the human condition?