Two thousand years ago Jesus died and rose from the dead. Just as quickly as he rose, we killed him again. We killed Jesus when we:
Changed his message –
- From love to fear.
- From Oneness to separation.
- From an unconditionally loving God to one who condemns.
- From peace and harmony to conflict and war (in his name!)
- From a community that treats all human beings as equal, governed by collaboration and cooperation to one rooted in white, male privilege; governed by fear, power and control.
- From welcoming all to the table to only those who believe as we want them to believe and who are “in good standing.”
- From a movement within Judaism to a new and separate religion.
2000 years ago, Jesus died and rose from the dead. And 2000 years ago, we killed him. This Easter of 2015, let us cooperate in allowing Jesus to raise from the dead and to stay there!
I must humbly acknowledge that this seems to be exactly what is happening for those who are reading my most recent book, a novel, Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene. The feedback I’m getting from readers is just that – Jesus being raised from the dead. Every single person who has offered feedback has expressed conflict with the institutional images of Jesus given to them and through my book, have found healing and transformation of these images, opening them to Jesus’ deeper message of unconditional love. Right before their eyes, Jesus is being transformed from a far-off creature standing in judgment to a dear and intimate friend teaching them how to love.
In celebration of Easter and as an invitation to all of us to let Jesus be raised from the dead, I offer you this excerpt from Song of the Beloved.
On the morning after the Sabbath, I awoke before dawn in the same way that I had every day after Jesus healed me and raised me from the death in which I had existed. Upon waking, I expected to feel nothing but the numbness of the days past. I expected to desire nothing but to roll over and return to the world of sleep. Instead, I felt the urge to resume my ordinary routine of morning meditation in the garden. I arose and proceeded into the garden to the bench I had shared with Jesus every morning for the past three years. I approached the bench and lovingly ran my hand over its marble seat recalling what Jesus and I had shared in this sacred space. The grief of this loss suddenly overtook me and I collapsed on the ground as my tears splattered over our bench.
As I knelt beside the bench weeping with head in hands, I felt a faint shift in the air around me. I lifted my head slightly to see if perhaps Lazarus had come out to join me. As I looked up, my heart leaped into my throat and ceased beating. My beloved Jesus stood there before me. I rubbed my eyes to make sure it was not some trick of the rising sun, but there he was as real as he had been all those past times in prayer and even more so, he stood before me in flesh and blood.
I stood and reached out to embrace him, to feel his skin on my cheek, and he opened his arms to return my embrace. We had held each other for but a moment, when Jesus gently pulled away. He took my face in his hands, lightly kissed me on the lips and said, “Mary, I am with you always, even until the end of time and it is time for you to come into your own power, to embrace your own Christhood. In this, I must ascend. And, you must not cling to me so that you too may rise. You must go to my brothers in Jerusalem to let them know I have risen and you must explain to them its meaning.” With that he kissed me again on the mouth. “Mary, be empowered in the flame of the Shekinah, God’s Holy Spirit.” He departed from my sight as quickly and as silently as he had arrived.
I stood there in silent wonder. Even death had no power over my beloved. As sure as he had been here just one week ago, he stood before me again. I felt his touch, the brush of his lips on mine, the comfort of his embrace. Just as suddenly, he was gone. I inhaled deeply in the hopes of comprehending this experience and the cock crowed. I remembered Simon’s denial of Jesus and was provoked by Jesus’ words, “Go to my brothers in Jerusalem.” I ran into the house to be greeted by Martha, Salome and Lazarus’ sleepy faces. “I have seen the Lord. He is risen just as he said he would.” I ran to each of them in turn, took their hands in mine, and looked into their eyes, “It is true. He has conquered death. He came to me in the garden. He is risen!” As I relayed the message to their open minds and hearts, they were able to see the truth as I had witnessed it. As a group we embraced in celebration. “We must go to Jerusalem! Jesus instructed me to tell his brothers there that he has been raised from the dead.” We immediately departed for Jerusalem where we knew the Galilean disciples stayed in hiding.
Song of the Beloved – The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene. copyright 2015, Lauri Ann Lumby. Buy it HERE!