It’s Holy Week again, that annual time when some of us struggle with the “orthodox” account of the Passion. How is it morally possible that killing one person could erase the sin of others? How can moral people communally partake of another’s flesh and blood even if done symbolically? How can a faith which proclaimed the immanent coming of the Kingdom of God survive when that Kingdom did not quickly come? Perhaps the real message was lost in the politics and transmissions of the past? In search of answers, I’ve sometimes reached out to other texts such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary. In such broader light, I’ve wondered how Jesus really spoke to his favorite disciple Mary Magdalene. I’ve wondered how Jesus (like the Buddha) might have addressed mindfulness, the true self, self-esteem, charity, sharing wisdom and common meals, tolerance, truth, the importance of life over rules, and other sacred things. I’ve wondered if he spoke to her like this:
The sinner is the one who in despair
Awaits the day his chariot should come.
The kingdom is not coming. It is here.
There are no awful portents, storms to fear,
Or other things to dread before it comes.
Instead embrace the present kingdom. Take
The current journey your own self should take.
Live in the “am,” not in the “will” or “was.”
Tell others, too, the kingdom is within,
That first it’s small like seeds or leaven in
The dough but has its powers to expand.
In teaching this, be as open as a child.
Be curious and never be beguiled
By rules or “prophets” that snuff out the light,
The light that shows whenever two are one
Whole mountains can be moved. Division gone,
Whole mountains cannot claim their former place.
As flesh and blood find strength in bread and wine,
Go teach as well inviting all to dine—
Communion strengthens all to look within.
Though I must leave you soon, I’ll no less shine:
My light remains in you as yours in mine,
And therefore separation never comes.
Split any piece of wood and I am there.
Lift any rock and you will find me there.
Set any table and you’ll find me there.
I’ve found the Kingdom in myself and I
Am willing for the sake of truth to die.
That’s what the Cross means. Be not taken in
By other claims, by those who’d speak for me.
I am before they spoke. Come follow me
Proclaiming, too, the kingdom is within.