Singing Off Key (or: You Must be Born Again)

This post is for our Lightworker’s Study of the Gospel of John. We are on day #15 (scroll to the earlier posts, if you like). On the left, click the folder icon, then sign up.

John #15

Gospel of John 1:12-13 “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”

Hello Lightworkers,

This verse contrasts the “will of the flesh” (the “will of man”) with a spiritual birth (i.e., being “born…of God.”).  Often among Christians, the mandate to be “born again” signifies rebirth at a single moment in time, when you hand yourself over to God.

In contrast to that scheme, consider that rebirth here may mean a life lived according to the Soul, instead of alien value systems.

In coming alive, the Soul’s purposes may conflict with dehumanizing values. You may pour sincerity and heartfelt longing, for instance, into a relationship, a job, or a dream. Yet you may meet with resistance, ridicule, or rejection.

If you live for approval and success, you might naturally feel that that you’ve done something “wrong,” since you have met with obstacles and failure.

On the soul level, however, perhaps you’re doing something “right”. Your own soul calls you to take a risk, to make yourself vulnerable, to do things in a new way.

You are like a person who loves to sing. In singing, you do it off-key at first. Nobody wants to listen. They hold their ears. Naturally, you feel miserable, that you should sing, without any talent (apparently).

Although disappointment would be natural, in such a case, it could well be that your  soul needs space to come alive, to discover its own originality, and to do things in its own way. By honoring your mistakes and by plunging into your endeavors, you will learn rapidly (no doubt) to sing better, if that’s what you wish to do.

You have shown your own soul that you are willing to put the Soul first (the Spirit), rather than the “will of the flesh” or the “will of man”.

Sterile efforts, in contrast, exhibit “the will of the flesh” or “the will of man” (1:13). Here, you may suffer neither rejection nor difficulties. You may calculate, successfully, so that you are admired for having it “all together.”

But if you’ve lost your passion for being alive, then the soul is dead. You will have ceded control to  the “will of the flesh” and the “will of man” . Your life is controlled by conventional opinion and alien value systems.

Question: Where does your soul wish to carry you?

John’s prologue (1:1-8) depicts the descent of God (the Creative Word) onto earth as Jesus Christ.  Christ lives as a stranger. As your soul awakens, you may feel like a stranger. Take heart: a homecoming awaits you, as these verses (vv.12-13) confirm.

The children of God are born of the Spirit. The soul keeps on living and bringing you alive.

This post is for our Lightworker’s Study of the Gospel of John. On the left, click the folder icon. Sign up.  

 

Interlude: a few facts re: Gospels

This post is for our Lightworker’s Study of the Gospel of John, which will be conducted for around 40 days. On the left, click the folder icon, then sign up.  

Religious tolerance illustration#14: John study

Hello Lightworkers, We are taking a little break, in that today’s post will provide background information about the Gospel of John. This information is standard and you may know it already.

I give information only sparingly, since there is already enough information out there–in fact, too much. Who needs more piles of facts? Instead, I aim for inspiration and illumination. Today is an exception. I will provide some facts.

The genre of Gospel: canonical and non-canonical

While there are four Gospels in the New Testament, other early Christian works (outside of the NT canon) fit the literary genre of Gospel, such as the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Thomas, among others. Canon means “rule”. The canon is constituted by the sacred scriptures, authorized by the early church, to be the rule for faith and morals.

It is debatable, why certain early Christian works were not included in the canon, especially those contemporaneous with the NT itself. Did Mary’s authority, in the Gospel of Mary, challenge the emerging precedence of Peter in the church? So that Mary’s leadership, like that of females more generally, needed to be suppressed?

Gospel of John within the Bible

Considering just the four gospels within the NT (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Gospel of John is distinctive, because it freely elaborates upon many of the stories about Jesus, which are found in the other three Gospels. John’s theology of the Word, Light, and Life, and his emphasis on miracles (which he calls “signs”), are also unique.

Three of the Gospels (Luke, Mark, Matthew) are called synoptic,—from the root, syn=together + optic= related to seeing or the eye. These three can be “seen together,” since they share much source material.

All four gospels, including John, consist of earlier sources (whether in writing or transmitted by oral traditions): a) sayings and sermons (teachings); b) miracles (e.g. healings, nature miracles like ‘stilling a storm’, provision miracles like ‘feeding the multitudes’); c) controversies (e.g. Sabbath disputes; doctrinal debates); d) the account of Jesus’s passion (i.e. trial, crucifixion and death); e) the empty tomb stories,  resurrection appearances, ascension; f) birth narratives (only in Luke and Matthew); g) possibly a “signs” source, i.e. a cycle of miracle stories, upon which John depends.

Question : if you were to dig up these sources – in a jar, from the desert – and to compile a book out of them, what principles and message would motivate your composition? How would you tell the story, in terms of your themes and audience?

Be sure to subscribe to this Bible Study, so that you will receive posts in your in-box. We will cover John for around 40 days.

 

 

God the Refugee

Gospel of John #13 

John 1:10-11: “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own, but his own people received him not” (1:10-11).

1Hello Lightworkers,

The UN Refugee Agency recounts news of many refugees worldwide, such as these (in the picture above) who escaped Libya for Europe: UNHCR . Consider how horrific the conditions would need to be, in order to compel you to embark on such a journey, crowded onto a boat, abandoned to the hazards of the sea.

In our human histories, most of us can trace our ancestry to refugees – or immigrants – of one kind or another. The biblical myth of origins, about Adam and Eve, inscribes into our collective spiritual autobiography such a story of expulsion and exile.

The preface to the Gospel of John 1:1-18 replicates this story of being a refugee, a stranger in the world. God is a refugee and stranger.  The outcome of the story, however, need not be tragic, as 1:12 promises, “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”  (1:12)

How do we receive the refugee, the stranger? Who embodies the creative Word ?

To recapitulate John’s prologue: The light-bearer Jesus Christ is identical to the creative Word, which brings all things into being (alluding to Genesis 1; John 1:1-5). See earlier posts in our study of John, e.g. :  The Invisible Power of Creativity The prophet, John the Baptist, who is attuned to this creative Word – announces its coming (1:6-8), equivalent to the “true light that enlightens every human being” (1:9).

Tragically, the world does not recognize its own creator, for the light-bearer (Jesus) is rejected: “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own, but his own people received him not” (1:10-11).

According to the evangelist John, Jesus Christ embodies God.  Because the world is estranged from God, God appears to the world as a stranger.

The stranger may be an actual refugee in our midst, since all of us share the divine spark.  To recognize the divine within another is to honor our very selves.

Or the refugee may be our own selves. The creative Word, lodged within, is the foundation of our being. Yet, we make of ourselves an exile.

Question: Where are you making your self an exile? How can you extend hospitality to this alienated part of yourself?

Who decides your birth and makes sure that you are safe in the womb? Whoever it is, it is not “you” as you may define yourself, in terms of your social roles on earth or your human history. Make friends with the creative principle of the universe, which exists inside of you.