Jesonian… March 18th, 2017

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Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Caiaphas immediately objected to the use of the word “Lord.”

He said, “Jesus is a seditionist, an enemy of the people who caught the masses at a vulnerable time when they desperately needed hope, advertised some well-paid shills with proclaimed miracles, and robbed the children of Israel of their personal identity in favor of what he referred to as the ‘Kingdom of God.’ He did not honor our traditions, he did not recognize the birthright we possess through Abraham, to be the chosen Children of God. He was rude, contemptuous, bawdy, loud and hung around with a bunch of sinners, welcoming iniquity.

“It was necessary to evaluate him by our laws, judge him and therefore condemn him, to make sure we keep the House of David first and foremost. We must go on.”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Pontius smiled and then snickered. “Jesus was a peasant, and deluded on top of that. Certainly harmless. I never made any doubt in that conclusion. Truth is, I saw him as a bargaining chip. I was constantly at war with the Council of the Jews over tiny matters which should have been insignificant, but they claimed had heavenly proportions. I needed one over on them. I needed to grant them a favor which would grant me a host of favors from them. I am not an animal. I am not a barbarian. I do not slaughter people just to behold the mayhem. But when the dignity of Rome–my only Lord–is put in jeopardy, then Rome must come first. Rome is greater than any man–even Caesar. Just one Galilean was lost, opening the door to a plethora of negotiations, where the Jews would be at a disadvantage.”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Peter wasn’t. He was scared. Outnumbered, without any weapons, he ran. And when confronted with his involvement with Jesus of Nazareth, he denied him three times. Quickly. For Jesus had jokingly said that Peter would do so before the cock crowed three times. But as anybody knows, the cock crows quickly. Ashamed, broken, but also defensive, Peter stalked away into the night, cussing up a storm, insisting that it was merely human for him to put himself first.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

No, Deborah was asleep. She was exhausted. Since “that day,” she had found the need to take on numerous chores and occupations to earn a decent living for herself and her son. It was difficult to imagine what she would have had to do to stop the insanity that led the mob to Golgotha. But maybe if she had just seen him one more time.

She remembered the first occasion. Financially devastated, with no food in her house, she decided to sell her body to get money for food. Obviously possessing the luck of a witch, her would-be lover ended up being a member of the Pharisees who was conducting a “sting operation” to capture a prostitute who was ready to commit adultery, then drag her off and throw her down in front of the crowd at Jesus’ feet. They wanted to stone her. She just wanted a loaf of bread. But Jesus, using his compassion, his wit and his style, saved her life. He told her to go and sin no more. She heeded his advice. Unfortunately, “sinless” takes more work. Exhausted, she fell into bed every night, setting aside a crust of bread for her little boy in the morning. So when they were crucifying Jesus, she was asleep, trying to build up the energy to honor her promise to never be so foolish again.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Who, me? No. I wasn’t born. I honor his life everyday by trying to understand what he was communicating to us.

Caiaphas thought he was a phony.

Pilate thought he was a pigeon.

Peter thought he was a great distraction.

And the woman caught in adultery knew him only as a Savior.

He’s my friend.

What would I have done if I knew they would crucify him? How would I have tried to stop it? Would I have written a nasty editorial to the Jerusalem Times? Would I have stood there as one voice among so many, demanding his release?

Or would I have rolled over and gone back to sleep?

 

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Jesonian: The Bad Samaritan… April 5, 2015

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It was Charles Schultz, the conceiver of the Peanuts comic strip, who once said, “I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.”

Let me give you my resurrection message. It’s all about Samaritans. In the ministry of Jesus there are four major references to these people from Samaria.

There is the case when Jesus stopped in to Sychar and talked to a woman at a well, who coyly wanted to avoid any discussion of her personal life by becoming embroiled in a conversation about religion. Jesus side-stepped the theology, touched her heart and because of that, a little revival broke out in the region, which led to many wonderful conversions.

The word “Samaritan” is also brought up in relationship to one of ten lepers, who returned to be thankful after being cleansed. Jesus commended him for his great insight.

Then there’s the classic parable of “The Good Samaritan,” who stops off to help out someone wounded along the side of the road.

But the fourth case is what we might call the “Bad Samaritan.”

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem once again and decides to pass through Samaria and sprout a few more blessings. But upon arriving at a Samaritan village, the town council meets him outside the city limits and tells him he is no longer welcome there, because they are angry because he is heading toward Jerusalem.

This prompts two of the disciples to offer the suggestion that these ungrateful people should be killed off by fire from heaven.

Perhaps that’s the problem we have today.

We like people, even those we used to be prejudiced against, as long as they do exactly what we want them to do.

On this Easter Sunday morning I would like you to remember the true message of the season. For after all, Jesus did not resurrect from the dead and go seek revenge on Caiaphas and the Jewish Council. He didn’t behead Pontius Pilate.

The true message of Easter is the same one Jesus spoke to those two disciples when they wanted to kill off the Samaritans, who had a bad day.

It’s a three-step process–a Jesonian perspective which will make your Easter Sunday last all year long:

1. Know the heart of God.

It’s simple: God doesn’t want anyone to perish.

He certainly doesn’t want them to be driven to hell by people who condemn them.

2. Know your own spirit.

Once again, not complicated: we get mercy when we give mercy.

And by the way, we require mercy.

3. The rest is obvious.

Yes, when we walk around pretending that life is difficult, we are admitting that we have abandoned the heart of God and we really don’t know our own spirit.

In conclusion:

  • You can’t change bad Samaritans into good Samaritans.
  • You can’t change bad people into good people.
  • Jesus’ response to the Samaritans who rejected him was simply to go to another village.

Let God take care of all the business of dealing with people’s inner workings.

There are “Bad Samaritans.”

There are people who have nasty attitudes.

Our only recourse is to know the heart of God, know that our own spirit demands that we give mercy, and the rest is obvious:

Move on.

Sometimes … it takes another village.

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Creedless … August 6, 2012

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I have never been very enthusiastic about reciting things in unison. I will participate from time to time, but it always kind of reminds me of the scene in the movie, The Omen, when the followers of the anti-Christ mime his words back to him through what sounds like a really spooky echo chamber.

But a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a church where they were reciting the Apostle’s Creed. “I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried …”

At this point I stopped speaking with the rest of the sheep. It just seemed strange to me that in this particular discourse, we leap from Jesus being born straight to suffering under Pontius Pilate.  Wasn’t there a life in there somewhere? Weren’t there thirty-three years of dynamic existence, with the establishment of the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching us to love our enemies? Where is that in the creed? Is the high point of the life of Jesus of Nazareth best expressed in explaining to all future generations that he died? What if we taught history that way?

“George Washington was born in Virginia and many years later he contracted pneumonia, was treated with leeches, was weakened and passed away.”

“Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky in a log cabin and through the passage of time was shot in the head during a theater performance.”

“Adolf Hitler was born in Germany and one day was found dead in a bunker in Berlin.”

Not only would we have a dearth of material to offer for our history classes, but our children would have no comprehension of the struggle, discovery and journeys of these figures who peppered our landscape with both greatness and evil deeds. The National Education Association would be up in arms.

It makes me wonder why the ministers and congregations are not equally as distressed when Jesus is presented only as a redemptive pin cushion to buffer the punishment for our sins.

No wonder our young humans are choosing to walk away from the religious system in favor of Sunday morning outings at the park with the family. Why go to church? If someone is dead, as a courtesy you put flowers on their grave once a year–which is why people show up for Easter. It’s only polite, you know.

Let me dispel some myths:

First of all, concerning this creed–Jesus did not suffer under Pontius Pilate. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, he absolved Governor Pilate of all responsibility, and laid the cause and blame for the atrocity of the death of Jesus at the feet of that day’s present Jewish religious leaders. If you will pardon my phrasing, I know it’s not kosher to blame the Jews for judging Jesus Christ. They had a bad day. Of a truth, they represented us all, who probably would have been equally as intolerant of someone insisting on tolerance. But it was their watch and they were asleep at the wheel.

Next: Jesus came to earth to show us the Father. For those of you who have been taught that he came to earth to die for our sins, you might want to take another pass at reading his own representation of his mission–because hours before they put nails in his hands, he announced, in the Garden of Gethsemane, to his Father through prayer that he had completed his work.

So what is the cross? It is the greatest act of sacrificial bravery in the history of mankind. It is the final proclamation of love from someone who knew that it was unacceptable to take away the free will-choice of those who wished to kill him. It was an action meant for treachery, which God, as always, brought around to our good.

So the act should be revered and respected for bringing about the salvation which we so frantically attempted to avoid, but it should never be put in predominance over the life, work, heart and mind of Jesus.

Perhaps I mis-titled this article. I called it “Creedless.” I’m not “creedless.” I believe everything in the Apostle’s Creed. It’s just that there is so much more I hold dear, and it is these assertions that make my Christian life meaningful–not the bloody, untimely death of my dearest friend.

Of course, all of this is going to play out. Every one of us will die and find out once and for all what is truly going on beyond our beatless heart. Here are the two possibilities: we will either meet God, our Creator, who certainly can’t be a God of love and also contend that we are so foul that He needed to grab His nearby son to expunge our blackened spot with his miracle blood. No, if there is a God up there, He is, as the Good Book says, Someone who desires mercy instead of sacrifice. So spending all of our time commemorating the death of his son ranges in quality from futile to annoying. As God said to Peter, James and John at the Mount of Transfiguration, “This is my beloved son. Hear ye him.”

There you go. It is just very difficult to hear the words from someone who has been relegated to being a prop for propitiation.

On the other hand, if we pass on and discover that there is nothing beyond the great pale, just paler circumstances, to have spent our lives rallying around the tomb of an executed savior will certainly seem useless when available to us was the spirit and message of a man who wanted to teach people to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

So you see, I have chosen what I consider to be a better path. If there is a heaven, God will have love and mercy as He promised. If there is no eternity, if you don’t mind, I will use the example of the life of Jesus, take that love and mercy, wrap it up and deliver it to the world around me.

 

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Jesus Was a Communist… June 24, 2012

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Jesus was a communist.

I know that’s quite a shocking opening statement. I was equally as surprised as I perused the Gospel accounts and realized that Jesus traveled with his disciples, living off the land and sharing all things in common. Thus, a communist.

Upon additional research, I realized that my first assertion of a Communist Jesus was totally erroneous. As it turns out, Jesus is a capitalist. For he said, “He that has shall more be given, and he that has not, even the little he has shall be taken away from him.” Capitalism.

I also discovered through my readings that Jesus would be very upsetting to the NRA, because he was anti-gun, proclaiming that “they that live by the sword shall die by the sword.”

Yet ironically, he did support the troops, because he praised the Centurion who was in charge of one hundred Roman Legionnaires, by saying, “Never have I seen so great a faith—no, not in Israel.”

A bit befuddled, I pressed on with my project. Turns out that Jesus is in favor of gay rights. He said we should not judge, lest we all be judged, for “the measure that is measured out by us to others will be measured back to us.”

I was about to unveil this revelation to some acquaintances, when, with further perusal, I realized that Jesus was also in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, and might even be a homophobe, because he explained to the Pharisees quite clearly that God made male and female and that from the beginning that this was called true marriage—“that a man should leave his mother and a woman leave her home, and the two would be one flesh.”

By this point, I was fully intrigued, yet a bit shocked when I uncovered that Jesus was an Anti-Semite. Speaking to the women of Jerusalem on the day of his crucifixion, he told them that their “house was left to them desolate.”

So imagine how perplexed I was when I also read that he was a Zionist. Giving a partial rebuke to a Syro-phoenician foreigner, he told her it was not good to “give the children’s bread to the dogs.” That’s right—he called her a “Gentile dog.”

Now my curiosity was really piqued, so I started reading indiscriminately, trying to keep an open mind.

Jesus was a party animal. People referred to him as a “wine-bibber, a glutton and a friend of sinners.” Yet, bewildering, he was also a “refrainer.” For after all, he went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days and forty nights, and was hungry.

I then ascertained that Jesus HAD to be a Republican, because he bluntly said that “every good tree brings forth good fruit and every evil tree brings forth evil fruit.” So I was about to make my proclamation on the political nature of his message, when I determined that he was a Democrat, because he strongly believed in the separation of church and state.Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”

I then realized that some women might find him to be a chauvinist, because arriving at a well in Samaria, he ordered a woman to bring him something to drink. But this was quickly dispelled by viewing the narrative about the day of his resurrection, when he turned to Mary Magdalene and told her to go and tell the other disciples that he was risen from the dead. Yes. He made a woman his first apostle.

Did you know he was pro-life? He told the surrounding audience that if they “offended one of these little ones, it would be better that a millstone be hung around their neck and that they be cast into the sea.”

Of course, a case could be made that he was pro-choice. He said, “If your right eye offend you, pluck it out.” And we certainly know that some women would find an unwanted pregnancy much more disturbing than bad vision.

Was he a saint? Pontius Pilate, a completely neutral bystander, claimed that he found no fault in him.

Was he evil? The religious leaders claimed that he was “a sinner, a Galilean.”

I pressed on. With my additional readings, I discovered that he was a religionist. He advocated that we fast, that we pray, that we give alms, and even mentioned that we should continue our tithing. So you can imagine how I was a little bit astonished to comprehend that he was a revolutionary, standing toe-to-toe with the religious system. He told them that “he was the Lord of the Sabbath.”

A strong case could be made that Jesus was a humanist, for he told his followers that the”Kingdom of God was within them.” Yet, he did not leave out the presence and power of the Almighty, because he spoke clearly and said that “you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”

Did he favor men? Well, he did have twelve disciples, all circumcised. Yet you might have the inkling that his heart went out to women, because Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna, members of his troupe, gave “of their substance” to make sure the work went on. (You’ve got to love contributors.)

Are you tired yet? Because honestly, I found out he was a liberal. Defending a woman caught in adultery, he turned to a gathered audience of those who assumed they were righteous and said, “Let he that hath no sin cast the first stone.”

Yet I have to tell you, he could just as easily have been a conservative. Because in his Sermon on the Mount, he warned his followers that “he had not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it—and not one jot or tittle of the Law would be cast aside until all was completed.”

Well, you can see—I’ve had quite a journey. But there were still a couple more that jumped out at me.

I had always believed that Jesus was forgiving, because even hanging from the cross, he insisted, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But also, he was a bit vindictive—because he warned that the individuals who did not stand with him were against him.

An environmentalist? Well, certainly a case can be made, because he said that “not one sparrow falls from the sky without God being fully aware of the loss.” But also a pragmatist, because he claimed that nature is fickle and unpredictable, with “the rain falling on the just and the unjust.”

So finally I asked myself the supreme question. Was he a savior? He made it clear that he laid down his life and it wasn’t taken from him. But you have to ask yourself whether he was perhaps a victim, because in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed in great anguish, “Father, let this cup pass from me.”

I finished my pursuit of finding the true nature of who Jesus was. And I ended up, as you see, with so many representations that it is no wonder why we have denominations aplenty, and nearly incomprehensible that we don’t have more.

Jesus can be just about whoever you want him to be. That is why over the years he has become the champion for many causes, some noble and others destructive. So my dear friends, how do we know who he really is? How do we know the best way to represent him? It didn’t take much more investigative reporting on my part to come up with a very simple outline—a prism, if you will—which we shine the light of Jesus through to determine his true colors. Because he makes it clear on three occasions why he came to this earth:

1.”I have come give you life and it more abundantly.”

2.”I have come that your joy might be full.”

3.”I have come to show you the Father.”

So as I looked over my thirty-two insights on the life of Jesus based upon fragments of his filibustering, I passed them through the acid test of these three obvious callings.

I decided not to teach anything that did not bring life to people in abundance.

No matter how many times it is shouted, I will not take partial theology to teach anything that does not encourage full joy.

And finally, it is ridiculous to pursue any path that does not show us a glimpse of God the Father.

  • Full joy.
  • Abundant life.
  • Revelation of the Father.

It’s what human beings need.  Therefore, it’s what Jesus is.

   

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Dreadfully Dull… April 7, 2012

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It’s the Saturday part that always interests me. Looking at the days of Easter, from the arrest of Jesus through the crucifixion and on to the resurrection, we often leave out that twenty-four-hour period when he’s dead, beginning to stink and absent of any prospect of life.

Yes, for one day evil has won. Oh, shoot–that’s too dramatic. It would be easier if it were evil. Then we could take a gun out and shoot it, or send Navy seals over to exterminate it. But no. That Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection was a day when much more common, but sinister, concerns were given free rein.

It was a day of dreadful dullness. Because when you turn out the light what remains is darkness. Unacceptable. Yet time passes, your eyes adjust and it suddenly gains plausibility. Adaptation. Yet still, dreadfully dull.

It is a time when the consequence of extinguishing our possibility taunts us in our foolishness and inefficiency, leaving us to either repent in great sorrow for our short-sightedness or stubbornly insist, “It was my choice.”

Yes, it’s the Saturday that fascinates me–a Saturday when the street cleaners of Jerusalem are scraping up the bowels and remains of Judas Iscariot, who has hung himself and has fallen to the earth, gushing in all directions.

It’s a day when a disciple named Peter realizes that he has chosen his own bodily life over the spiritual life he gained from his friend. For denial, after twenty-four hours, reeks of betrayal. And unfortunately, there is no way to recreate beauty by removing truth.

It’s when a woman named Mary, from Magdala, is trying to figure out how in the hell her friend has been snuffed out by a religion she had honored all her life, and also how she was going to be able to roll away a stone to prepare his body for burial.

It is the Sabbath Day, a day of reverence in the midst of a season of redemption–Passover–a day when Caiaphas, the high priest, has symbolically given absolution to a race of people when he, himself, has blood on his hands from slaying the promise of God.

It is a day when people huddle in their houses of worship to commemorate the great deeds of the prophets of old, who were slain by their fathers and mothers–and now they, too, have followed suit, eliminating the greatest possibility.

Nicodemus has to wonder whether he said enough to defend the young man he came to visit by night, who told him to be “born again.” Perhaps he should have heeded the advice.

And Pontius Pilate has clean hands but a cluttered mind, wondering whether his latest decision might have eternal consequences.

But sanity often demands that we escape our conscience through the back door of excuse. The only recourse is to find inane activities that generate a dreadful dull–to anesthetize the guilt and leave us absent sensation.

It was a long day. It was a day when the world was without a Prince of Life and the Light of the World.

I’m not so sure we would have survived two of them–more lies and deception would have been needed to keep us from wondering if we were wrong.

  • Religion–without God.
  • Politics–removing purpose.
  • Friends–breathing, minus love.
  • And dreams–vegetating, devoid of fulfillment.

‘Twas a dreadful dullness–a warning. For resurrection loses some of its sweetness with the memory of indecision.

Only Mary Magdalene and her female companions could tout the glory of victory–having remained each step of the way, faithfully observing the unfolding of the magnificent plan. All others have the aching memory of twenty-four hours of dreadful dullness. 

Victims? Perhaps. But also culprits … in a crime against the universe.

**************

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

Friday, It Better Be Good… April 6, 2012

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6:41 A.M. I wake up and realize it’s time to take a shower–and in the midst of my thick-headedness, I step into the enclosure and immediately drop the bar of soap, having to bend down and pick it up, which is followed by two identical droppings. Three times–bending down in the shower to pick up my bar of soap. Why can’t I hold on to the slippery little booger?

Meanwhile, Jesus is carted off and then ridiculed in front of King Herod and his court because he refuses to do miracles as parlor tricks for their amusement.

7:21 A.M. I find it difficult to enjoy my breakfast because I only have two strips of turkey bacon. Even though it’s a decision of my own making, I’m a bit aggravated because several days ago I allowed myself four strips. Honestly, four strips would not kill me. It’s just that in the pursuit of trying to lose some weight, I felt it was a simple area to cut back on. It doesn’t feel simple today. It feels like someone stripped me of my bacon.

Simultaneously, Jesus is unceremoniously returned to Pontius Pilate because he failed to gain the approval of King Herod. The religious leaders, lacking footing for their charges, decide to accuse him of sedition against the Roman government in order to gain the attention of the single-minded governor. There is no truth to their statement, but as is often the case with those who have a “political mind,” the mere whiff of impropriety frightens him.

8:30 A.M.  My right knee is sore. It’s sore because I’ve been exercising to try to achieve a status in which my right knee will cease to be sore. So what is the purpose of exercising to make your knee stronger, if in the short run it makes it more sore, which makes you want to exercise less? It may be the true definition of a defeated purpose.

Baffled as to what to do, Pontius Pilate makes a decision to whip Jesus thirty-nine times with a cat-o-nine tails to satisfy the blood-thirsty nature of his enemies, without completely draining the life from his body.

9:51 A.M. I open up my Outlook Express to discover that I have no emails from friends and family today. I do not understand why they forsake me, considering that I am faithful to write them each and every week. Would it kill them to put down a few words or send along some niceties? Or just type in my email address and claim they forgot to include a message? I do not understand why people are the way they are. It doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I don’t think it’s mean to lack understanding. I think it’s kind of mean to not send an email to somebody as cool as me.

Following typical human logic (which lacks any true merit) the decision on the fate of a young man from Nazareth who preached love and healed the sick is left in the hands of a howling mob which has been paid off to yell the correct phrase: “Crucify him!”

11:32 A.M. I just realized I left two things in the van that I need–and it’s also laundry day. These are in two different directions. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s just that I’ve reached an age where I like to economize my efforts. Also, I’ve been exercising and my knee is sore. And more walking will just make it sorer, right? So I’m going to take a few moments to figure out how I can lessen my activity without coming across as perniciously unmotivated–and still get the two things out of the car I need and also help out with the laundry. Maybe if I think long enough Janet will get tired of the delay and do it for me.

A night without food. A night without water. A severe beating and numerous verbal and physical attacks. A beam is placed on the back of Jesus of Nazareth as he is commanded to climb up the Via Dolorosa to his position of death. It’s too much. He falls under the weight of the cross. He feels humiliated that he’s unable to man up to the moment. Another is called to bear his load as he stumbles his way to his execution.

12:21 P.M. I open up my cupboard. Lunchtime. And I realize that several days ago I purchased the wrong soup for lunch. I was looking for some sort of chicken soup, but ended up with an anemic chicken noodle that tastes like you hosed down a hen in the coop. Suck.

Jesus is nailed to the cross and in the midst of the initial burst of agonizing pain, he speaks to those who will hear and says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

1:41 P.M.  Jan drank all the diet Coke and all that’s left is diet Sprite. Do you think I’m being picky to be upset about this? There’s plenty of diet Sprite. Of course–because it’s NOT diet Coke. I don’t want diet Sprite, but I don’t want to fight with her about it. That would make me seem small. So I pour myself a cup of water, which I really don’t want, so I don’t have to drink diet Sprite, which would make me mad because she drank all the diet Coke.

At this point, nailed to the cross, having lost nearly a third of his blood, he is plagued by a nagging thirst. With a dry, parched throat, he rasps out to the surrounding guards, “I am thirsty.”

2:22 P.M.  Taking a few moments to check out the television shows available, nothing looks good. There is a Law and Order episode available but I’ve seen it too many times. Daytime talk shows and HBO has its crappiest movies on. So many television shows, so little potential. And all I want is a bit of entertainment to pass the time.

In the midst of the agony of dying, a companion on a cross nearby asks for grace in the upcoming realm of the afterlife. Jesus takes a moment from his own concerns and tells the young fellow that “this day you will be with me in Paradise.”

2:59 P.M.  Television is a bust. It’s not time to do my next project. I’ve already completed my other work. I can’t eat any more because I’ve used up all my calories for mid-day, so I allow myself the grace of becoming bored, which soon leads to believing I’m tired, as I settle down on my pillow and give in to a delicious nap.

Back on the cross, Jesus has lost all energy to lift himself up to gather a breath. His chest is heaving; his muscles are cramping. Right before his heart explodes from all the pressure, he says, “It is finished.” And into the Father’s hands he commends his spirit. He is dead. He is alone.

Epilogue

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Why? So I can be petty, trivialize important things and search for reasons to be dissatisfied? Maybe someday, because you died with such dignity, I will finally live long enough to learn how to take my cushy, relaxed and privileged life … and make a difference.

**************

Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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