Today I Pray for One Church, One Love.

There is a light, a light no darkness can take away from us. It is as much outside as it is inside. A light that can power the whole universe. Some of us have forgotten it, and yet some of us still remember…

“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.” – Khalil Gibran

I want to share something with you… something important and very close to me I need to express.

I’ve been meaning to write something on this for a while –

I’m fed-up of the Way, the Peace, the Light, being misinterpreted and used as a means of patriotism, condescending, self-righteousness and judgmentalism. I am fed-up with hypocrites who judge others for sexual sin, vanity or some other ‘immorality’, when they are happy to plaster their own egos with excessive pride, self-worth, stubbornness or fill their bellies full of indulgent food, material wealth or other earthly pleasures and criticise others for their actions, wagging the finger and telling people what to do. I am embarrassed by some of these people, for giving the simple and beautiful teachings of Jesus Christ such a bad name, making matters of church and Christ mostly shunned by society… (cue rolling of eyes).

“Be on your guard against false religious teachers, who come to you dressed up as sheep but are really greedy wolves… It is not everyone who keeps saying to me ‘Lord, Lord’ who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the man who actually does my Heavenly Father’s will.” – The Gospel of Matthew. 7. 15.

So, is it practicing or preaching that is important here?

Quoted above are direct words of Jesus Christ.

Oh, and the Heavenly Father’s will??

“This I command you, love one another!” – The Gospel of John. 15. 17.

LOVE…

Words of Saint Paul on love – “Let us have no imitation Christian love. Let us have a genuine break with evil and a real devotion to good. Let us have real warm affection for one another, as between brothers, and a willingness to let the other man have the credit… Share the happiness of those who are happy, and the sadness of those who are sad. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t become snobbish but take a real interest in ordinary people. Don’t become set in your own opinions… As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone…”  – Letter to Young Churches. 12. 9.

“Don’t become snobbish but take real interest in ordinary people”..?

So should we associate ourselves only with the righteous, the clean, the pure?
Or is it humanity, our humanity as a whole, that we should be connecting with?
Did Jesus come down, share his love and knowledge with only the righteous, law-abiding people of the time?

No. Quite the opposite. Prostitutes and thieves more like.

You see, people of real faith, who are firm in their beliefs, are not threatened by people who have other ideas or opinions. I know what I believe for example, but love to explore and share in the ideas and findings of others. I have no fear of being ‘tainted’. I have hope. A vision. A firm feeling inside that is incorruptible.

Love… felt it since as long as I can remember. It’s undeniable.
And I have so much to be thankful for.

For this Love has brought me so very much.

P3211883

These are all words of Jesus – quoted directly from the bible, words that have always resonated with me.

Of the Pharisees – “Jesus replied, ‘you hypocrites, Isaiah described you beautifully when he wrote – This people honoureth me with their lips, though their hearts are far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. You are so busy holding on to the traditions of men that you let go the commandment of God!'” – the Gospel of Mark. 7. 1.

“Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you utter frauds! For you pay your tithe on mint and aniseed and cumin, and neglect the things which carry far more weight in the Law – justice, mercy and good faith. These are the things you should have observed – without neglecting others. You call yourselves leaders, and yet you can’t see an inch before your noses, for you filter out the mosquito and swallow the camel.” – The Gospel of Matthew. 23.

“What miserable frauds you are, you scribes and Pharisees! You built tombs for the prophets, and decorate monuments for good men of the past, and then say ‘If we had lived in the times of our ancestors we should never have joined in the killing of the prophets… You serpents, you viper’s brood, how do you think you are going to avoid being condemned to the rubbish-heap? Listen to this: I am sending you prophets and wise and learned men; and some of these you will kill and crucify, others you will flog in your synagogues and hunt from town to town.” – The Gospel of Matthew. 23.

and my personal favourite…

“The kingdom of God never comes by watching for it. Men cannot say, ‘Look, here it is’, or ‘there it is’, for the kingdom of God is inside you.” – The Gospel of Luke. 17. 20.

24th March, 2016. Westminster, London.

I was tired.

There’s always so much I want to see or do when I’m back in the capital that I often forget to just relax and enjoy myself. I’ve found a lot of joy in the past from ‘doing’, progress, achievement… but today I was tired, another sinus headache, a lot swirling around my head, not much sleep. So I pushed all the to-dos to the back of my mind, and decided instead to wander, let life, God, be in control again, take me on a little journey…

Still learning how to let go.

I left Victoria Station, walked a bit in the light rain, seemingly-directionless, admiring the clean, glass-fronted shops that rose up all around – all the fashion, glamour and chic of the city – my round sunglasses on, less for fashion more for relief from bright light. It was nice to be back – I have so many memories here, mostly good ones, and there’s something about light Spring rain in the grey city that makes me feel very connected to my being English… naturally.

Next I found myself standing outside something I didn’t expect to see – a Byzantine-style cathedral, huge, rising up among all the modern buildings like a glitch; throw-back from a far more ancient time.

As I walked closer I read the sign ‘Westminster Cathedral’, and then the Latin beneath hailing Jesus, son of God, who died in blood for our salvation… or at least that’s what my limited Latin translation came to.

Funny, I didn’t really know Westminster had a cathedral, an Abbey yes. But especially didn’t expect to see this beautiful brick building in the middle of London, as if it had been lifted-up whole and sent over from Rome.

Of course, I went inside.

I felt an instant cooling, not in temperature, but somewhere in my mind. Something switched on, or perhaps something switched off. It was dark, low-light. I walked in, ignoring the guidebooks, and sat down in the middle of this huge hushed place.

The ceiling and walls were all painted black, or at least appeared to be, making me think it had perhaps been in a fire at some point. I wondered if it had maybe been sacked by Protestants during the reformation some years ago. The place was like a mystery to me…

I felt still inside, and connected, and so took a moment of prayer like I often do when I feel the connection – whenever ever I get the call – wherever it is – in church, field, bus, on a train – wherever. The details are insignificant. The Church is wherever the People are.

I reached into my bag and grabbed a couple of painkillers, asked God to heal me too, keep me strong, guided, connected, take away my pain and let me get back to full-strength. Prayed for my family and friends, people dear to me. I prayed for that child in Africa that broke my heart, prayed that he knew I loved him, and would return soon, that I didn’t abandon him like everyone else in his life…

Westminster Cathedral

After some time I got up, walked down the central isle back towards the guidebooks. I was in a Catholic church I discovered. The church had been built a couple hundred years before for the Catholic community in a traditional Byzantine style, but remained unfinished, hence the black walls and ceiling. It certainly didn’t strike me as a Catholic church at first. Where were all the glittery shining details and grand statues, those great things built to make you feel small, which I was so used to seeing back in Italy?

It didn’t bother me of course. Yes, so I was christened Protestant all those years ago, and yet I go to an Orthodox church often with my mother. Used to always go and pray in Catholic churches and monasteries when I lived in Italy, sung in a Gospel choir for a time, which I suppose is Evangelical. All of that is just ticking boxes to me though. I went to Stonehenge to celebrate Spring Equinox last week with my father and brothers – the end of Winter, new dawn of Spring, fresh start, connecting to nature, my earth and my family.

What does all of this make me? A person. Still. A follower of the beauty and love of Christ, someone who tries to do their best, love thy neighbour, forgive and live a life of understanding and compassion. Someone on their own journey, whose felt this connection to something far greater than the world through human eyes ever since he was a child.

A person who carries a love for Goodness, God and the Heavenly Realm, and yet a great sadness and compassion for the earth and its people; my people, our people. Someone who feels a need to save, help, spread the Light and the Word, the true meaning of God, oneness, compassion, and yet keep his own flame alight through a collective healing and expression.

So I looked around this great church, built for the adoration of God, a place created for people to come and connect, to their God, to the higher energy, God consciousness, divine, to their place of inner peace, to reflect, repent and exhale… a place of healing really… and yet I felt sad.

“Mumma would love it here,” I thought with regret. But of course mumma couldn’t come here, pray, confess, or even chat to a priest here, because mumma is orthodox and that’s not allowed. She belongs to a different category. We shouldn’t mix – they don’t worship in the correct way, do the correct hand signals, use the right language, whatever. Therefore everything about the catholic church is doomed, false, a great big lie? All the billion followers of that faith aren’t really Christians, followers of Christ…

Well of course I don’t think so. Yeah I’m not gonna put my faith in the Pope any day soon, or the Vatican, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna have to turn my nose up to the entire catholic body does it? Surely, really, by now we have learnt to look at people as individuals? Surely, by now, we have understood what Christ really meant when he criticised the Pharisees for being hypocrites? Surely, by now, we have developed an understanding of the true meaning of forgiveness? You can’t tell me that if a Catholic or an Orthodox or Protestant or any other, who lives a good life, follows the Way and spreads goodness throughout his or her life, but doesn’t do the right rituals in the correct order from the correct translation from the correct century or denomination is going straight down to hell, to burn for eternity, for being in the wrong ‘group’?

Oh wouldn’t it be easier if we could all just get along and stop getting caught up in the details – remember to focus on the point of Christianity – the entire point – TO FOLLOW CHRIST, His teachings, His words and Way.

Jesus didn’t call his followers Christians – the name came up well after his death.

Jesus didn’t create the rules and divides in the church, they were created by the men in seats of power at the time, and, yes, there was divide among the church founders even in the very beginning of the church, people squabbling over who had been baptised correctly, by which disciple, and so on and so forth – St. Paul writes about it in the bible.

Westminster Abbey

So, yes, I felt sad, contrite even, that this beautiful place I’d discovered wasn’t a place I could share with my mother, because of ‘the rules’ laid down by men, not Christ. This would not be a place for us to sit in silence together, pray together, share something and understand.

But you mean pray without all the correct prayers in the correct order? Ludicrous, no?! Jesus would surely condemn it…

 “And then, when you pray, don’t be like the play-actors. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at street-corners so that people may see them at it. Believe me, they have had all the reward they are going to get. But when you pray, go into your own room, shut the door and pray to your Father privately. Your Father who sees all private things will reward you. And when you pray don’t rattle off long prayers like the pagans who think they will be heard because they use so many words. Don’t be like them. After all, God, who is your Father, knows your needs before you ask him…” – The Gospel of Matthew. 6. 1.

Yes, direct words of Jesus again. Surprised? A lot of what Christianity ‘is’ comes not of the Lord, or the Bible, but of man, so-called ‘teachers’ and learned people. Ego, pride and twisted truth. Control and fear.

Life is so short. Sometimes I feel like the only person I know who understands the fullness of what’s going on in the universe around me. Everyone seems to be so caught up in detail, tradition.

You know, then I have the other side of my family who, rather than getting caught up in the rights and wrongs of which church to follow, won’t even let me mention church, God, Jesus, as that somehow offends their beliefs.

I hope we all learn to love and accept each other eventually. I love and accept each and every one of my true friends, my family. They are all so different, so are their beliefs, actions, ideals – I don’t try to repress that, or affect them forcefully with some kind of preaching. I chose to live by example, do as I feel, and the right people connect with me somehow along the way, at the right time, and we inspire each other.

 “As the human body, which has many parts, is a unity, and those parts, despite their multiplicity, constitute one single body, so it is with Christ. For we were Jews, Greeks, slaves or free men, and we have all experience of the same Spirit. Now the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand I don’t belong to the body,’ does that alter the fact that the foot is part of the body? Or if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye I don’t belong to the body,’ does that mean that the ear really is no part of the body? After all, if the body were all one eye, for example, where would be the sense of hearing? Or if it were all one ear, where would be the sense of smell? But God has arranged all the parts in the one body according to his design. For if everything was concentrated in one part, how could there be a body at all? The fact is there are many parts, but only one body…” – Letters to Young Churches. 12. 12.

Perhaps, maybe, we really are all one body, fighting against each other part and denying what we are, denying our intrinsic connection to each other, our collective flow of blood and spirit, our one humanity, one earth, one spirit, one love.

 To finish,

I must briefly say that I thought about writing a post of this nature for quite some time, but whenever I came close I decided not to – I don’t really like to force my opinions on other people, ultimately my beliefs are just that – mine. Something for me. And whilst I like to share and express myself, artistically and emotionally, I would never want to make anybody feel unwelcome, somehow unwanted or judged. That’s simply not my game.

However, this comment, posted on my Collaborators page (which in itself reflects a sort of irony) prompted me to speak up.

https://diaryofanaesthete.com/2016/01/22/the-collaborators/

It’s not the most abrasive comment, and I’ve certainly had worse on this site, but rather than block this one I thought I’d use it as an example, of exactly the kind of Christian I will never be…

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew. 7. 3.

7:1-6 “We must judge ourselves, and judge of our own acts, but not make our word a law to everybody. We must not judge rashly, nor pass judgment upon our brother without any ground. We must not make the worst of people. Here is a just reproof to those who quarrel with their brethren for small faults, while they allow themselves in greater ones.”

This is a message to you, the reader – Do not let the Great Pretenders and Liars bring you down. You are a beautiful soul, created in God’s own image. You are bold, you are brilliant. You are just the way He intended you to be. We all have our own journey to focus on, our own lessons and our own teachings to give. It is time to turn the mirror of judgment inwards to our own troubles and puzzles, our immaculate expression outwards toward the people, Our Humanity, and our hearts upwards toward God, for He is the One Love, and there is no heart at all without Love.

If you ever have any doubt as to how much you are loved, go out at night, look up to the sky, and really see what you are seeing
– a heavenly display, arranged across the entire sky for you and only you…
for in that moment, you are the only person in the world…

They can try, but they can’t take that away from us…

J x

32 Comments

  1. Just come across this while perusing your blog and loved it. You said it so very well and I totally agree!
    The Bible says “God is love,” (not even just “loving” he IS love.) and “he that doesn’t love his brother who he has seen how can he love God who he has not seen.” I could go on and on about God’s overwhelming love. My first husband was from a Catholic background, my second from “the Brethren” church – you couldn’t get more opposite than that (they both loved Jesus)! As you said it’s not about which group you belong to but how close you live to God, your personal walk with Him which is manifest in your life. I’ve known some who were not Christians also who lived close to God in their own way also. God loves us all so much He’ll use any means at His disposal to draw us to Him.(I don’t mean that “there are many paths to God” as often put forth, but more that God is not limited in the ways He reaches people.)
    Like you, I’m also saddened by the way organized religion often distorts the message of Christ, His mercy, empathy and humanity. While researching for a book I’m working on, I discovered many Evangelicals even depict the “rival” Catholic church as the “whore” of revelations who fornicates with “the beast” (the worldly commercial system) but I think all denominations could do with taking a long hard look at themselves and ask the question, just how comprised are they? Who do they serve God or Mammon, are they true seekers or followers of the status quo?
    Perhaps understanding our own fallibility we would be less judgemental of others. God has always put me to shame in showing just how much greater His love is than mine. May He bless and keep you in all your ways. You have the rare gift of a clear vision, rejoice, enjoy and take care. ,

    Like

    1. So beautiful and eloquently put. I just couldn’t agree more. Thank you for sharing this beautiful addition to this page. God is indeed limitless, He has shown me it time and time again on this ever-changing Journey. We are those blessed enough to see the miracle of His works for what they truly are. Once the mind is quenched with fruits of the world we can allow the heart to bloom in the wonders of the Garden. His True nature has yet to be fully freed and revealed and I see a new dawn where Man finally metamorphosizes into the intended Grace. Humanity has a lot of work to do, and like we have said, must turn the mirror inward. See His own reflection. Wishing you peace. and LOVE.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have walked away from organized religion. Sickened by those who prostitute the Gospel for the building of their kingdoms not Christ’s Kingdom. I still gather with other believers. It’s just not within the four walls of a “church”.

    I am honored you are following justkeepingitREAL. It warms my heart to know you will be visiting me.

    Have a great day James!
    Rita

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have chosen some very poignant quotes from the Bible and make your points well. The gap between spirituality and religion seems to be growing ever greater which is a great travesty in this modern world, in times when we need to stick together more than ever. Young people, as a general rule, seem to have no interest in ‘connecting the wire’ anymore, and rebelling against church and tradition seems to be ‘hip’ these days. I understand the need for change, I just fear some people are missing the point…

    M.

    Like

    1. I agree with you, M, on most of what you have said. There indeed seems to be this distinct line between religion and spirituality/soulfulness these days that neither party dares to cross, for fear of doing the wrong thing… but by whom? The Church is about humanity coming together, marching on for one cause, one peace, one understanding of love and one Spirit. Some people refuse to call it God, which I understand. Calling it ‘the Light’ the Universe’ or ‘the Divine’ is a lot less committal. You call it God or Jesus or Allah and suddenly your friendship circle narrows considerably and a lot less people are nodding. Sad really. I call it ‘the divine’ or ‘the light’ or whatever too sometimes. I’m not so sure if God is particular about which man-made words or phrases we attribute to him, as long as they convey the correct message. These are all phrases I use, but I use them to branch out to people, universally. Mine is a place all are welcome. We are all much more similar than we care to realise, we just put ourselves in different boxes and think that actually makes us different. I wish people could see that the Jews rocking back and forth at the Wailing Wall are doing something very similar to the Yogis in these Ashrams in India that seem to be ever growing in popularity. The only real difference is the Old and the New – Jews are worshiping the Past and the New Age the future. The Buddhists ‘live in the moment’. Everybody is worshiping something, no? Some worship themselves, their home-made celebrity, some worship the celebrity of others. Seems Idol worship remains popular to this day… except now the ‘Gods’ conjure a whole different illusion. An illusion of perfection and ‘ideal’ projected through real people, living unreal lives. And yet they all want to be like them… and people wonder why they are unhappy. The Christians worship the Book and many forget to actually respect it by practicing its very simple teaching. We all doubt ourselves, and yet, at some point in our lives, we all project our opinion or belief onto others because we actually believe we have answers that our friend doesn’t have the means to arrive at alone… so now I come to it, the point – the Ego. The Ego is the only thing dividing us, not words, practices, history or circumstance. It’s Ego. Ego is the great enemy, and I have a lot more fear of the Ego than I do hell or Satan, or some great devouring God or Apocalypse. What scares me is that if Man had found a way to conquer Ego somewhere near the dawn of time we would have had peace up to this very day. Think of all the pain, death, loss that we have put into the ether? Can’t tell me God did that, or blame a book or some line or some rules. What amazes me is that we allow Ego to divide us on fickle grounds. We allow Ego to tear apart families, nations, races, landscapes. Ego has destroyed so much and it continues to work its magic… the thing about Ego is that nobody really pays attention to it. “It’s not there. Not controlling me. Not affecting what I do or say… my thoughts are entirely my own and I KNOW I am right. He is wrong… He’ll see I’m right…” But perhaps that line WILL eventually be broken. And I am sure it HAS been by various people in our history… Jesus, Buddha… I know one thing – I will spend my time on this earth battling against my own ego, constantly reminding myself, re-grounding myself, keeping my feet on the ground, praising He, and not worrying about who’s practicing what correctly and who’s making mistakes. No, my mirror is facing inwards. There’s too much work to be done inwards to start focusing on the impurities in everyone else… I hope both the young and the old realise that… but then what do I know? What do I know of the world and its greater workings, of the universe and the heavens? All I know is what does and doesn’t work for me. This Way may or may not work for others too… I don’t know. All I can do is Walk… and hope others learn to use their feet… Jx

      Like

  4. He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body.

    (Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts)

    Slow and steady will we get there, but we will.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like this. I’m glad you decided to publish. Sometimes it is hard not to get other’s words and judgement get to us. In the end, I feel like the more we try to understand God, the more we misunderstand him. In the end, we should just love truly. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mick. You are so right of course… It actually says this is the Bible somewhere. Must find that quote now… to wander is to know all of God’s world. I suppose we’re all on a personal journey, and no one person can be directly compared to another. But, coming together, can breed a very special thing indeed…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I wondered when someone would see and say this, again, now, and consider what it might really mean.
    ““Be on your guard against false religious teachers, who come to you dressed up as sheep but are really greedy wolves….”
    This seems more pressingly true now that ever in my memory.
    Thank you for saying it.
    Again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely post. For me….walking with Jesus includes all paths of live and light, whether there is a Christian bible included or not. Oneness is the goal for me….since my direct spiritual experiences in early childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more. The Bible can be a great guide, yes, and at times of my life when I have more time to sit and read I love to delve in and find the ancient knowledge within… but reading the Bible does not make you a good person, as said. It is our actions, our ‘path’ that defines us, and ultimately affects where we are taken in this life… and beyond. JX

      Liked by 1 person

Shine your light...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s