Although I have serious issues with Catholicism (having been raised in this religion and suffering the terrible burden of guilt and shame it loaded myself and many others with), I am still a follower and lover of Jesus.
I do not believe that Jesus ever intended for a church to be built with walls which can divide and separate us from nature. If so, why did he preach in open fields? I don’t feel that Jesus wanted children to feel guilt or be punished or shamed, other wise why did he say “suffer the little children to come to me” and the most profound wisdom “unless you become as a little child you will not enter the kingdom of heaven?”
Jesus did not preach that the kingdom of heaven was above us or in the next life, he said “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you and all around you.” Wake up, people.
Jesus message was a message of love and not of hate, but there were times when witnessing hypocrisy and forces of stricture and materialism that he got really angry, throwing money lenders out of the temple.
Jesus believed he had to be his own parent. That he had to grow into the individual that he was and leave his mother and father behind.
Jesus never proclaimed he was anything but himself and he was put to death because he would not back down from his true authenticity.
In his death, Jesus became a scapegoat. Which is a reminder to any of us who are scapegoated that this marks us out as children of the light, reviled by forces of darkness who find our authentic sensitivity too much and try to cast us out.
In his crucifixion he showed as that at times we will be exiled or put to death by those who would rather our truth was not spoken and yet after a time of suffering we will rise again as there is no force on earth that can truly kill our spirit if we are true to ourselves and our essence.
At this time of year let us remember that we will go through experiences of crucifixion but if we surrender to that dying for a time, after a period life will return again if we trust and stay true to our hearts.
When I was at my lowest point (and there have been many) I travelled to Glastonbury where it is rumoured the remains of Jesus were taken. I had powerful experiences in both the Magdalene Chapel and the Challis Wells Garden of Jesus’s body being held lovingly by the three Mary’s after her died. They were grieving for the loss of the light of his presence and feeling the deep ache of that separation. Perhaps this was a powerful metaphorical image of my own grief process externalised. It did sustain me.
Now I know that even in my darkest moments when suicide can at times feel like the only alternative, I will be held and come through to the light if I can just hold on.
In his retelling of the myth of Faust, Robert Johnson writes that if we can just hold through the dark time of crucifixion for long enough in time we will hear the Easter Music, darkness and death will not be the final words, but one phase in a larger journey that recycles over and over. This for me is the personal lesson I take from the symbolic meaning of the crucifixion.
As we grow and transform we become part of this cycle wherein a certain phase ends, nature replays this cycle which we chart with the calendar of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere Easter prefigures a time of dying more than rebirth and yet the promise of that rebirth is still intimated in the cycle of death and endings which leads into darkness which will be the place where in mysterious processes play out that in time will bring new life. So it is for us. Our darkness or depression fully and consciously navigated can bring a gift of new hope, new understanding and new life.