The Messianic Dilemma

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For nearly two thousand years, the mainstream Christian community has awaited the return of Jesus and the day of reckoning that he will trigger. Upon his return, the sheep will be separated from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, the good fish from the bad, or, to put it in concise terms, the saved from the unsaved. The Jewish community has been waiting even longer.

The Christian mystic, on the other hand, has never hung his or her hope on the return of this man. Rooted in principles that predate the advent of Jesus, his appearance and the ensuing movement that followed influenced their vocabulary, not their principles. For them, the omnipresence and accessibility of God is an eternal reality awaiting recognition of the persistent contemplative. A day of judgment may make sense to the judgmental, but it has no place in one who has come to know the changeless nature of God.

Even though the writers of the gospels did so, I do not believe Jesus presented himself as the expected messiah. This designation was developed by the early followers to inspire the hope that not all was lost with the death of their leader. This is one of many instances where Jesus directed attention away from himself: “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

God alone is the unchanging source of all. There is indeed a need for salvation from the poverty, disease, unrest, and discord that arise from the belief that we are separate from God. But this salvation does not come in the form of a long-haired man with outstretched arms appearing in the clouds with a fanfare of trumpets and an entourage of angels. It comes in quiet moments of inner reflection. Only here, in the sanctuary of our own being, can we discover the inner wholeness that is our spiritual core, our soul, that which is already perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.

We can continue to wait for our savior, or we can follow the advice of one who obviously knew what he was talking about: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

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