Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > we are epiphanies

 
 

Naming of her name ~ Epiphanies we are

Nov 15, 2019


No Distance Between Us

*Brian Wilcox. "No Distance Between Us".

A lovely love story ~ not necessarily 'romantic' ~ we find in the Christian Scriptures, Gospel of John 21.11-18, one of delicate, loyal affection...

But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and what he told her.

* * *

C. Austin Miles was a pharmacist. He started writing gospel songs and became an editor of hymnals and songbooks. Miles' hobby was photography. He used his darkroom as the place of privacy to read the Holy Bible.

In March 1912, while waiting for film to develop, Miles opened to his favorite Scripture chapter, John 20, where is recorded the first Easter. Later, he related:

As I read it that day, I seemed to be part of the scene.... My hands were resting on the Bible while I stared at the light blue wall. As the light faded, I seemed to be standing at the entrance of a garden, looking down a gently winding path, shaded by olive branches. A woman in white, with head bowed, hand clasping her throat as if to choke back her sobs, walked slowly into the shadows. It was Mary. As she came to the tomb, upon which she placed her hand, she bent over to look in and hurried away. John, in flowing robe, appeared, looking at the tomb; then came Peter, who entered the tomb, followed slowly by John.

As they departed, Mary reappeared, leaning her head upon her arm at the tomb. She wept. "Turning herself, she saw Jesus standing; so did I. I knew it was He. She knelt before Him, with arms outstretched and looking into his face, cried, "Rabboni!"

I awakened in full light, gripping my Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision I wrote as quickly as the words would be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening I wrote the music.

In the Garden

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

I'd stay in the garden with Him
'Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

* * *

Interesting to me that Mary doesn't recognize Jesus until he speaks her name. What does this point to?

Intimacy. She refers to him as "my Lord," a title of respect also translated "sir," and authority over, or "Rabbi," or Teacher. Mary recognizes Jesus when he speaks to her as Jesus, not Lord and not Rabbi, the latter official titles. He, a man, speaks forth to her "Mary!," a female, from an equality of two persons with two names: Mary and Jesus. Within this intimacy is equality, not one above, one below, one and one together one. "Mary!" is a word inviting the ease of familiarity, of closeness.

What does he mean for Mary to stop holding on to him? Seems he means more than just physically letting go.

She can no longer know him as she knew him, she must enter the unknown of the present to know him anew and as he will continue to reveal himself from within their shared intimacy. The words "Lord" and "Rabbi" are from memory, the past, a newness is present that cannot be brought into the present, the relationship is different and will never return to being what it was. This is a death to her, and a new life, too. Yet, the only way we can truly know anyone intimately is to see the other as a continuing revelation. We cannot know someone as past tense, we cannot know ourselves, either, in past tense. Everyone is part of the same flow of Life. Again, the new cannot be brought into the present, for it arises in the present, is the present. This is what is meant by eternal life. The mind needs to release the past, to participate in the eternal.

As we shared before, analogy but not repetition.

Correct. No one, even as no moment, repeats. Continuity is part of the flow, but we mistake continuity for sameness. We never see the same anyone more than once. Jesus is recognizable as Jesus the man Mary had known, yet that is continuity. Like a river, she cannot stop him from becoming other than he is in the moment. Beyond this, however, in the context of the Gospel of John, Jesus is making a major transition. We may go through major transitions in our way of life or how others view us due to choices we make or changes we undergo. Persons can struggle to see the continuity, as well as accept the difference, the new you. I joke about my parents wondering what happened to their boy, for I changed much, after leaving home and going into years of studies. One matter was my interest in and engagement of Buddhist thought and practice, when my parents raised me as a conservative Christian, where any interest in any other religion was taboo. Brian, their child, was still Brian, as to continuity, but he was not, for he was not the same Brian.

Yet, each person is innately created with this potential to surprise us with surprising, even baffling, changes. What happens, when like my friend years ago, he awoke up one day, having healthy sight the day before, and was blind. Not only did he face this baffling change, his wife and children did: one day husband and father sees, the next, he wakes up never to see again. We hear, too, of spouses, married for years and with children, admitting to the husband or wife that he or she is gay or lesbian. If we relate to persons respectfully as a continuing revelation, when a major change occurs, or is revealed, we are more prepared to honor it rather than clinging to what they appeared to be previous. Anyway, we are none what we appear to be, we are ceaseless epiphanies. ~ Of course, as we often share, there is that, the essence, that undergoes no change; we are speaking today more about the person, not the essence that is essentially who we are, as one.

I once sat sharing a meal with a religion volunteer working under me at a jail, where I was Senior Chaplain. His son had informed him that he was gay. The father told me he had rejected his son, he would have nothing to do with his boy due to the son's sexual orientation. His excuse was his belief that homosexuality is sinful. How sad that he had an idea of what is son ought to be, rather than loving his son as his son. Even if he continued to disagree with his son's homosexuality, he could have loved him dearly and remained close to him, but his idea of right-and-wrong was more important than his son. What was in his head, a belief, a thought, was more important than the child he helped come into this world. How sad that persons do this, and in the name of their god.

This knowing someone only now sounds very Zen-like.

Yes. In that moment between the past and future is the now naked of time. Ben Connelly, a Zen Buddhist teacher, says his teacher directs him at times with this simple wisdom, "Just come back to zero." We can only meet the Christ in that now, nowhere else. If we meet the Christ ~ Buddha, Love, Grace, ... ~ anywhere else, we are meeting not the living Christ but a past image, a dead one. We are each this Christ, Buddha, Love, Grace, ... words that point to so much more.

This is what's meant when a Zen Buddhist says, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him"?

Yes. That is one meaning of it. Buddha cannot be a Buddha of the past. Buddha is now, or Buddha is not. So, kill your Buddha of the past. What is left? Now. Buddha always here, now, in everyone you meet, present wherever you go. If you try to keep Buddha in the past, you lose Buddha. Buddha will not go back for you, you must come now to Buddha. So, with Christ, Love, Grace, you, me, ...

So, I can see how our relationships could be enhanced in this way.

Yes, true. What if we awoke not to meet the other we knew yesterday, or many yesterdays, but to be curious to meet the other now. In this way intimacy is renewing itself constantly, with ever-replenishing freshness. There is no staleness to this intimacy.

Let us continue this later. I would like us to continue, as there are some other thoughts that arise of import to the story today and its practicality for us.

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*Scripture from Holy Bible, from New American Bible; history of hymn "In the Garden" is from Robert J. Morgan. Then Sings My Soul; quote of return to zero from Ben Connelly. Inside the Grass Hut.

*The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.

 

Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > we are epiphanies

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