Saturday, December 4, 2010

A YouTube Advent Calendar: December 4

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.
-    1 Thessalonians 4

Jesus said, “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls."

-    Luke 21

The basic claim of religion is that there is something going on that is deeper than the surface appearance. We are not mere creatures of instinct. We have a divine origin, and this is expressed in our creativity and in our ability to love. Religion seeks to take away the fear of death, and it provides motivation to live a life of value, not just of survival.

In Christian thought, Jesus went ahead of us into death and came back to show us that death not only isn’t that bad—it’s necessary to the value of life.

Sometimes religious beliefs are expressed in talk of angels and demons, of “powers and principalities,” or even of cosmic warfare. Is not all of life a battle, a struggle to find the deeper meaning that surely exists? Some people take these metaphors quite literally, and this has scared many people away from religion completely. But if you feel religion is not an option for you, where does the meaning come from? How do you explain creativity and love without using metaphors?

I believe there is something deeper—as Sting puts it, “there is a deeper wave than this.” And Sting has his own metaphor: “Love Is the Seventh Wave.” The thread that never fails to bind believers and non-believers together is love. Love, love, love. Focus on love, and all our differences in metaphor become far less important. Forget about love, and our differences only cause pain and destruction.

Today and every day, love somebody. Love the lovable, and also love your enemies. Look beyond the boundaries of your own creature-ness and catch the divine spark in the eyes of another person. The Buddhists say “Namaste”—“I honor the God in you.” The Christians say, “I see Jesus in your face.”

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