Article in Stretton Focus, November 2018
Jesus had no grand plan, whatever religious theorists might suggest about predicting his own arrest and execution. Foresight was applied to his story after the event. Nor did he plan the creation of a worldwide religion to replace the Jewish Temple, nor was he the first Christian and he certainly did not set out to be a destination as in ‘finding Jesus’.
The stories of his ministry tell us that he challenged the Scribes and Pharisees. These accounts show that he sought an end to the influence of a centrally controlled legalistic religious life which trapped faith into a formula. He wanted every individual free to foster their own spiritual relationship with God and to do this through simple actions with love for their neighbours.
The clutter of our life today is a trap, like the Judaism of the Pharisees. Our modern temples are football, consumerism, celebrity, social media, on demand TV, choice. AII surround us with implied rules and habits to learn and observe. Step out of line at your peril. Our Pharisees are the press and the advertisers, keen to ensnare us in their traps, relentless in pursuit of their objectives and resistant to questioning.
Jesus talked about the spirit in a simple way, as much part of us as part of those who knew him first-hand. The spirit was theirs and it is ours, it is yours, not complicated, there is no entry fee, no formula to be understood first. We are all free to find and hear the inner voice, to listen to the spirit, to have faith.
Too often churches make that understanding difficult with their certainties, expressed in antiquated forms of words, strange rituals and irrational explanations. It doesn’t have to be like that. The spirit is there. Listen to your inner self, claim freedom to act in faith, do not stop questioning, it is that simple!