Friday, September 25, 2009

Come unto me...

I have read theology for years. All the waves and all the fads. And much of it has enriched my mind and life. But when it gets right down to it, to the essentials, most of it does little to heal a wounded spirit-and we are all wounded spirits. Better the words of Jesus, "Come unto me..."

The following comes from a young Japanese man who was converted by orthodox missionaries, later came to a Unitarian view of the Christian faith and, at the time of this writing, was studying at Harvard Divinity School. It was published in The Unitarian Review in 1891.

"The third and last essential element of Christianity is the true way of salvation. "Come unto me," said Christ, "all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest"; and many came, and found rest. This occurred more than eighteen centuries ago, but it is also actually occurring among us. We ourselves are crushed under the burden of sin. Fear and anguish are distracting our hearts. We try to repent, bu^t we are weak. We do not like sin, but we cannot but sin. We are miserable, and our hearts are heavy-laden. With such hearts we go to Christ and learn the truth: that God is our merciful Father, who forgives all our sins, if we repent sincerely. By this knowledge we get a new motive to repent. Thus the door is open for repentance. We repent, and experience the removal of the painful consciousness of sin. This happy experience, strongly contrasted with the former miserable condition, creates in us a new disposition to hate sin and to love God. The more we realize our sinfulness, the more we realize the love of God. The more we realize the love of God, the more our gratitude makes us to love him. Thus our hearts are renewed, and we are born again. By repentance the burden of sin is removed. By regeneration the power of sin is destroyed. The process is mysterious, but the result is indisputable. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou nearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh." In this sense, salvation has to do with the present moment. Salvation is not something that comes in a hazy future or on the other side of the grave. It will never be accomplished if it does not begin now, for future is nothing but the coming now."

Nobuta Kishimoto. Harvard University, Cambridge, Dec. 22, 1890.

Amen and blessings


PeaceBang said...

Glad to have you back, BU.

David G. Markham said...

Dear BU:

I second PeaceBang's sentiments. It is good to have you back. I hope that things are well for you.

I don't think it is sin that is humans' problem. The theodicy of Christianity has created more pain and suffering than it has alleviated. The idea that humans are defective from birth for some mythological reason is a pernicious manipulation which has given clergy and governments control over people. It does not set them free but rather subjugates them to external intermediaries who adjudicate a sense of worthiness.

Jesus said that God loves us and our problem is our lack of faith not our sins. This idea of our innate defectiveness was cooked up by Augustine who had his own psychological issues of sexual addiction.

The primary problem of evil in the world is caused by humans stupidity, our lack of awareness and this is cured not by suffering on a cross in excruciating pain but rather by relection and examiniation of our lived experience by ourselves and in concert with trusted and wise others.

Jesus gives us rest by pointing out that with faith we can move mountains but without it we are like Sisyphus continully struggling to roll rocks up steep mountains.

All the best,

David Markham