Author: cheok hong chuan
Date: 03-11-12 14:14
This is for the Chinese Christians ONLY.
Please refelect and contemplate before responding!
This is an edited version of my Monday discourse to my siblings.
The Gospel Reading was on John 2:13-25; on the ruckus at the Temple where Jesus threw out the moneychangers and chased away the sellers of cattle sheep and pidgeons. Father John focused on the part where Jesus said – “Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up” – and then gave a sermon about the coming crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ. This is of course the usual sermon on this passage of the Gospel.
Let me explain what the hidden message is all about.
In biblical times, the Jews were all about sacrificing animals, to get God’s favour or as a form of repentance. So like in a Chinese temple where you can buy joss-sticks, fruit and all sorts of religious paraphernalia; at the Jewish temple, depending on how rich you are, you can change currencies and then buy the type of sacrifice that you can afford to offer to God. What the Jews then did those ancient times was condoned by the priests. So obviously Jesus was trying to tell the Jews something critically different to what they thought was the way to spiritual salvation.
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 9:13 – “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” ‘Mercy’ is better understood in its Latin or French form as ‘merci’ Merci means thanks. How do you thank someone? By being thoughtful! Merci means thanks for your kind thoughts. All God wants is not sacrifice but for you to be thoughtful of Him, be thankful to Him. Why? God is our loving Spirit Father. He has unconditional love for us all, his spirit children.
That crucifixion and resurrection is quite a different thing all together. In the image of Christ we all have to be crucified and resurrected, to die [to cast away our worldly ego] and to be reborn in our eternal spirit self. Otherwise, how can we be saved! How can we take the journey home as the Prodigal Son? Jesus is only the sacrificial lamb, if we also become sacrificial lambs! Jesus as a spirit did not die for our sins. Being eternal how can he die? Similarly our eternal spirit can never die; so how can we die in the spirit? We can only die in our mortal worldly self! In our eternal spirit we are only ‘lost’! Jesus did not die for our sins or to redeem our sins. Otherwise he would not have preached the Parable of the Seed. We will always reap what we sow. This is how the law of karma works. Did all the prayers to God in all the countless of wars through the ages persuade God to get involved! No! If we continue to hate and to kill, we will all have to reap what we sow! Does God forgive in this sense? No! Does God take sides? No! We are all His children, hopeless as we are.
Secondly, the temple of God is not in a physical building or sanctuary. God is Spirit. God has a spiritual abode not a human abode. A temple or church as we understand it, that we attend, is just a ‘gathering’ which is what the Jewish word ‘synagogue’ means. God’s temple is in every single one of us. God is in every single one of us! Together we make the greater temple; not the building itself. The sanctuary of God is within us and not in a building declared holy or sacred for this purpose. If the entire congregation is in Church without having first ‘cleared’ their temples the way Jesus did demonstratively, the Church will not be a Church. If the light within each of us does not ‘shine’, there is no light in the Church! Darkness does not create light!
Thirdly, you do not trade with God. Just as Jesus is demonstrating that you cannot ‘trade’ with God in the Jewish temple, you cannot make the temple in you a ‘market place’. How can you ‘bargain’ with your father’s love? God’s love is unconditional! His is a covenant of devoted undying and unfailing love. A covenant is not a contract! God’s covenant is a contract with himself! You do not have to be a righteous son. You can be a black sheep! A ‘lost’ sheep is a black sheep! We ‘sin’ when we are’ separated’ from God! We ‘repent’ when we start making the journey home as the Prodigal Son.
Finally, thoughtfulness cannot be bought or traded! Thoughtfulness in being grateful and being indebted to God’s fatherly love cannot be bought! It is a self-realisation. You are either filial or you are not! So this is what Sabbath is all about. It is about training to be filial. God realises that we are trapped by Satan’s worldly temptations. The journey home in the spirit can only take place a step at a time. In the Temple of God in your mind, discipline yourself to be devoted and be filial; every 7th minute, every 7th hour, every 7th day, until you have God solely in your mind, body and soul. The Sabbath need not be a Sunday or Friday or Saturday! It is just a ‘tempo’ where you focus on the 7th beat.
Being Christian is not a ritual, not a ceremony, not a mere profession. You cannot hide or cheat. You cannot bargain or trade. You cannot bargain and say, if I am a Christian or if I am baptised, I will be save! God want your ‘merci’, your thought of thanks for his undying love. Can you give your kind thoughts to God today?
Utmostly, Christianity is about filial piety [how soon]; filial to your worldly parents [fu mou] and filial to your Heavenly Father [Teen Kung]. Do not let others tell you otherwise! Do not let others tell you God is some mythical or spiritual creature that judges or punishes or trades in merits and demerits or only loves Christians. A father would always love his son, whether he is righteous and good or naughty and bad. How the son gets rewarded or punished for his good or bad, by reaping what he sows or suffer the karma of his deeds, will never diminish or tarnish a father’s unconditional love.