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Not To Destroy But To Save

Reading the scriptures daily with a deep belief that Christ was God become flesh, causes me pause when I come across certain passages, though read hundreds of times.

Such was the case this morning with Luke 9:54-56:

"‭‭And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."

If the Christ was God incarnate, why the shift in behavior between Luke's experience with God and those who wrote of Elijah in I Kings 18?

Immutability comes into play again, which is in part the driver behind the necessity for the concept of Old Covenant and New Covenant. Yet the two are literally as different as fire and water. Certainly our human bias, our tendency toward a legalistic, religious perspective somehow comes into play.

As Rohr so aptly shares this a.m.:

"They will see things through a narrow keyhole. They’ll see instead what they need reality to be, what they’re afraid it is, or what they’re angry about. They’ll see everything through their aggression, their fear, or their agenda. In other words, they won’t see it at all."*

Sometimes I wonder if this whole journey with humanity is about this Being whose preferred name is Love, patiently walking along side of us biases and all, progressively revealing truth.

Along the way, this Being, One as far beyond comprehesion as the possibility of measuring the sand on our beaches, is leaking the truth of love as we exhaust our self imposed religious requirements.

The parákletos, the Holy Spirit, the Presence we all have felt at times is the same Being, just in a different dimension. My language is based upon the concept of Trinity, another piece of theology necessary to grasp this One who was first manifest as "I Am," then the Son of Mary and now The Presence among us.

Could religion be such a force that when felt so deeply it takes on a power sufficient to call down "fire from heaven," consuming those whom we know as enemies, though loved by God? That's a powerful yet paradoxical thought!

Were such moments somehow necessary, moments of plague and flood, to walk a nation out of bondage from ruthless others, though they too bound equally by their own fears?

Are these mythical stories captured as explanation, even validation of religion, then transferred in writ to the nature The I Am. That Being, then so in contrast with religion when the Incarnate once appeared?

As I attempted to describe earlier, even the idea of a Third Heaven, where this One is said to be "enthroned" seems less likely, and moreso to me, fully among us. The Ascension simply a moment misunderstood when cloudlike vapor became visible, His body dissipating before their eyes.

Their then limited knowledge in no way capable of understanding the molecular nature of flesh!

God meanwhile was framing a story of liberation, one already at work in Creation at large, though we humans somehow, somewhere in time had been allowed or unfortunately deprived of an awareness that perhaps lesser creatures have no need of. Thus, the Garden story offered by Moses.

About every 500 years it seems sufficient exhausting of our belief system occurs, that a generation is open to new insights. All then somehow makes sense, and yet aligns still with the mystery captured by quill and pen in centuries past!

Meanwhile the knowledge of our vast galaxies, even more validates their stories, though reframed by a more progressive revelation.

I find all that amazing even within my brief 75 years, my life guided by these words offered by men and women far more limited than we, yet words that affirm love and provide template for society, if open to an ever unfolding, new revelation.

Religion, even war, when emboldened by politics, resists the Spirit of Christ, often using scripture to validate its attocities. Yet truth, somehow "marches on", surviving another generation, validating the intent of Love, to save and not destroy!

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