Sometimes a religious truth hits you like a physical blow. Pat experienced it when she first heard “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” – (Rabindranath Tagore). She cried at the truth of this and printed it out and put it on her bulletin board. There are other writings besides the Bible that contain religious truths. God speaks through many minds; though for a Christian, Holy Scripture is primary. Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein nor maybe proved thereby, is not to be required of anyone to be believed as necessary for salvation.
Also, for a Christian the Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’s Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles Creed, are to be received and believed; for they may be proved by Holy Scripture. The Creeds are summaries from the early church to affirm what Christians believe. They have been and still are standard statements of the Christian faith for over 1500 years.
No Christian whosoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments – and that includes clergy, bishops, cardinals and the Pope. Our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Hear O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord; and Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets.”
Some Christian have reduced bible study to simple sound bites useful in proselyting door to door and in big tent rallies. They are overly fond of reducing complex ideas into simple slogans, jingles, and sound bites. Such an approach rarely leads to truth. The Bible is read as isolated, free standing verses. They miss the true meaning – Holy Scripture is about living and fulfilling the truth, listening to the Word in it and in our selves. True Bible study and finding the truth require an understanding of biblical history, the subtleties of Greek and Hebrew and the traditions of 2000 years of Christian – you don’t have to be a scholar, but you do have to be open to God within you and to think and listen. We have a duty to teach our children to think and not to brainwash them into a blind belief in slogans and jingles – to listen for the voice within.
Christianity does not teach that the physical world is vile and polluted, our passions a fall from grace. Original sin was not sex, but disobedience of God is the original sin Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden for. Sex, as Cynthia Bourgeault says, “…is truly Eucharistic – “This is my body given for you” -a drawing near to the other with all that one has and is; in conscious love; to give the innermost gift of oneself is the most intimate foretaste of divine union that can be known in human flesh.” Christianity affirms the physical world has significance for God and is worthy of study – it is how God is aware of Himself. The universe is a rational, orderly, purposeful, creation of God that all Christians should know, care for and Love.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” I really believe this as it is what Christ taught. I also believe that my beloved Patricia is both within me and in Heaven here and now and there is a Garden Kingdom in heaven where she and I will meet again to live with Christ in our resurrection bodies forever. The first part is easy, Cynthia Bourgeault explained it in The Wisdom Jesus thus: “A lot of Christians, particularly of a more evangelical persuasion, assume that the Kingdom of Heaven means the place where you go when you die – if you’ve been good. But the problem with this interpretation is that Jesus himself specifically contradicts it when he says, The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (that is here) and “at hand” (that is, now). It’s not later, but lighter – some more subtle quality of dimension of experience accessible to you right in the moment. You don’t die into it; you awaken into it.” I think I experienced it the day after Pat died – I woke from a nap into her presence and felt comforted. As for our Garden Kingdom in Heaven and joining her there I just believe. Sometimes I just accept what Pat tells me in her poetry and deep within me.
Pat wrote to me:
“Alone, my feet are
Always running back to you
On the path of dreams.
Better is one glimpse of you
In all your reality.