By Celia Coates
This will be a short WINN – just a small story and an opinion.
The story involves something that has been happening for years, something that I now call listening to downloads. In the early quiet of the morning when I go from sleep to waking, there are times when words or phrases or, sometimes, a string of sentences arrive in my mind seemingly from just above and beyond the right side of my head. Yes, that sounds odd. It seemed odd to me too when it first began and I usually dismissed it all as random noise, some sort of brain dust being cleared out. Then I learned that I am not the only person who experiences this kind of thing. And I hurry to add that I am healthy and sane, as are those other people. Then I began listening and I learned that the words could bring important information in one way or another.
I’ve learned to write down what I hear as soon as possible because it all disappears quickly and is very hard to retrieve. Why listen to what I seem to have heard? Why bother to remember these bits and pieces that seem random, separate from me, and discontinuous from the day that lies ahead of me? Because these are more than quick and helpful mental reminders to be sure to buy a loaf of bread or to return a call from yesterday. They can be illuminating ideas that alert me to think about things that wouldn’t otherwise occur to me.
Five early mornings ago, this is what I “heard” – “I go before you to prepare a place for you.”
My mother was a member of the Presbyterian church and my father was a Quaker. My early lessons in religion were Christian – although it has been a long time since I regularly attended any church. For thirty or more years I’ve been more drawn to studying the teachings of different wisdom and spiritual traditions. The sentence I heard seemed to be quoting Jesus so I looked it up and found it in The New Testament, in John, Chapter 14, verse 2.
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”
I’m not interested in theological debates, I just wanted to decode the morning’s message. For me, the great lesson Jesus taught was about love: loving ourselves, each other, and God. The point of Jesus’ life was that he came to teach us all about compassion, kindness, generosity, cooperation, fairness, and trust in the divine that surrounds us all.
But there is an additional version of the meaning of Jesus’ life. This second belief has to do with sin and it’s a story I find hard to make use of in ordinary living, so here is the opinion part of today’s WINN post. I find little meaning in the story that Jesus lived and died as a sacrifice made to expunge the sins of humanity. That’s like the old story of the scapegoat – an ancient ritual in which two kid goats were set aside, one symbolically loaded up with all the wrongs and impurities of the community and sent out to the desert or wilderness to die while the second goat was ritually sacrificed.
It seems to me that “my Father’s house” (or Heaven) includes many rooms because there is plenty of room, many rooms, “above”, places created that will provide for each and all of us whenever we leave this material realm. And it’s most important that they have been prepared by Jesus, an earthly aspect of God, prepared by one whose life was a loving, difficult example.
I think it makes great sense that virtually every religious belief system contains one form or another of The Golden Rule – that we are to treat others as we would like to be treated. Loving ourselves and each other we can create great good here on earth and that certainly doesn’t seem to be happening here, now.
My morning “download” was a fine reminder of the great truth that What Is truly Needed Now is Love.
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The image that accompanies this post is by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.
It’s incomplete as it was included here. You can barely glimpse the tips of the fingers of a hand held up to the side of one of the heads to indicate the attempt to hear clearly. I wish my tech skills were better!