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A moment ago, as I completed the last sentence of this book, a memory flashed suddenly across my mind. It came with such clarity and power that I not only saw the image, but I also experienced the smells and sensations.
I am about five years of age, and my mother has brought me to an evening service at church. There are candles in every window sill, their enchanting light flickering off stained glass that seems to disappear far above me into pointed arches.
We sit in hard wooden pews that - from my viewpoint - stretch on for an enormous distance, finally giving way to a carpeted platform, upon which sits an altar draped in fine white linen edged with a golden fringe. On the altar are two candelabras placed on either side of a golden crucifix.
Beyond the altar hangs a towering cross that reaches from the vaulted ceiling all the way down to the altar itself.
I feel something. Turning to my mother, I state matteroffactly, “He is here Mommy.”
Without turning her head from the hymn book she is thumbing through, she asks, “Who is here, dear?”
“Christ,” I answer confidently.
Now she turns to look at me. “No, honey, that is not Christ. That is the minister you see.”
I cannot see the minister at all. “No, Mommy, Christ is here!” My response is insistent, and somewhat loud, so that the man sitting on the other side of my mother glances at me, then at my mother.Both of them smile and I am asked to be quiet, as the service is about to begin.
With surprise, it becomes clear that no one else has noticed Him and, perhaps for the first time, I doubt. But what, then, was that feeling?
Later, when I had learned to read, I would often sneak a flashlight to bed and, when I was sure everyone else was asleep, I would get out my Bible, crawl way down in the covers to shield the light, and grapple with the discrepancy between the feeling I got from the words attributed to Jesus (the same feeling I had in church that night) and what everyone else was telling me His words meant. I even prayed a lot, since I had been taught that God answers prayers. I was pretty sure my requests had been overlooked!
Gradually I grew frustrated. The older I got, the more I realized I was in the minority. In fact, as my social world expanded it seemed apparent that most people really didn’t care much about such things. They were either too busy to think about it, or they were quite sure where Christ was: in heaven, sitting at the right hand of God.
I don’t remember just when it happened, but I came to forget that feeling and in my own way became entranced with the drama of my life, just like everyone else.
But the Question never really died. It resurfaced years later, and led me to an intensive study of philosophy and comparative religion, where I discovered the treasures of the East: the sublime wisdom of Zen, and especially the deep insights and transformative ways of yoga and meditation. Here that feeling seemed to be not only understood, but actually sought and refined!
For all my enthusiasm and periods of discipline, I also spent a great deal of time avoiding the subject, distracting myself with the conventional forms of avoidance with which we are all familiar. Still, my fondness for Eastern spirituality continued and, over the years, I moved farther and farther away from anything having to do with Christianity. It is that simple fact that makes receiving The Jeshua Letters all the more remarkable, for the being from which they were received identifies himself clearly as the historical Jesus.
The message contained in these letters is radical, and possibly threatening, depending on your perspective. What I am most certain of is that my childhood prayers have been answered. In fact, it is clear that the whole of my life has been a servant of that Answer, patiently showing me all the places - both inside and out - where Christ is not, as well as gently preparing me to hear the Master, helping me to understand that feeling of the five-year-old boy.
My own journey of awakening is not so very different from your own. In fact, I have come to see that it is your own, as yours is mine. For our participation in this grand mystery we call “life” is one of a very sacred intimacy. Though on the surface our lives can appear to be quite different, at very deep levels it becomes virtually impossible to distinguish one from the other.
It is, then, the open, wholehearted sharing of our seemingly separate journeys that helps us all move closer to the Answer we are seeking, regardless of how we ask the Question.
If, by my sharing The Jeshua Letters, even one reader gains light on his or her path, or is compelled to ask fundamental questions in a new way, then the time I have spent writing this book will have been more than worthwhile.
May your own journey be blessed with Light.