Sunday, December 1 marks the beginning of the season of Advent in Christian churches. Advent is marked by four consecutive Sundays, the last being just before the celebration of the Christ-mas on December 25.
I invite you to take an expanded view of the season and of the Christ.
In the early days of the Christian church there emerged two distinct schools of thought relative to the teachings of Jesus. There were the Orthodox, who believed that salvation could come only through a formal Church with a rigidly defined doctrine. In the other camp were the Gnostics. The word gnostic has its roots in the Greek word gnostikos which means 'knowing'. The Gnostic belief is that salvation comes through the self by experiencing a mystical oneness with God. Gnosticism believes the soul, at the time of its creation, is come out from God but is not the fullness of God. It believes the goal of the soul is to achieve fullness, to again be one with the Father. Looking around our world we can observe that the Orthodox teaching became the dominant one, leaving the Gnostics to be viewed by many as heretics.
The foundational difference between the two groups is striking. The Orthodox believe in the doctrine of Vicarious Atonement. The doctrine teaches that salvation is available ONLY through Jesus the Christ. Jesus bears our burdens. Unless he is known and accepted as Savior, there is no salvation. People are viewed as unworthy sinners who could never make it back to God on their own. We must ride on the coattails of another. This teaching further implies that unless one is on a Christian path there will be no salvation.
The Gnostics on the other hand recognize Jesus as the Teacher of HOW to return to the fullness of God, HOW to achieve our own salvation, ascending back to the right hand of the Father as he did. They do not take away from Jesus that he is in fact a Son of God. The distinction is that each of us is a Son (or daughter) of God and can reach the perfected state as Jesus did.
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions.....
The first book of the Bible, Genesis, teaches us that man was made in the image and likeness of God. The Christian paths embrace this teaching and at the same time focus on the unworthiness of man. If God created us, then by being of His Divine Spark we ARE worthy. To deny the Spark of God within is a to rejection the empowerment God endowed us with at the time of our creation. It is a rejection of the opportunity to grow into the fullness of God. We become the Christ bit by bit. The apostle Paul is referring to this when he states 'I die daily'. It is the casting off of the human and the putting on of the Divine.
The most thorough, easily understandable articulation of the Gnostic understanding of Christhood can be found in the book 'Ye Are Gods' by Annalee Skarin. I will share excerpts here from Chapter 9, titled 'In the Name of Jesus Christ'
'...His entire mission was to show us just how the great power of that inner light worked, and how we could, by following the pattern He gave, receive the same power and do the very works that He did, even greater works.'
(Blogger's Note: The Gospels of the New Testament affirm this) John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Skarin goes on, quoting scripture '...If ye shall ask anything in my Name, I will do it' and dissects the meaning. She says 'not for one instant are these statements or promises false.... It is man who has failed - failed to understand or believe in The Power of THE NAME. She goes on to share the origins of the name. She explains Jesus at it's Hebrew root is Yehshua. Yah means I shall be and shua means powerful. Christ means anointed. Hence, the underlying meaning of the name Jesus Christ is, according to the author, 'I shall be powerful when I am anointed with light!'
She goes on:
'...They have believed the great Personage who symbolizes the fulfillment of that power is the One who is to lift them into glory while all that is necessary is to sit weakly back and let Him do it - all of it - not realizing that each man must fulfill that NAME in his own life. He must follow that voice of light.....until he can, through his own faithfulness, also be "anointed with light". ...'Thus to be quickened by the Spirit of God means to have our vibrations increased from the slow, mortal tempo to the Spiritual that we might be prepared to receive our anointing of light.'
So, in the twentieth century we have an individual, in Skarin, on a parallel path who bears witness to the understanding of Jesus' teaching in the Gnostic way. Let us further underscore Jesus mission with another point. Many are familiar with the fish being symbolic of Jesus. In mysticism, Jesus is known as the Messenger of the Age of Pisces. In astrology the fish is the symbol of Pisces. Astrology plays a role in mystical teachings with each sign of the zodiac representing initiations of the soul in it's journey back to oneness with the Creator. The test of Pisces is God Mastery, that it to say, becoming the Christ, the one anointed with Light. Surely we witness that Jesus achieved this at the end of his Palestinian mission through the Resurrection of the body and his ultimate Ascension.
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
My invitation to you is to consider the season of Advent relative to your own spiritual path and attainment; to make it a season that does not end until you have walked in the footsteps of the Master Jesus, becoming yourself the fullness of God, earning the anointing. Does your soul cry to be a Christed one? This is within the reach of each man. Jesus embodied the Law. God's Law is Love. Be Love and walk the path of your own Ascension in the Light.
Christ in you is the hope of glory, may you have the victory of your own Christ-mass.