|Words and photo by F LoBuono|
It's been firmly established that I am not a religious person; at least about religion. In fact, it may be fair to say that I have been downright sacrilegious on occasion. At the same time, I have also tried to make it clear that one can be spiritual without being particularly religious. My reasoning is simple: the message is pure and perfect in its simplicity. The delivery of that message has become fatally flawed. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. But I do believe in the message.
This was reinforced in me the other day while watching television. While aimlessly channel surfing for something to put on in the background while I caught up on some emails, I stumbled upon the outstanding documentary series, The History of Us. I was fortunate to have the time to catch a number of episodes, from Egypt to Rome. It was so thorough, balanced, and well done - truly outstanding. Of course, the great religions are inexorably linked to The History of Us, and, so, were featured in the series. The history of Rome and the subsequent rise of Christianity through its empire is of particular personal interest. Therefore, I watched those episodes most intensely. They gave a graphic but historic account of what it meant to die on the cross, the preferred method of execution in the Roman Empire. Of course, this was to put the execution of Jesus in some historic perspective. As part of that perspective, interviews with experts on history and religion were presented. I found the point made by one of these experts to be particularly telling, at least for me, on what the true meaning of the message really is. Paraphrasing, he said, "think how remarkable this brutal execution, witnessed only by a handful of people, family and a few friends, and so insignificant to the Romans that it was barely noted in their copious records, can still resonate with billions of people over two thousand years after it happened.
Think about it, indeed. The reason it continues to resonate is because it IS so simple. There is a way. And, for me, I'm not talking about a white highway in the clouds! Love is the way - pure and simple. He showed us that. I mean no insult to believers, but he doesn't have to be The Son of God, for me to hear His message and understand that we become immortal through the good deeds we leave behind. If we love, we will never die. Whether you believe that he was raised to heaven as an immortal being or not, that fact remains that he IS immortal. Two thousand years later his message still has the power to influence people to die, and, yes, kill in his name. There must be something to this. There has to be. And the answer doesn't lie in any ritual, title, symbol, or vestment. In fact, those things only detract from the truth. The answer is in the message: love is the key. Love makes us immortal. Love makes us divine. He lived in the light of love and he died in the same light. It is there for us to see, if we can just strip away all the nonsense. Don't be afraid to love, even in the face of terrible consequence. He SHOWED us that. That makes him, in the real sense of the word, divine. Wrapping him in the pure white robes of religious dogma cannot make him more so.