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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Four - The Third Initiation - The Transfiguration
It is of supreme value for us to realize that what Christ really did was to usher in the era of Service, even if we are only beginning today (two thousand years after He set us an example) to grasp the implications of that word so widely used. We have been apt to regard salvation in terms of the individual, and to study it from the angle of individual salvation. This attitude must end if we are ever to understand the Christ spirit. A great Japanese asks the poignant question "What is the primary aim of a religion worthy of existence?" and goes on to tell us that it is salvation, but a salvation that "is pregnant with relief and redress of life and of the world." (Modern Trends in World Religions, edited by A. E. Haydon, quoting Kishio Satomi, p. 75.) Service is becoming more and more an objective in all human affairs. Even modern business is coming to the recognition that it must be a motivating agency if business, as we understand it in the modern sense, is to survive. Upon what is this general trend based? Surely upon our universal relation to Deity and upon our subjective relationships to each other, which have their root in our relationship to God.

That of course is the basis of service. It must be, as it was in the case of Jesus Christ, a spontaneous outcome of [170] divinity. One of the strongest arguments for the divine unfoldment of man is the emergence on a large scale of this tendency to serve. We are just beginning to get a faint vision of what Christ meant by service. He "carried this actuating motive of service to the extent of saying that when the common good and your personal success or welfare conflicted, you must sacrifice and not sacrifice the other man." (Modern Trends in World Religions, edited by A.E. Haydon, p. 106.) This idea of service is of course in complete conflict with the usually competitive attitude to life and the selfishness generally shown by the average man. But to the man who seeks to follow Christ, and who aims eventually at climbing the Mount of Transfiguration, service leads inevitably to increased illumination, and illumination in its turn must find its expression in renewed and consecrated service, and thus we find our way - through service to our fellow men - into the Way that Christ trod. Following in His steps, we achieve eventually the power to live as illumined and Christ-like men and women in our normal everyday surroundings.

What, therefore, is the gift that each of us can make to the world as we study the life of Christ and travel with Him in our minds from one initiation to another? We can aim at that greatness in action which will redeem our natural mediocrity and reveal progressively the divinity in each of us. Each can stand as a beacon light, pointing the way to the center from which the Word goes forth; and each can begin to express in his daily living some of the quality of God which Christ so perfectly portrayed and which carried Him in triumph from the Mount of Transfiguration down into the valley of duty and of service, and which enabled Him to go forward with staunch determination to the Cross experience, through the triumphal way of acclamation and the sorrowful ways of desertion and of loneliness.

The impulse is strong to close with some words of Arjuna, spoken to Krishna, long before the Christian era, after the revelation of the unveiled beauty to which he had been admitted. Their relevance is unquestionable. One can almost [171] imagine St. Peter or St. John saying them to Christ when they opened their eyes and "saw Jesus only." Perhaps they may apply to us also as we consider Christ and our relation to Him:

"If thinking Thee my comrade, I addressed Thee brusquely... not knowing this greatness of Thine, or carelessly, or through affection, or whatever I have done to make a jest of Thee, unseemly, in journeying, resting, or seated, or at the banquet, whether alone, O, unfallen One! or in presence of these, for all this I ask forgiveness from Thee, Immeasurable One! Thou art the Father of the world, of things moving and unmoving; Thou art worthy of honor, the reverend Teacher of the world. None equal Thee; how could any be greater? even in the three worlds there is none like Thee in might.

"Therefore bowing down, prostrating my body before Thee, I seek Thy grace, 0 worthy Lord! As the Father his son, the comrade his comrade, the beloved his beloved, so deign Thou, Lord, to pardon me! I exult, beholding what was never seen before, and my heart trembles with fear; show me, Lord, the former form; Lord of Gods, be gracious, upholder of worlds."

- The Bhagavad Gita, Book XI, 41-45. [173]

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