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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Five - The Fourth Initiation - The Crucifixion
The real issue was the issue between love and hate. Only St. John, the beloved Apostle, the one closest to Jesus, really understood; and in his Epistles the emphasis is entirely upon love, and the usual orthodox interpretation is nowhere to be found. Just love and hate; the desire to live as children of God and the inclination to live as ordinary human beings: herein lies the distinction between the citizen of the kingdom of God and a member of the human family. It was love which Christ endeavored to express, but it is hate and separation and war, culminating in the World War, which have characterized the official rendering of His teaching, down the ages. Christ died in order to bring to our notice that the way into the kingdom of God was the way of love and of service. He served and loved and wrought miracles, and gathered together the poor and the hungry. He fed them, and sought in every possible way to call attention to the principle of love as the major characteristic of divinity, only to find that this life of loving service brought Him trouble and eventually the death of the Cross.

We have fought for the theological doctrine of the Virgin Birth. We have fought over the doctrines whereby men shall be saved. We have fought over the subject of baptism, and [212] over the at-one-ment. We have fought over the fact and the denial of immortality, and what man must do in order to be raised from the dead. We have regarded half the world as lost and only the Christian believer as saved, yet all the time Christ has told us that love is the way into the kingdom, and that the fact of the presence of divinity in each of us makes us eligible for that kingdom. We have omitted to realize that the "vicarious at-one-ment is the harmonizing of the disharmony of others by the power of a spiritual presence, which brings about the great transmutation; evil is absorbed and transmuted into good or equilibrated." (Some Mystical Adventures, by G. R. S. Mead, p. 161.) This constitutes the endeavor of Christ, and the fact of His Presence is the harmonizing medium in life. Men are not saved by belief in the formulation of a theological dogma, but by the fact of His living Presence, of the living immediate Christ. It is the realization of the fact of the presence of God in the human heart which is the basis of the mystical vision, while the knowledge that one is a son of God gives one the strength to follow the Savior's footsteps from Bethlehem to Calvary. That which will eventually reorganize our human life is the presence in the world of those who know Christ as their example, and recognize that they possess the same divine life, just as the affirmation of the basic law of the kingdom of God, the Law of Love, will finally save the world. It is the substitution of the life of Christ for the life of the world, the flesh and the devil, which will inject a meaning and a value into life.

A sense of the failure of love constitutes the outstanding problem in the agony in the Garden; it was this sense of travail with world forces which enabled Christ to join the company of all His brothers. Men had failed Him, just as men fail us. In the moment when He most needed understanding, and all the strength which companionship gives, His nearest and dearest either deserted Him or slept, unaware of His agony of mind. "The Promethean conflict is the [213] strife which takes place in the human mind between the yearning for understanding, and the nearer more immediate pull of those living affections and desires which are conditioned upon the goodwill and the support of fellow beings; desires for the happiness of loved ones; for the alleviation of pain and disappointment in minds that cannot understand the inner dream; and for the warm reassurance of mundane honors. This conflict is the rock upon which the religious mind founders and is split against itself." (Psychology and the Promethean Will, by W. H. Sheldon, pp. 85, 86.) Upon this rock Christ did not founder, but He had His moments of intensest agony, finding relief only in the realization of the Fatherhood of God and its corollary, the brotherhood of man. "Father," He said. It was this sense of unity with God and His fellow men which led Him to institute the Last Supper, to originate that communion service, the symbolism of which has been so disastrously lost in theological practice. The keynote of that communion service was fellowship. "It is only thus that Jesus creates fellowship among us. It is not as a symbol that he does it... in so far as we with one another and with him are of one will, to place the Kingdom of God above all, and to serve in behalf of this faith and hope, so far is there fellowship between him and us and the men of all generations who lived and live in the same thought." (The Mystery of the Kingdom of God, by Albert Schweitzer, p. 56.)

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