Updated: Mar 29
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Happy Easter Sunday everyone!
I imagine if you are here at the bus stop, then you drew the short straw and have to work today.
I remember back in the days when I was employed in the retail industry, there were few holidays they allowed us off work [hating to pay us for not working]. Easter and Christmas, however, were the only two days they did that. I imagine is wasn't for religious purposes, but because they recognized those days as being when customers will not shop.
Now, here I am with you essential workers.
Last Easter Sunday the churches were all boarded up because of COVID19 fears. We were all going to die.
Imagine that. On the day Jesus’ Resurrection is recognized in this country of Christians, last Easter Sunday it feared dying physically … so much it died spiritually.
As essential workers – like people who had to keep the Walmarts and gas stations open – we are like the three women in Mark’s Gospel reading … or the implication of three women and Peter and John in John’s Gospel reading. We are like them, because someone had to go to the tomb and get the corpse of Jesus prepared for transfer to the family tomb in Bethany.
I imagine the pandemic police would have limited that gartering to less than ten and made everyone at the cemetery where Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb was wear masks … even the young man wearing a white robe … even the gardener who spoke to Mary Magdalene. What do you think?
<Look for nodding heads>
Masks, masks everywhere, but not a soul is saved?
This past week, as I was going through all the reading choices for today, I was again amazed by what I saw rising from the written texts. I have read them all before. I have pondered them all and written about many of them before; but just like going to the tomb and finding the stone rolled away, it was like this week I was able to walk inside and see the shroud of verses had been removed and the face covering of the words rolled up and set aside.
New life had risen in those words, as new life rose in me.
Before I begin to delve into just a sampling of what I saw [and I welcome everyone to read the commentaries I wrote for each reading selection], I want to remind everyone that today begins the Easter season. The Easter season amounts to seven weeks [eight Sundays] set aside for the specific purpose of disciples being prepared by Jesus to enter ministry.
We Christians are all called to serve God in that way, the same as Jesus served God the Father.
Every Sunday, from today through-and-including Pentecost Sunday – eight Sundays – is a mandatory reading from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Knowing that now, what the heck do you think the message intended to be sent to you by having to be read from Acts is?
<Look for quizzical faces.>
I’ll tell you. It means YOU are expected to ACT like Jesus acted. Jesus spent forty days [six weeks, not seven] preparing his disciples to begin ACTING as Apostles; and, being an Apostle means the same thing as being a Saint.
Jesus certainly was a Saint, made one by Yahweh.
With that expectation comes the realization that Easter Sunday is less about the Resurrection of Jesus, who was a Saint, and more about YOU being raised from a state of death – called mortality, which is an eternal soul imprisoned in a temporal body of flesh [a life sentence] – into a state of living, which is an eternal soul freed to leave the physical plane and return to being one with God [a renewed-life blessing].
Living means the soul has received its release from always being trapped in a body of flesh.
Always being trapped in a body of flesh means reincarnation.
The Gnostics knew reincarnation was what happens at the end of a mortal life, if one failed to serve Yahweh. They knew death did not mean the fantasy of going to live happily ever after in heaven, when one never did anything to warrant that freedom from bondage.
Living means being reborn as Jesus, so another who is Anointed by Yahweh [His Christ] and led to a life of righteousness. Righteousness is saintly [sacred] and that state of being on earth is what frees a soul from having to come back and start all over again, as a crying baby in a new body of flesh, the promise made to an eternally lost soul as the place going to inhabit. [Not a room in the Father's house, as only being Jesus makes that possible.]
The Gnostics knew reincarnation was an admission of failing God, refusing to become His Son resurrected. Thus, they knew human life was never meant to be a promise of worldly happiness, wealth and prosperity, as much as it was a challenge to withstand hard labor, in order to earn a reprieve from Yahweh.
Thus, the Easter season is all about being trained to ACT as a Saint and walk away from the tomb that your soul is otherwise sentenced to live in for an eternity.
In today’s lesson from Acts, we get to play the roles of Gentiles of Cornelius’ house and hear Peter tell us, “God raised [Jesus] on the third day and allowed [Jesus] to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with [Jesus] after he rose from the dead.”
Now, in John’s version of Easter morning, Peter [and the one who Jesus loved] ran to the tomb, because Mary Magdalene said the tomb was opened. Peter went into the tomb and saw the linen cloths – the shroud and face covering – but no body. Thus, Peter was not telling Cornelius that Jesus appeared to him then … immediately after "God raised him on the third day."
What Peter was telling Gentiles needs to be heard clearly as this: Jesus only appears to those “chosen by God as witnesses.”
The Greek word meaning “witnesses” is “martyres,” which is the root word for “martyr.” That means to be a witness of Jesus, one has to sacrifice oneself – give Yahweh one’s soul in marriage – in order to to be able to “see” Jesus. Then, you do not “see” Jesus unless you look in a mirror, because that spiritual marriage with Yahweh makes one be reborn as Jesus … in preexisting flesh.
Peter told Cornelius, in essence, "Even though Jesus has left the building [earth, the physical world and the material plane], he can appear to those whom God chooses."
This means to eat and drink with Jesus says one will then be able to consume the Word of God and be filled with the Holy Spirit that is the blood of Christ [the Anointed] within.
That then means Jesus appears in a mortal human being, one who before was sentenced to death but now is risen.
To better grasp that, one has to see that Peter was no longer the man he had been before. He was one God chose to witness Jesus’ rebirth within himself. So, Peter spoke to Gentiles as Jesus reborn into new flesh, that previously had been named Simon, but not long before renamed by Jesus as Cephas – Peter – Rocky – the Stone.
That is the only way one can ACT like Jesus. One has to sacrifice one’s soul to Yahweh and be reborn as His Son. Only then can one be a witness to Jesus resurrected.
This told by Peter to Gentiles can then be found mirrored in the song of Isaiah, where it sings, “the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.”
It is Saints and Apostles, those reborn as Jesus Christ, who are the “rich food” and the “well-aged wines.” It is they who have spiritually consumed manna and been filled with an outpouring of love that is the marriage of a soul to the Holy Spirit. That is how one dines with Yahweh, as His Sons [all resurrections of Jesus, in both male and female bodies of flesh].
This is the feast of brotherhood and the only reason for the creation of the word "Christianity," because without more than two or three [not just one] being reborn as Jesus Christ [in his name], then there would be no "church" ["ekklēsia"].
The “rich food filled with marrow” is Holy Scripture, which first appears as dry bones when read without the divine presence within. The sweet inner truth is in their marrow, which can only be known by those who have been given the blood of Christ for understanding.
That understanding becomes the “well-aged wine strained clear.” It is like the master of the feast ["architriklinō"] at the wedding in Cana said about ritual cleansing water: "you have saved the best till now." As good as Scripture tastes just as dry bones, it becomes the best possible after Jesus puts his blessing upon it.
When Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, saying “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,” his repeating the word “scriptures” says Paul had dined with Yahweh, Jesus within his being.
He had consumed the manna; he had been filled with God's Holy Spirit. The blood of Jesus spiritually flowed throughout his flesh.
As Saul, he had examined the bones of the Torah, the Psalms, and the Prophets and memorized them all as intended only for Jewish brains. As Paul, however, had been shown the meaning of the scriptures and emotionally uplifted so intensely that he was moved to evangelize for Yahweh, as His Son reborn. Paul could not do otherwise, just as Peter had to go see a group of Gentiles.
Peter and Paul both ACTED with desire to serve Yahweh as Jesus reborn, which is the message of the Easter season.
In the Gospel reading from Mark, the women who went to the tomb encountered a mysterious person – a young man in a robe that was bright white. In the instructions given by this "angel" (we presume), the scripture is translated so this figure said, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”
That is one large dry bone there. It was one of several remarkable “archeological” finds I came across this past week.
But, as I am a rather simple-minded man, I’ll ask any of you sitting at the bus stop bench now to stand up and set me straight, because this instruction that Jesus would meet the disciples and Peter in Galilee is confusing.
First of all, Peter was a disciple, so why was he be singled out as one to go tell, after telling the disciples?
Second, where in Scripture did Jesus say to meet him in Galilee?”
Can you guys help me out here?
<Look for volunteers to rise and speak.>
While you ponder that question, let me quote the NRSV translation of Luke 24:49. This verse is spoken by Jesus just hours later on Easter Sunday. It was spoken to his disciples that included Peter [I presume] in a room secured near Jerusalem, not in Galilee.
Luke wrote: “I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
The disciples were “clothed with power from on high” on Pentecost Sunday, in Jerusalem, in Judea, forty-two days later. On a Sunday, Jesus told his disciples they would be "clothed with power from on high" six Sundays later.
What I found from that translated in Mark by the NRSV, which is a dry bone on the surface, is the “marrow” comes from seeing the two capitalized “names” – “Peter” and “Galilee” – as they are meant to be seen. The marrow comes from not seeing those as names, but understanding them as the meaning behind the names – the inner, hidden meaning.
“Peter,” as I alluded to before, means “Stone.” [Same as "Cephas" or "Kēphâs."]
“Galilee,” as the name of a region of Israel, one known for its low-lying hills, one after another, was given a name that means “Rolling.”
By realizing that, one can then hear the “angel” instructing the three women at the tomb to “go tell the disciples – Stone – that [Jesus] is going ahead of you – Rolling, so you will see him, just as he said you would."
The word "that" acts like the angel pointing to the large stone no longer blocking the tomb. Jesus "going ahead of you" becomes a statement that Jesus had died first. They would die next; but, just like "that" [again pointing to the Stone] the disciples could expect resurrection "Rolling" away the same. Then they would all see Jesus - as Jesus reborn in their flesh - just like he taught them as disciples [but they heard his words as dry bones].
That marrow, discerned as fine, aged wine, strained clear of all translations that mislead, says Jesus is the power exposed when the “Stone” that seals a soul within a human tomb is "Rolled" away. It is that "Stone" that keeps one from ascending from believer in God and Jesus, to having the faith of knowing God as one’s Father. Thus, that "Stone" is what keeps one from becoming the resurrection of His Son.
That “Stone” will be found “Rolling” away by the hand of Yahweh, so one’s soul will see Jesus, as him looking out through each of His wives' eyes, all enabled to see the marrow inside the bones of Scripture.
My wife, who was a priest that went to a seminary, once told me that a sermon should never retell what the Scripture says.
Almost every priest I have ever heard speak a sermon followed that guideline. Not only did any of them [my wife excluded] refuse to retell what Scripture says, they dance away from any pretense of explaining what the reading truly means. Instead, they embellished some minute particle of the Scripture read aloud each Sunday with their personal opinions. I have witnessed them do this so frequently that it comes across to me like some contest. Each priest seems to have a need or desire to seem as in possession of the foremost opinion about what Jesus would have us all do … IF he were here. I have heard their words flow like bouquets of flowers, like laurel wreaths of victory only the most elite of the educated can gather and wear. They spread them out as words orated, as if surrounding the pulpit with accolades that announce who all they have read and how much they know.
If Christianity were meant to be a way for community organizers, political activists and wayward sympathizers to gain a place to promote agendas, it certainly has succeeded in that regard. It has succeeded so well that to even say they have taken something originally good and perfect and turned it into evil waste makes me be the one Jesus would have stoned to death … IF Jesus were here today.
It gives me the impression that someone, somewhere, is teaching priests: If you retell Scripture, then you will be fired for exposing your ignorance. We do not teach the meaning of Scripture here, because Scripture is supposed to be a holy mystery no one ever understands. So, make sure the congregation knows how smart you are. That way they will know they are getting what they pay for.
Raise your hand if you are paying me to speak to you today.
<Don’t even look, because a rhetorical question needs no answer.>
Of course you aren’t paying me. You ride public transportation and can’t afford a car of your own. Nobody here can afford a personal priest. So, I'm not here to impress anyone with my intellect.
With that and knowing nothing I just said is retelling what the Scriptures read today say, I strongly feel the ONLY REASON anyone should speak about Scripture is because he or she has seen the marrow of the bones and is pouring out the finely strained wine of Yahweh, compliments of His Son.
"Bon apatite!" says the master of the feast. The celebration of divine marriage, between a soul and Yahweh is always reason for pouring out the best intoxicant God can supply the wedding party. The more holy the blood turns the better!
This means a priest, or a pastor, or a minister, or whatever title one presenting homilies takes on, stands before people looking like some ordinary Joe or Sally, when hidden within them is Jesus.
As Peter told Cornelius: being chosen by God makes Jesus appear. There is no reason to go to a Christian church [any denomination] to hear anyone other than Jesus speaking a sermon or presenting a homily.
Think about that when you see the John Gospel reading for today. Mary Magdalene was weeping and some guy she thought was the gardener began speaking to her. It was Jesus; but he did not look like himself.
In the Gospel reading from Mark, three women all named Mary saw a “young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side.” They saw Jesus, known because the words written [in Greek] translate to say they saw him "enthroned at the right hand." Doesn't that sound like a statement of the women being able to see through to another dimension, one that allowed their vision to enter the heavenly realm?
When Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene, calling her name, Mary, it meant more to her than that. Just like the names of Peter and Galilee have hidden meaning, Jesus spoke the word that said to her, “Beloved.” That is the meaning of the name Mary.
Jesus spoke her name affectionately, from the heart, as love coming out from him, which entered her soul.
If you see how Cornelius would become Jesus reborn. If you see the Corinthians to whom Paul wrote became Jesus reborn. Then you see that Jesus was speaking to them, only Jesus looked like Peter and Paul. A sermon spoken by Jesus sends love into one's soul. It doesn't just sound good, like one figured out what people want to hear said.
In John's Gospel we read how Mary then exclaimed from her soul. She did not call Jesus her teacher, but her “Master.” Her soul knew the soul of Jesus, not some strange looking fellow she thought was the gardener.
Mary thought that because Jesus appeared to Mary as Adam, the Son of God, made by His hand. Adam was Jesus, but he didn't look like Jesus. Adam certainly was a gardener, so the truth of that marrow comes out.
Mary spoke as the soul of Eve [the name we call her, even though the Holy Bible never calls her that]. Her soul knew Jesus just spoke to her as Adam, whose rib had become hers. That rib is Biblical speak for DNA, where Adam (an X,Y sex gene) gave Eve an X of his (an X,X sex gene). So, Mary called Jesus [as Eve speaking to Adam], “Master,” as in the Master copy of me.
Saying "Beloved" and then telling Mary, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father" gives the wrong impression. People need to have it explained to them that Jesus, just like the "young man wearing a dazzling white robe, enthroned at the right hand" of Yahweh was a figure that Mary was seeing Transfigured, coming through to her from another dimension. Jesus was not saying, "No don't touch me or I'll get cooties on me and God won't let me into heaven."
Think about it!
Just hours later, Jesus stood in the room with his disciples and let doubting Thomas stick fried fish greasy fingers in the wounds of Jesus! How could a hug and a kiss from Mary be worse than that?!?!
Jesus told her not to hold onto him because he was like a ghost that could not be touched - AT THAT POINT - because his physical body was ascended to the Father for some work being done. The Greek written says," You cannot touch me," because his physical body was not there to be touched.
Now, I see you smiling at these ideas of mine; but let me just ask you, “Isn’t this the lesson of the Easter season?”
Are we not all whispered to by Jesus, in unrecognizable form, so we hear him say, “I want to be the rib from which the new you will be made”?
Are we not told, "You cannot touch me," because it is impossible to see Jesus as a physical body yet?
Jesus is not speaking to our bodies of flesh. He is speaking to our souls. Jesus speaks while enthroned at the right hand of Yahweh, wanting to make us to become the right hands of Yahweh on earth, as he was when in the flesh.
The question is, "Who is preaching this explanation?"
Nobody I've heard preach an Easter Sunday sermon. It is easier to kill the messenger [crucify Jesus all over again] than open one's heart to the truth and taste the marrow and sweet wine.
Jesus is knocking on our door. It is up to us to open up that blockage and let him in our tombs of flesh.
In David’s Psalm 118 – the same Psalm that was read last week in the bus stop schedule ceremony [substituted for palm leaves]. Today, there are five verses added that were not read last Sunday. Also, there are five verses that were read last week that are not read today.
In the additional verses today are read:
“the right hand of the Lord is exalted! the right hand of the Lord has triumphed!"
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me sorely, but he did not hand me over to death.”
We have to become as David knew: the right hand of Yahweh.
When we do that our souls will be saved. Our bodies will die, because that is what bodies do. Our souls, however, will live on in heaven and no longer be sent back into bodies of flesh, made to start over again.
Included in the verses read last Sunday and again read today is the familiar verse that sings, “The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”
We all know that one, right? We all see Jesus as the cornerstone, right?
<Look for nodding heads.>
In that verse, the Hebrew word translated as “builders” is “hab·bō·w·nîm.” It is a plural form of “bânâh.”
The same quote, found in the Greek of Matthew [21:42] says “those building," or "hoi oikodomountes." The inference is then placed on something built by man.
In both Hebrew and Greek the word “corner” is the actual translation, as builders depend on angles in designs. That word "corner" is then reflected onto the “stone rejected by the builders,” to be a cornerstone.
Still, the implication of "corner" [according to the Greek word "gōnias"] is "a secret place," such that the strength of a building's design comes from how everything connects together, so parts become a whole. When we see the outside surfaces of a cornerstone, the majority of that stone is hidden from view. Thus, the word "corner" [in Greek] implies the marrow within a bone and the juice within a grape, which reflects the inner essence that yields the purpose of that built.
In geometry, a “corner” has squared edges. In building things, something with a squared edge makes a good foundation, because it cannot be moved. Cornered edges make for flat surfaces.
That basic understanding of buildings means the last thing wanted at the foundation, of something made to last, would be something with rounded edges. That builds instability into a design.
The wheel was said to be a great invention, one I’m sure came after the square block was invented.
The rejected “Stone” the builders wanted nothing to do with was then one that could easily be “Rolled” into place and then “Rolled” away later. The builders rejected the wheel as it was illogical to use a round stone as the base foundation.
When David sang his psalm, there was no grand building yet raised in Jerusalem, one in which to place the Ark of the Covenant. That was kept in a covering, like a tent, which could be taken down and re-constructed, whenever the Ark needed to be moved. Yahweh had Nathan tell David, "Keep your cedar logs for your own house. I like being mobile."
It was Solomon who raised a grand Temple, making it designed with corners of stone; and, in it Solomon tried to imprison Yahweh, placing him behind a curtain. Solomon made a tomb for Yahweh.
That temple and the one built later, then beautified by Herod the Great, both had immovable cornerstones holding them in place; but as Jesus told his disciples, "not one stone will be left on another, every one will be thrown down."
That is how death always brings an end to things built, because the best laid plans of mice and men cannot keep from always going awry, ending up entombed by man's failure to marry Yahweh and seek the spiritual over the material.
Jesus, however, is the freedom of one’s soul from its tomb, as the one who makes you become the builder of your own tomb, in which your eternal soul suffers the limitations of any life built by man – death.
The Stone that seals your soul inside your tomb has squared edges and is immovable, by design.
The lesson of Easter Sunday is not that Jesus had divine assistance, where Yahweh sent angels to remove the Stone that locked the body of Jesus inside a tomb of death. The lesson is for us to all see how we are the builders of death that has rejected a round Stone that can be Rolling away by the hand of God, releasing our souls from our own handcrafted tombs of imprisonment.
We have to submit our souls into service to Yahweh, so our cornerstones are transformed into Rolling Stones that God will set us free by.
The Easter season is about our souls gaining the freedom we seek, by a marriage commitment that says our bodies of flesh will then ACT as God Wills.
It becomes like Peter told Cornelius: “Jesus did not appear to all, but to us who were chosen by God to be witnesses.”
Being a witness to Jesus means sacrificing oneself in marriage to Yahweh, becoming the resurrection of His Son, Jesus reborn.
The Easter season is then all about the removal of the shrouds that bind us, which are all the usual suspects that lead souls to ruin.
The Easter season is all about removing the face cloth, which captures our own image, so we can put on the face of Yahweh.
The Easter season is all about being prepared to go into ministry for the Lord.
So, again, Happy Easter Sunday everyone! May you be reborn as Jesus Christ!