Occasionally, I find a real gem online, usually from one of my thoughtful online friends on Facebook or on a forum or somewhere.
These two short essays are good examples. Here, Wendy Francisco comments on the curtain in the Temple being torn in two (Mt 27:50-51), followed by another related piece on the word ‘saved’.
I feel this combination might just set someone free today:
There was a thick curtain in the Jewish temple that separated the holy of holies from the common people, and when Jesus died, this curtain was ripped in two from top to bottom.
When that happened there were no notes falling from heaven to interpret this. So interpretations abound.
I only know this… the curtain represented a perceived barrier between God and people, and God ripped it in two.
We’ve been trying to sew that curtain back up ever since.
It’s no wonder we do this … that curtain is religion’s golden egg. If you can fool people into believing that God is too disdainful to hang out with us, bingo, you have a profitable religion…where people in fancy costumes go into tented places to appease a god.
Is Jesus the new and better system? Is he now the “curtain” we pass through to gain acceptance by God? No dude …the point of tearing the curtain was that God couldn’t stand being made to stay in that stuffy room by himself. Scripture says repeatedly that God doesn’t desire sacrifice. When Adam fell, God did not sew up himself a tent and sit in it. He ran after Adam.
Jesus sacrificed Himself to tell us this… because we murder pretty much anyone who brings too high a dose of enlightenment.
The point isn’t a better system, it is no system. When relationships become systems, they are toxic. God didn’t put that curtain up, we did. Jesus came to show us that our bloody atonement religions are a hoax. He died telling us that because such religions kill us. He was our lamb, our Messenger, who came with compassion in spite of knowing it would cost everything. He found the pearl of great price – us – and he gave his all for it.
If you don’t get this, you don’t benefit from it… you wind up staying behind a curtain, a cog in a machine, with a false god, and a cultish religion. That is what Jesus was saving the planet from.
That curtain tore. It takes an army of frantic religious doctrinal sewing machines to keep that curtain sewed up, and that dead system going, but we manage to keep untold millions behind our imaginary veil.
There is a verse in scripture — 23 All did sin, and are come short of the glory of God — 24 being declared righteous freely by His grace through the redemption that [is] in Christ Jesus… [Rom 3:23-24 – Ed]
It’s one fluid sentence, but we erected our money-making curtain right in the middle of it ….chopping it into two verses, and sending the first half to the top of the flagpole.
GOOD NEWS… the veil was made by humans, not by God. He doesn’t need or want one. Being born again means having a religious do-over.
We try to make Christianity into a western religion but it is very eastern. Scripture says the kingdom is inside us, that we are already citizens of heaven.
The word that is translated “saved” gives the exact meaning some pause. Jesus taught about life going on after death, but it is this same life. We are already there. We are not trying to do what is necessary to please a disgusted god so we can get TO heaven. We’re trying to see and walk in it now. We’re bringing it here, by how we see. We are already there, but don’t see it.
The evil of religion is stating that we have all sinned fallen short of the grace of God — and failing to close the thought, which states that the SAME “all” is made alive in Christ. The point of the verse is not death but life. That verse is theft…. it is stealing the captives of religion. It is one fluid sentence, like life is one fluid life. Different forms, same life.
I am not making this up. This is scripture which we have been trained not to see. That place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth? That is this life too, when religion is standing in the door and keeping you from realizing who and where you are.
Jesus was talking to a deeply religious and sincerely seeking person [Jn 3:3 – Ed] when he described being born again — not to a lost person as we define it. Jesus was talking within a culture so religious even we can scarcely imagine it. He was talking about leaving religion and seeing God with completely different eyes. When he tells the rich man he will find the life of the ages by leaving his life and following him, he isn’t talking about earning heaven later, he’s talking about finding it now. It is here, all around us.
I don’t weep and gnash my teeth any more like I did in evangelicalism because I was redeemed, saved, pulled out of the ditch, redefined. Lemmings don’t like someone who is going against the flow, but I get that. I was one. I get how tricky it is.
“Blessed are those who mourn.” This is the problem with evangelicalism. We were taught that hell could exist for most of humanity and it would be okay not to mourn eternally in heaven because most of humanity really didn’t matter.
I’m not going to comment; with a bit of thought these two pieces speak for themselves.
Be blessed! 🙂