I have been reflecting on Christianity this Easter Day. Yesterday at Sunrise Ranch, we had a wonderful jazz concert outside the Pavilion, sponsored by Off the Hook Arts, a music education non-profit. There was an excellent horn player playing trumpet and flügelhorn, an organist, a guitarist, and a drummer.
I met a man who is a great supporter of the arts. He was interested in Sunrise Ranch and was curious about my role as Spiritual Director.
This man grew up in the Catholic Church and spoke about his Catholic upbringing. He decried the pedophilia in the Catholic Church. We talked about celibacy in the Catholic Church and how that has played a role in pedophilia. And we spoke of how Rome introduced celibacy into the Catholic Church hundreds of years after Jesus lived, having nothing to do with Jesus’ teachings. And yet, the Romans took it upon themselves to introduce it as part of the Church’s teachings and represented it as Christianity.
There are so many things like that in the Church. And I am not saying this to put down the people involved or the institution, but simply to recognize that there is a truth underneath it all that gets so colored by what human culture has put on top of it. And here, on this Easter Day, let us, as much as possible, go right back to the root of what was brought by this beautiful, beautiful man, this man who would not stop, would not falter, but fulfilled what was his to do in his life and what was his to bring to the world—the revelation of Love itself.
While it is easy to acknowledge the failings of the Church, we can also appreciate that, through Christianity, the memory of the core of Love that was brought into the world two thousand years ago has been sustained. I give thanks for that.
Here we are, on this day, in the world as it is, witnesses to crucifixion. Not the crucifixion of a man by the Romans two thousand years ago, but a crucifixion that is pervasive around the world in many different forms, most evident in Ukraine. And yet there is great Love present too—the Love of the Ukrainian people, the Love of all of humankind for them, and the great desire for their victory.
This week, I heard an interview with Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament. She struck me as a female counterpart to Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Her courage and faith were monumental.
As you might expect, she spoke about the war and her pride in how her people are facing this extreme challenge. She, herself, has taken military training, like many women in Ukraine. And there are women refugees and others living and working abroad who are going back to Ukraine to help with the war effort.
Kira Rudik also spoke about looking forward to the day when the millions of refugees in Poland and other places in Europe and around the world would come back to rebuild her country. She had the vision of that day and the faith that it would come. There was unwavering faith flashing in her eyes.
Faith is an interesting word, used in so many ways, sometimes used as a substitute for the word religion, as if faith and religion are the same things.
What is faith, truly? There is a faith that transcends any religion, spiritual practice, or belief. Genuine faith is faith in life itself and in the goodness and value of life. It is a knowledge of what imbues life with its meaning and purpose.
And what is it that imbues life with meaning and value? What is it without which life is like dust in the wind?
Is it not Love? This ineffable quality, so hard to pin down? We know it when we see it. We know it when we feel it. We can describe it as it is embodied. But this ineffable quality defies definition. And yet it is what brings meaning and purpose, order, and reason.
We sometimes speak of Jesus as the Lord of Love. And why? Because of the very nature of who he was. And also because he had the courage and the faith to bring Love to the world. No matter what happened, he brought Love.
When we open to Love, it instills faith. And without letting Love in, a person begins to lose faith in life. They start to think that life is not worthwhile, that it cannot come to anything, that no matter what they do, there is nothing of meaning and value that will come of it.
That is a loss of faith. A loss of faith is also a lowering of expectations. It can be a gritting of one’s teeth, just trying to get through, without hope or expectation of something good coming out of it.
It can be a substitute for lesser values of Love. No, I won’t have Love in my life—I’ll just get rich. I’ll just be successful. That’s a loss of faith.
Creation is an act of faith. It could be something large or small in someone’s life. Picking up the telephone and calling somebody can be an act of faith. It is the faith that your call, your voice, and your care mean something to that person and could make a difference in their life. Your love could grow something. You do not know exactly what, but you have faith. And so, it could be an act of faith simply to make a phone call.
Writing a letter could be an act of faith. So could writing a poem, starting a family, or initiating a business.
Creation is a wild leap into the unknown, is it not? Any act of Creation is an act of faith. You do not know what that poem will be; you do not know what will happen on that phone call—it could be anything. But there is a faith that something good will come out of it. That faith is born of Love and the knowledge that good things are born out of Love. Life is born out of Love.
Sometimes we encounter people who have lost faith. I suppose it can be a matter of degrees. Maybe a loss of a little bit of faith, a lessening of vision, a decline of the sense of possibility, or perhaps a sense that the good things are in the past, and now we are just playing out the string. Or it could be a great lack of faith, something crushing. A person cannot get out of bed in the morning—total loss of faith.
It could be a total giving up or a little bit of giving up. And if we encounter someone who is having that experience, do we recognize it for what it is? And do we know that we have faith to share? That if that person does not have faith in themselves, we have faith in them, so they can feel our faith and be uplifted by it? And so that in knowing our faith in them, they feel their faith in themselves and their own faith in life?
There are so many ways to say to a person I have faith in you. I have faith in life. I have faith in your life and what you have to give and what you have to fulfill in your life. And I know the meaning, power, and value behind it all, which is this ineffable quality of Love.
Today it is Easter in most of the Christian world. It is also in the middle of Passover for the Jewish religion, and Ramadan for Islam. At the root of the three great religions in the world is Abraham, who had this tremendous sense of promise. As the story goes, he was visited by the Spirit of Love in the person of Melchizedek, and he was filled with faith. He was filled with faith that he and his offspring were to bring a blessing to all families, all nations, and all people. Such was his faith.
People tend to view this blessing as unique to him and unique to his people. What if he was standing in the place of every man and every woman and every family, and every group of people? When anyone receives a download of the One Love, they are filled with that promise. They are filled with that faith, even though it is often misinterpreted and taken personally.
Faith is the power of Love on the move in the world. There is Love on high, whether in the person of Melchizedek, or some other way. There is that ineffable quality of Love that we touch. But this world needs something beyond the ineffable in the invisible. It needs Love embodied. This world needs the Kira Rudiks of this day, people who bring a living faith, the power of Love on the move in human experience. This world needs the sense of meaning and purpose that Love brings.
Faith is contagious. It can be communicated and shared. It is not discrete within this bag of flesh. Faith overflows.
When Love fills you with faith, you have faith to give. You are imbuing the world that you live in with that faith. The people around you can live in that faith with you. We could be a mountain of faith—me, my family, my people, and humankind can be mountains of faith.
Human civilization is characterized by factionalization. There are factions at every level—among nations, religions, political parties, races, ethnicities, and in so many other ways.
Faith as religion can bring factionalization. Faith in the One Love brings us all together—not one people over another, not one person over another—all of us together as the family of humankind. All our gifts, talents, and contributions come together when the reality of One Love is let fully in. And when the wisdom of that One Love guides us, we find that there is a fabric of Creation and the fabric of humanity. We are part of that fabric. And we are the One Love that weaves it all together.
This world needs those who will not settle for factionalization of any kind. Sometimes, as in Ukraine, a person needs to stand up for themselves or their nation. That does not necessarily mean they are participating in factionalization. There can be the larger vision that we are better than the imposition of factionalization; that we are bigger than that, and that we will not settle for it in ourselves or in the culture that we create together. We enter a lack of tolerance for it.
Think of this entire human project—humankind itself. There is an act of faith! The source of life took it upon itself to create a species of conscious Beings on this planet? What an act of faith!
It was an act of faith to create us, believing that we could come to something, that we could fulfill a dream and a purpose; that we could be the Crowning Creation, that we could be stewards of life. That was the dream, the hope, and the promise. That was the act of faith by which we were created.
Let us now be creators inspired by Love. Let us take the leap of faith to create what is ours to create and to imbue it with all the Love that is in us. Let us infuse the people around us with all the Love that they could receive from us. Let us empower the projects we undertake with all the Love we have, from beginning to end.
If the hearts of people around us are failing them, let us have faith enough for them. That is what we are called upon to do as Emissaries of Divine Light. Not just to have faith enough for ourselves and our own lives, but faith enough for humanity. To breathe into humanity the faith of One Love. We are here for something great as humankind, no matter the crucifixion, no matter the failings, no matter the limitations. Those things are transitory. We have a great purpose to fulfill. Let us breathe that faith into the people that we see every day. And in so doing, let us breathe that faith into the world.
I invite you to feel that Love resonating physically and viscerally. Feel it radiating through your shoulders and arms, and out through your hands. And let it go wherever it will go, wherever it may be received.
In this radiation, let us bring our faith into the world. And let us stand with all people of true faith, of whatever culture, whatever religion or lack thereof; all people who know in their hearts the value of life and who celebrate that value. We are with you. Together we bring faith to this world. We are a mountain of faith.
So let it be. So it is on this Easter Day as we honor the memory of a man of supreme faith, not in a religion but in the divine source of all. He could not be stopped; he could not be overtaken. And even now, his faith is overtaking the world through us. That very same faith, that very same breath that he brought, we bring now. As we breathe out, we breathe his breath, his faith, his Love, which is our breath, our faith, our Love.
Let it fill the space we are in. Let it fill the world in which we live. Let it overcome all that is separate and fractional with the One Love, the one faith of all humankind. So may it be, and so it is.