In support of a war on Christmas of ungodly commercialism, greed and willful ignorance; Liberation Theology and “The Yoga of Jesus” present us with great gifts for the self that could bless all others.
By Eileen Fleming
On Tuesday from Jerusalem a call for a war on Christmas as celebrated in the west came by way of Reverend Naim Ateek, President of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center who wrote:
When we look at the state of our world today and the messy situation we find ourselves in, it seems ludicrous at this Christmas season to talk about peace on earth, love of neighbor, compassion for others, and joy and goodwill to all. Tragically, we have been witnessing on a daily basis terror vs. terror, military power vs. military power, revenge and counter revenge, a hundred eyes for one eye, and inhuman behavior among people. Jesus Christ seems to have no place in the raging conflicts, and justice does not seem to stand a chance. Yet it is precisely in the midst of this terrible world predicament, political turmoil, and human devastation that we must proclaim our commitment to the above virtues….
The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels by Yoganananda present ancient manuscripts and compelling evidence that the three wise men who followed a star to the Little Town of Bethlehem to honor a Palestinian Jewish baby named Jesus; were great sages from India.
Not only did the Indian masters come to Jesus, but he reciprocated their visit. During the unaccounted-for years of Jesus’ life-the Scriptures remain silent about him from approximately age fourteen to thirty-he journeyed to India….
Hidden away in a Tibetan monastery priceless records lie. They speak of a Saint Issa from Israel, ‘in whom was manifest the soul of the universe’; who from age fourteen to twenty-eight was in India and regions of the Himalayas among the saints, monks, and pundits; who preached his message throughout that area and then returned to teach in his native land, where he was treated vilely, condemned and put to death. Except as chronicled in these ancient manuscripts, no other history of the unknown years of Jesus’ life has ever been published.
In the New Testament the silence over Jesus’ formative years is only broken by the writer of the Gospel of Luke: And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.– Luke 2:52
Reverend Ateek’s 2015 Christmas message concludes:
We believe that the birth of Jesus Christ represents God’s commitment and personal involvement in the life of our world and its people. Jesus Christ continues to inspire us to re-commit ourselves to the work of justice and peacemaking and to a life of sacrificial service to others especially the weak and oppressed among us…
Some of the western powers have allowed the rise of ISIS and the world is reaping what has been sown. The Government of Israel has allowed the empowerment of the extremist settlers and many Palestinians and Israelis have become the victims. The illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories continues unabated; the Israeli lust for land and settlement building is unrelenting; and the monopolizing and Judaizing of Jerusalem continues unchecked…
As people of different faiths, we have a responsibility before God to make each of our religions contribute towards building greater religious tolerance, respect and acceptance of others so that people of various religious and ethnic backgrounds can live in harmony and peace.
As people of different faiths, we have based our theologies on selected texts from the Bible and Quran that reflect a narrow, exclusive, and fundamentalist understanding. Instead of promoting the love of God and neighbor, our interpretations have encouraged racism and discrimination and the exclusion of the other.
It is time to turn the tide of injustice and oppression into the peaceful waves of justice and peace so that the God of peace, love, and compassion can be glorified and all of our peoples can live in peace and security.
In his chapter on The Beatitudes [Sermon on the Mount] from The Yoga of Jesus, Yoganananda writes:
Peace is the first manifestation of God’s response in meditation. Those who know God as Peace in the inner temple of silence, and who worship that peace-God therein, are by this relationship of divine communion His true children…
Anyone who brings peace to an inharmonious family has established God there. Anyone who removes the misunderstanding between souls has united them in God’s peace. Anyone who, forsaking national greed and selfishness, works to create amidst warring nations is establishing God in the heart of those nations…
No matter what one’s nationality or the color of his body, all of God’s children are souls. The Father recognizes no manmade designations; He loves all and His children must learn to live in that same consciousness….
So we, being made in his image, must also behave like gods and conquer hearts with the power of love, or humanity, as we know it will surely perish. Man’s power to make war is increasing; so must his ability to make peace…
Anyone who stirs up strife among brother nations under the guise of patriotism is a traitor to his divine family-a faithless child of God….
The true Christ-method of living can banish human conflicts and the horror of war and bring about peace and understanding on earth; all prejudices and enmities must fall away. That is the challenge placed before those who would be peacemakers of God.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who listened to Bob Dylan LP’s in his hermitage in Kentucky during the ’60′s and became the first religious voice to speak out against the Vietnam War. Merton also said:
The duty of the Christian at this time is to do the one task God has imposed upon us in this world today. The task is to work for the total abolition of war. There can be no question that unless war is abolished; the world will remain constantly in a state of madness…The church [children of God] must lead the way on the road to the abolition of war…Peace is to be preached and nonviolence is to be explained and practiced.
Read a 21st Century spin on The Beatitudes: HERE
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