Archive for March, 2016|Monthly archive page

Imitations of Attachment

Moreton Fig TreeDid you ever notice  Egypt and the Egyptians in all the stories of Victims in the Book of Genesis?  Victims facing what I would call capital punishment?

Ishmael. After the forced relocations. Taking it personally – the crime, in the family. The narrator  never points out the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence, as Abraham’s firstborn son.  If you knew them all so personally.  Until there developed a fear, perhaps out of being forced out.  And then the coverups, in the tradition of mystery.

Behold a narrator who brought you there: Passover is the story of being saved from death. Or is it the story of saving, after being saved? When Exodus – the leaving – follows Passover. And does the “serving” stay with the one-time slaves / hand-maids? How is that same variation on a theme – Judas and Imitations of Attachment – present in the story of Exodus? Just as for Ishmael, to be written out of the story, there is The Great Unsettling for the Narrator when you are not being counted any longer in the family.

The Great Unsettling emotion with Passover is over-coming a fear of death. For people who had come out of slavery. When the Great Commandment was to know, to love, and then to SERVE ….. God. The threat in the story of Passover – the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence – is seen when your first born son is lost. The inheritance was in The Call. To banish Ishmael,your half Egyptian son – your son who was born a slave.

The Call. Like when Abraham had left his own home behind in The Call, so his first born son, Ishmael. When you were born into something, so often the power of God remains to be seen. Like what he too had been born into, but left behind. And so the Exile of Hagar and son, in another Great Unsettling. Compare the banishment of the first born son of Abraham to Exodus. When Moses freely chose to lead the Israelites into exile.

And somehow the distortion of the great emotion with Passover, if you DID overcome the fear of death, involved suicide. Or in the case of yesterday’s news out of Brussels, mass killing in these imitations of attachment. If suicide is ever the answer, you never really recognized true love. If you do not really know Someone – if you got caught up in issues of power – did you ever want to serve …. in this Creation? When you carry only imitations of love, because of what you are born into? The horror back in Egypt, in the house of the Pharaoh, on the night of Passover, was that same horror for those who actually had come to know Judas – those who did believe and love, together. But those who never, under the Romans, really shared a homeland, with the goal of serving if not your own, the stranger.

The Spirit. The one revealed to Abraham. The one revealed to Moses. The meaning of Passover, again, is this great unsettling. When you are born a slave? That every day identity of a handmaid or a slave, who could not escape being enslaved to the earth, by the sweat of their brow. Twenty-four hours a day. With your children being sold out from under you. So the need to get your own place to worship your very own One God. So note from betrayal after Joseph had saved the Egyptians – so much like Hagar had saved Sarah and Abraham from extinction by delivering their first born son – these people of Egypt. Even though the son – Ishmael – seemed rejected one day by the mother, Sarah. Or who most thought was her true mother?  And wasn’t this the same story? God was going to reveal what exactly happens when a perfect Son is sacrificed, and the Church and the State will not rescue who Pilate heard was the King of the Jews.  After Joseph, the son of Jacob, had saved the Egyptians, this son of Joseph was gonna save all the world in this Passover! When sons always look at the end like their fathers, God was going to reveal what His fertility and Resurrection is all about. To those who had come to know him. To those who had come to love him. Like the Joseph who came forward to claim the body. AND those willing now to serve him. Yes, formed in his likeness, God was going to seat the Messiah at his right-hand. And there is a humility coming to know your ancestors.

In a story of the people with power and the underlying fear of Insurrection, who was Judas? And how did John the Evangelist – he was not the Apostle John – know of the exchange of the thirty pieces of silver?  When there was so much confusion for all who had lived through that night . . . of Passover. Did you ever compare Peter’s betrayal to Judas’? What had been this fatal flaw of Judas but his anger over what he had been born into?  And it was NOT Matthew, the tax collector, but Judas left in charge of the funds.  In what is now called the Holy Land?  And as far as this tradition of antisemitism in history, too often connected to your ideas about funding, why didn’t Christians feel the same way to Peter, James and John – or to mother Mary for that matter – as they do to Judas?

“Called.” With suicide comes the reflection of blame. Where is God’s Mercy for Judas? Didn’t God need Judas in this story of The Passion? Like Jesus needed someone in charge of the sacrificial money collected?  How did Judas fail to love, as the others eleven seemed to have? He had never been one of the special three taken up the mountain at the time of the Transfiguration. His calling is not even recorded in the Gospels, other than a suggestion in the Gospel of John that Judas had the money bag that paid for the Last Supper.  It is as if the writers had no feeling for Judas. So what had been the cause of the Crucifixion?  Isn’t the cause part of God’s plan, in salvation history?

So there was this imitations of attachment, for three years?  For three whole years.  Did you ever compared the identity of Judas to the other Eleven. Judas selected by Jesus.  And Judas also choose to become a follower.  Behold the relation to follow to an updated Call, like the Apostles all would be called to leave, like Abraham. Home.  Only unlike Abraham, Judas was not ready to be moved. And only thirty pieces of silver – symbolic of purity, strength, clarity, focus and TRUTH – were to blame? Or was it his perception of belonging to the Holy Land? To Israel?  Whoever thought a Jew had a part to change the world, in a LAND and a place when inequality threatened stability?   Was Judas like Barabbas, a threat to the Romans? Taking it personally – in the family – the threat of being reduced to utter non-existence.  So the thirty pieces of silver. The scene that I envisioned, after the Seder on Holy Thursday, was like at a cemetery, with the ghosts of the first born sons. Without the currency but the spirituality of silver. Born into a currency, in what you carried with you? Into the Garden. So why should ONE currency prevail over all others? As inequality threatens stability, why silver and not Roman currency, like what Jesus once had asked whose face was on the coin? Did you ever consider why in the story, the price was measured in silver, this invisible currency?  Note all the invisible threats in The Passion – the systemic threats to God. With either the lightness of God’s Presence or as a burden, as my God is compared to your God? If you ever lived through currency wars. And the leaven in the story? In the advent before Passover, when observant Jews remove all the leaven from their home if not their homeland … To become unburdened. Blood on the doorpost.  Behold a hacked interior Spirit? This identity of Judas had been hacked, if you compared his identity to the other Eleven. Judas could not escape his pride living in the soon to be called “The Holy Land.”  Judas mostly loved his homeland, in a world not so split between Church and State.  So a narrator who brought you to an oppressed nation living under slavery, or just under the dominion of the Romans …. did you hear the anguish manner of sincere Jewish prayer?  “Favor us, oh Lord! Keep us from the strangers’ ways….oh hear our Sabbath prayer.” .

Behold the Agony in the Passover Prayer!   This Year!   “Where is the lamb?” From out of the anger when you don’t belong – in an oppressed nation living under slavery – to direct that anger at others who had that same sense . . . like the refugee. As you voluntarily leave the PLACE and what you were born into. As you sacrifice – a creation process in its own right – for others. When you grow a Spirit, through a tooling for remaking.  Behold the Agony in the Garden!  With a spotlight on an invisible Presence … in this God of Abraham. When you, like Hagar, like Ishmael, are left with nothing. But Spiritual growth.

The Great Unsettling for the Narrator is not being counted any longer in the family. Afterwards. What he too had been born into, but left behind – the son of Mary and the son, the world thought, of Joseph. The Law could not, to the great disappointment to Peter that night, save him – The First Born – again. And the chief priest could not. No, The Law was not going to save the Victim this time. The Law that was given in Exodus. It was the Law that got Adam and Eve kicked out of Paradise, in the beginning. This one Apple law. What a ridiculous law! This time the Father was not on the surface going to save his son, through the law and Pontius Pilate. And the Church officials in the way of the chief priest were surely not gonna save him. Instead Jesus was going to die.

In the September 11th of its day, Passover. In the September 11th of its day, the Akedah. In the September 11th of its day, leaving home, accompanying her husband from Haran to Canaan, as Sarah had. In the beginning. And so the leaving and the come-back stories, with the change beyond imitations of attachment to one of union based upon true love. In what is mostly a love story, of saving after being saved, and leaving to teach the world.  In a story of another Great Comeback, after a son leaves again, does the “serving” stay with these one-time slaves / hand-maids?

Copyright © 2016.

So there is the betrayal by Judas, compared to Peter’s denial? Note the different understanding? One Apostle took action and the other ran away in a different dimension of sell-outs of a beloved. So Judas just did not have the right expectation of the purpose of a Messiah? With the emotions connected to love, if there was a true love rather than an imitation of attachment, did Peter? To deny knowing him, after three years. When Pilate recognized something in the way of power, in this Messiah, Pilate came the closest to understanding the power of God in this story. In the way of fatal flaws, Judas just did not have the right expectation of the purpose of a Messiah which led him to act on behalf of the Land in the story? His emotional response was related to overcoming the fear of death of the Land. Or overcoming the death of the Spirit in this Land? Based upon what you had been taught? Based upon your own expectations, connected to belonging? Had that Passover been like living through another refugee crisis, like the First Passover? When the slaves seemed to be taking over the place? So his fatal flaw was related to Spirit missing ….or was this fatal flaw of Judas, like in the midst of that first Passover, having just no understanding of what was happening — maybe much like the other eleven? 

I am not sure how many would understand the sacrifice – over what had driven the sacrifice of The Akedah – but the same fatal flaw of Abraham? Out of love for his wife, he had a son. But he did not love the mother of his son as much as he did the mother of his second son? And he was not supposed to have any feeling for her? So how did this affect their son – what had made Ishmael so different? I am not sure how many would understand this son. Behold the community standard which contributed to the fatal flaw of Abraham, that led to The Akedah!  When all along the difference about Abraham had been his detachment from the LAND. But how could you remain detached when you had a son, whose mother you did not love? And how would a father ‘s detachment from the LAND affect the son’s detachment from the world?

Behold the same great internal divide.  So how would a son’s detachment from the LAND affect these relationships based upon divine love?  For Judas …. who loved the LAND with TOO much feeling. Dayenu! Behold the “Dayenu” in the story of the Promise Land, in the story of Passover, in the story of The Passion.

“Forgive us!” What did you hear in the Lord’s Prayer? That Kaddish prayer is the “Our Father” prayer, with the plea to “deliver us from evil.”  Give us our bread, unleavened, that we might rise again some day.  Like the Irish celebrate 100 years this Easter.  Of the Uprising. With the loss of innocent life.

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Daily Reflection Creighton Online Ministries

Larry Gillick, S.J.