In this new era of fear that we live in, when the world trembles because the governments command it, it is hard to have faith. From local governments, up to the highest governments of the lands, they all preach fear. They do that with their underlings, their media arms, hammering that fear into the hearts and minds of all populations. This promotion of fear is said to be because there is the threat of a virus loose that cannot be contained. That fear has spread into the religions of the world, which are founded on principles of belief, from which true faith arises. Those going by the name “Christian” in America are included in this promotion of darkness, as churches and states have intermingled and determined attendance within their properties can no longer be as it was.
F E A R D E A T H ! ! !
We hear that message clearly. We wear masks like criminals proudly trying to steal extended life. We wash our hands like sea otters opening the oysters of salvation, incessantly. We hide in our homes let the news media bombard our brains with the latest statistics of fear, while we let our businesses and places of employment become so weak they die from lack of attention. We forbid attendance at funerals for the dead, because there might be a chance too many people gathering together to pay their last respects will cause more people to get sick and die. Thus …
W E P R A Y …
to our governments to send us money to heal all our hurts caused by this fear. We pray for higher unemployment checks, with extensions in how long those check will arrive. We pray for relief checks to make up for lost wages. We pray for vaccines to be made. We pray for hospitals to work their staffs morning and night to care for those who are sick and dying; so, we pray to our governments to give healthcare providers the first shots of vaccines when they become available. Above all, we pray the nations will not bankrupt their treasuries, making it impossible for all their promises to be kept. Then, our government gods hear our publicly aired prayers by sending us promises through the media: “Help (and rescue) is on the way!”
A couple of days ago I read a post on a Facebook group that pleaded to Episcopalians for comfort, because one person (he or she) feared the concept of death. Someone was reaching out in some perverse way, into the cesspool that is social media, because fear has become so prevalent in many people there seems to be no other way. Such a personal fear can no longer be addressed by talking to another human being of strength and fortitude [like a confession directly made to a priest or pastor]. It is too dangerous to go out in public and go near others. Thus, one scared voice ventured to the computer for help. And, the cesspool of social media was offering the best clichés the Internet can provide, as some poor excuse for help being rendered. Many of those unprofessional advisors mentioned prayer as a remedy.
This past Sunday I watched the local Baptist minister on television, as I have been doing since the Episcopal Church went out of business because of fear [well, it still has some pulse of financial life left in it, but it is surely is hooked up to proverbial respirators and the outcome seems quite bleak, with no visitors allowed at this time]. I have been reminded of my youth, when I was a member of a Pentecostal branch of Christianity, when pastors commonly orated heartfelt prayers, while holding a Bible and pacing about the altar. The Baptist minister regularly announces a time for prayer in his church’s Sunday morning program, at which time he closes his eyes and speaks clearly into the Madonna-like headgear microphone all stage performers wear these days. In my youth, the Assemblies of God preachers had to carry a large metal microphone in their hand, so everyone could hear them praying.
When I became an Episcopalian, I was introduced to their mini-bible, called The Book of Common Prayers. The priests routinely read aloud prayers that are written in that book, in unison with the congregation that is present [now they read them to the camera that sends livestream video out to viewers, along with one or two socially distant assistants]. Episcopalians that I came to know love their book of prayers; and, they prove it by reading those prayer much more frequently than they read the Holy Bible and its many books. Most Episcopalians I knew hated to show up for Bible Studies, but at times of personal need they knew where their home edition of Common Prayers was on the bookshelf. The Episcopal priests are always so dressed up in robes and ropes (when performing in church) that it is all they can do to bend over and pass out a wafer to someone kneeling or standing at the altar rail. They could never get down on one knee, like the Baptist minister did when he orated a heartfelt prayer to God on television, asking God to help this country find some light at the end of this fear tunnel it has crawled into.
One of the standard prayers read in the Episcopal churches [I don’t see that routine in the Baptist Church] is the one called The Lord’s Prayer. You know it. It begins by stating “Our Father who art in heaven ….” We memorize the words of that prayer just like the Israelites memorized the words of David’s songs of praise and lament. Also just like the Israelites, after David fell from grace (like Adam had before him), the Israelites (and then the Jews) found out memorization wasn’t the same thing as authoring words of recommendation.
The Jews of Jesus’ day were like all the lost tribes of Israel, as there was a whole lotta memorizing going on amid a whole lotta fear. Everybody went to synagogue and recited things memorized and chanted prayer as taught, but still the Romans owned all the land and the promise of a Messiah had not come. Then Jesus was sent by God; but Jesus was not sent as an answer to prayers based on fears. We know that because God sent His Son to teach all His children the only one to fear is God. If you fear anything other than God, then you have not understood why God sent Jesus into the world. Because so many prayers are sent to God based on fearing everything but God, the world has a basic nature that is: A. Too self-centered to listen; and, B. Too afraid of everything to act on what God says [without fear].
The disciples of Jesus asked him to teach them to pray. They asked because they did not seem to be getting any answers from God (those they sought) by reciting memorized prayers, so they figured they must be doing it wrong (meaning memorization of the same ole same ole was not the answer Jesus would give them). Two millennia later, Christians in America are just like the disciples were then, meaning nothing has changed. We have reverted back to the days of not knowing how to talk to God.
The Lord’s Prayer is more than what Jesus said to his disciples about how to pray. Luke tells us: “one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1b) What Luke wrote of Jesus’ instruction (his answer to the question) ends with “lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4) Still, when Jesus was in the middle of his so-called sermon on the mount, he spoke then about how to pray, saying pretty much the same things as Luke wrote that Jesus said, adding a line about protection from evil and forgiveness of sins (debts). The words Christians memorize and rotely orate on command today adds some flowers at the end; but everyone forgets what Jesus first taught from high on that hill that overlooked the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus said: ““And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:5-8, NIV)
After Jesus said that, he then added “This, then, is how you should pray:” (Matthew 6:9a), which then followed what we all know as The Lord’s Prayer. That does not say “memorize this.” It says someone praying should say similar as this, from having an established personal relationship with God.
To call that The Lord’s Prayer and not “Our Father’s Prayer” makes it easy to get confused. Jesus is our Lord, right? We must be praying to Jesus, right? God being seen as Our Lord is not the same thing as seeing God as Our Father. For some reason, we seem to be praying to Jesus, because Jesus told his disciples how to pray, using the words we repeat (without deep thought and without feeling we are individually talking to God, from personal needs). Calling those words the “Lord’s Prayer” makes it seem that God is the Lord over everyone in the whole world … sinners and saints, Christians and Jews and Muslims, the religious and the heathen [Gentiles]. We have taken the necessary relationship of FATHER out of the title given to those words, as if God is the Father of the whole, entire world, as if anything with a brain that is human is a child of God.
W R O N G A N S W E R ! ! !
Why is the advice given by Jesus ignored? Why is it that when we read of Jesus going to the Temple of Jerusalem and witnessing two men, both there “to pray” (as told in Luke 18:9-14) – a Pharisee and a publican [tax collector] – as any different that when Jesus went into a synagogue “to pray,” always seeing the metaphor of two men as being a duality that always present, representing: teacher and disciple – pastor and flock – speaker and listener. We read in Luke’s Gospel: “ The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” (Luke 18:11-12)
Why do we not see that as being the same as a Baptist minister on an altar, in bended-knee position, speaking into a microphone on an altar [stage?]?
Why can Episcopalians see a priest dressed so obviously different from all the great unwashed in the pews as doing the exact same thing from the pulpit, behind a lectern, orating loudly as if saying, “I stand here holier than thou, so repeat after me!”?
Why do American get down on their knees and pray to politicians [actors, athletes, musicians, you name it and America will pray to it], when they are all on a level of worthlessness as a self-aggrandizing Pharisee?
The Jews of Jesus’ day are no different than the Christians [and Jews and Muslims] of today. Half are projecting themselves as the ones who know what to do [because of having Big Brains], because God has blessed them. The other half then sees themselves as unblessed, while beating their chests in fear of death. No one has a relationship with God that makes Him be anyone’s FATHER. Add in a third half [these are not real numbers here] that prays to their god, seeking all America to be destroyed for having no relationship with their gods.
Jesus said to get by yourself – to “not be like the hypocrites” do, who “pray standing in the synagogues” [Temple or churches] (Matthew 6:5, NIV), wanting to be seen and heard by all, thought to be most holy. Jesus said “when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
The Greek word written by Luke, which has been translated as “pray,” is “eleēmosynēn, which actually says “acts of charity” or “mercy” or “pity.” This is synonymous with prayer, when prayer always comes forth as some form of lamentation, based on fears. The poor are always filled with fears, because the rich leaders help cause fears to become rampant. That is the reward of leaders who loudly pray publicly – they get rich off followers that listen to them boasting, and relating that confidence as truth. Those leaders all eventually secretly go into rooms with politicians and government leaders and plot the next greatest fear for the stupid common people to be entangled with; entangled so badly the poor huddled masses cannot do anything but run to their leaders for public prayers to relive the fears.
None of those people have any righteousness in them, although Jesus pointed out the publican, who privately fears from guilt in a public setting, he was closer to righteousness than was the Pharisee. Still, neither was anything close to be able to call God his Father.
God gives all human being on planet earth a soul, as soon as they take in that soul with first breath. That soul is an extension of God; but it comes with no restrictions as to where that soul can lead a body of flesh. The breath of birth is the free will a soul is given by God, to use as it wishes … until the time comes to pay for life choices. Thus, a soul given by God can turn its flesh into a Jew, a Christian, or a Communist [to give three examples of what one can do with oneself without God being one’s Father]. To be able to go into your room and pray to God as “your Father” [“the Father of you” – “Patri hymōn“], you must become a soul joined with God’s Holy Spirit, reborn as Jesus Christ, so you [regardless of whatever human genitalia your body of flesh possesses] have become the Son of God, thereby truthfully capable of calling God your Father.
When one has sacrificed his or her self-ego – which reflects the lusts of the flesh controlling the soul, making the self think it is a god on earth worth worshiping – one becomes engaged to God – His bridesmaid. At an uncertain hour, after proving one’s commitment to the bridegroom, the call comes and one is instantly married to God as His wife. The consummation of that union, when two join as “one flesh” so “what God has joined together [so] no person is to separate,” yields the birth of Jesus Christ – a divine soul possessing a normal extension-of-God-soul, leading the pair’s single body of flesh to act as the Son of God – one’s Father by marriage.
Until that state of being has been reached [I call it sainthood, but the word “Apostle” also fits], one is no better than the publican who knows he is guilty of all kinds of sins, all worthy of reciting a confession and muttering a prayer along with all the other fearful; but being that close to redemption [a reward from prayer to Our Father] still makes Salvation beyond one’s reach. That is when proving one’s commitment to marriage beforehand is most important. [Jesus called that keeping oil in one’s lamp, as that is what good bridesmaids do.]
I know when I was a youth attending an Assembly of God church, I absorbed some sense of prayer being private conversations with God. I felt I could pray to God any time I wanted. I could thank God whenever I realized He had just helped me without my asking. I could also beg Him to help me when I knew I had done something wrong. I knew God heard me; and, I knew whenever I didn’t get what I wanted, then it was best that God not make that happen.
I have always seen a church as a place of prayer, where each person inside a church needs a quiet place to pray silently. I know I am not the only one who thinks this way. The value of a church is it provides a sanctuary for private prayer to God. However, I know that a stadium filled with sports fans also acts similarly, because when that is where an important game is played and winning means some false sense of fulfillment, a stadium evokes silent prayers for the team of their idolatry. You can’t hear them, but it is easy to feel there are thousands of silent prayers being sent out: “God, if you will only let my team win this game, then I will promise to always be good.”
We see athletes giving some sign to heaven after some great feat accomplished, as if God wants him or her to make a bazillion dollars from having injected steroids into one’s flesh. None of them make a sign to God after failing to make the big play, as if saying, “Thank you God for letting me fail miserably before thousands of witnesses, so I know I am meaningless to You, until I sacrifice my whole self-ego to you and be reborn as Your Son.”
We have lost all abilities to pray. Thus, we are amid a fear called an unseen pandemic.
The answer is simple: Become the Son of God reborn and fear only God.
Alas, we only remember Jesus crying out in fear, “The flesh is willing, but the spirit is weak.”
We cannot understand how Jesus had whipped his flesh into servitude that was his soul married to God’s Holy Spirit, so his flesh was willing to die for God, in order to serve His Will. Because Jesus was the Son of man, the Christ Mind had complete control over the flesh of Jesus. Still, Jesus possessed a normal soul, which comes with every first breath all human beings receive; and, Jesus admitted to His Father that it was his normal soul that was a weakling and caused his body of flesh to tremble in fear, admitting to his Father he knew that was natural. Jesus prayed to let His Father know he knew he could never count on his normal soul to lead the flesh to righteousness. Thus, prayer was the way to energize that normal soul and bring it the calm needed to withstand enormous pains and suffering that were known to be coming.
That scene of Jesus crying, which seems like it is saying it is okay to tremble like a sniveling weakling and fear something other than God makes everyone forget the time not long before that scene at Gethsemane, when Jesus returned to Bethany from beyond the Jordan. He arrived there after his brother-in-law Lazarus had died. Jesus was met by both Martha and Mary, both of whom cried out:
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21, NIV)
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” said Mary to Jesus. (John 11:32b, NIV)
They had sent out a prayer to Jesus, which came to Jesus where he camped with his disciples. We read of that prayer when John wrote, “the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
Notice how they gave a “Lord’s Prayer,” where the “Lord” was Jesus. They thought then like Christians think today, Jesus is the Son of God, where God is his Father, so if we pray to Jesus as Our Lord, then he will save the day and make all our fears go away, because Jesus has a close relationship with God.
It was that failure of the ones Jesus loved dearly that made his weak normal soul produce a tear. All they had to do was become themselves sons and daughters of God, through marriage with the Holy Spirit, so they could have become Jesus reborn through the Christ Mind. Jesus would have been there when they wanted him to be – AS THEM – so Lazarus would not have died. THEY COULD HAVE SAVED LAZARUS! Jesus wept because they did not understand that then, after living with Jesus and being his close, personal family; so, likewise, Jesus weeps for all Christians who are just as lacking in faith. Jesus weeps for all who fear COVID19 and hide away from others, too afraid to act righteously.
Lazarus is symbolic of the way all true Christians must be. All Christians come down with the illness of life that always trembles in fear of everything other than God. Those Christians will eventually die in the flesh, because all flesh is temporal and only capable of supporting a normal soul for so long. However, Lazarus reflects the resurrection, as life returned beyond death of self-ego, to the same normal soul in the same body of flesh [no matter how bad the stench of death’s sin was before]. Lazarus reflects a true Christian who has been resurrected by marriage to God and reborn as Jesus as His Son, two souls then united in one body of flesh, never to be torn asunder.
In the Gospels the story of Lazarus is left by the wayside, although we read of rumors to have Lazarus killed, so he could not become a future instigator of Jews believing Jesus was the Messiah. Their plot to kill Lazarus extended to those who loved him. The lore has it that Lazarus and his family and closest friends were cast out to sea in a raft that was expected to sink. Instead, the craft sent from Egypt landed in coastal France [Gaul], along with three women named Mary [Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacobe, and Mary Salome], Martha, Maximin and Sidon [the man born blind who was healed by Jesus]. They all became Saints who were living examples of what a true Christian is to be.
The reason the world is all caught up in fear of a virus is the world is always a place where the poor fear the rich and the only way to ease the fears is to make the rich stronger, so they reward the poor with slight eases in their fearmongering. That is the way the world is made to be. It is made that way so God can tell who His true children are, apart from the sea of souls He breathed life out into bodies of flesh. They are the ones who pray the way Jesus told his disciples to pray. They are the ones who only fear God. They are the ones who know that catching a virus and going through all the pain and agony of a hospitalization, where tubes are forced down throats and lungs wheeze and cough is just the price one pays [a pound of flesh] for being able to call God one’s Father. Dying of the coronavirus is a walk in the part, when compared to what Jesus went through as the sacrificial lamb.
After all, Jesus came through that with flying colors. That was because God was his Father, who raised him from death.
So, if you want to begin to pray properly, then follow the command of God through the Son, and …
C O M E O U T !
R. T. Tippett