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Monthly Archives: October 2014

THE HIDDEN DEITY and A DIVINE REJECTION : TWO POEMS

FIG TREE

[The idea for the first of these two related poems occurred to me last June on the barren slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily. It thus has at least an indirect relation to Coming to Syracuse (August blog). The Fig tree has a variety of associations inside and outside the Bible.. It can represent prosperity, Israel or knowledge. Its fruit may even have been deemed the original Edenic one rather than the proverbial apple. In the first poem it is related simply to what can be known ].

THE HIDDEN DEITY

A leafy fig tree at a distance you once
Saw. You were hungry and desired its fruit
So you approached it for you wished to know
If it held sustenance for your relief. [1]
And truly then your searching self
Was mortal and your eyes like anyone’s,
For whom even simple things within their reach
May not be seen or understood.

At night you walked the wind blown waves
Intending none should see you did, [2]
The meaning of that labour undeclared
Except I AM, your self, given as the clue. [3]
For are you not the Lord of seas because
Still more the womb of all the elements,
Your soul extended out beyond your form [4]
Into and through the visible universe?

Sometimes you were a man, sometimes were God
Your soul an infinite sea lain mostly
Calm and undisclosed to those around, even
Sometimes to yourself who had to struggle
When a man as man.[5] But nature sensed and
Always knew the truth, the reason why upon
Your death even light declined and darkness
Closed upon a still uncomprehending world.

Alone can soul know what soul is and
Apprehend what intellect and Chalcedon    [6]
Could not : you were less God and man together,
Equally and all complete than each by turn
And then by concentrated will. When fully God
You were God’s Soul, not Spirit or the Father’s
Mind which you would only imitate since
Spirit and Soul proceed from the Creator’s Head. [7]

It’s why you’re self-declared the door or gate
Through which souls enter in like sheep to
Pasturage though they will go outside again. [8]
For once your person and direction’s known,
Less perfectly and fully we are gods [9]
Partaking in what’s human and through soul
What is divine, learning through words what’s Word
Being inside and out of time’s confine.

In the sublime high seraphs sing God holy thrice, [10]
God’s unity is entire as three, ‘we” from the first,
The Elohim, before the single Name
Revealed in sound and fire: Yahwéh. This was [11]
The Angel of the Lord, not God as primal        [12]
Will, nor Spirit, the energy that shapes what is,
But womb and face of the material
The one revealed to Gideon beside the tree.   [13]

A Son that waits upon a Father’s will
And works but as the Spirit empowers
Is also Wisdom, Word, Messiah, Angel more, [14]
Unique in his sole self and yet to which
All we may add – even though of little faith
And greedy still like Gideon for a sign
From One with faith enough in Providence
Not to perceive each fruit upon a tree.

 NOTES

[1] Mk 11.12 “he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it”. It is quite clear Jesus needs to examine the tree not being sure what is on it.
[2] Mk 6: 48 “he intended to pass them by”. Although Jesus aims to control the elements and help the disciples straining against “an adverse wind” he doesn’t seem to want them to know that on this occasion which is effectively a revelation of his other self.
[3] The familiar “It is I, be not afraid” though literary can be misleading. It is really one of the ego eimi statements. “Be not afraid, I AM”, one of the declarations of divinity in a synoptic gospel, (the presumed earliest gospel) which liberal scepticism maintains is absent from earliest belief.
[4] The soul or esoterically the aura which surrounds the body, sustains it in existence and departs from the body at death.
[5] The poem takes a line with affinities for one expounded by Scottish theologian P.T.Forsyth ( 1848-1921). He believed Jesus was bound to succeed and remain perfect given his nature, but he had to struggle like a man because the divinity was considerably hidden from him or accepted by faith. In his kenosis (self-emptying in incarnation) “the divine attributes were not discarded but they were retracted or condensed” (The Person and Place of Christ 1909). My poem suggests the divinity was only perceived, claimed, tapped into rather like a psychic talent. Being divine could have been experienced like a living dream. Those times apart, Jesus had to grow in wisdom as the record says (Luk 2:52).
[6] The creed of Chalcedon of 451 produced formulae coloured by Greek philosophy which render Christ, “truly God and truly Man….consubstantial with the Father and the same consubstantial with us as regards his divinity…..” No one explained how these two levels (“rational soul” and “rational body”), interacted and it should be more a matter for esoterics and psychology than philosophy. Forsyth (see above) was anti-Chalcedonian.
[7]   My Cosmic Father: Spirituality as Relationship, insists that just as the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, so Jesus is the Soul of God. Spirit and Soul are together emanated from God and are to be imagined as “below” the Creator, the Head, and correspond to (in kabbalistic terms influenced by Jesus’ contemporaries the Essenes), respectively Hokhmah and Binah who are of, within, but just below, Keter, (the Head) – for “God is the head of Christ” (1 Cor 11:3) as St Paul has it. Absolute, mathematical equality of the Trinity is a philosophical notion that is arguably a biblical heresy and was never accepted by all churches. Jesus only does what he sees the Father already doing (Joh 5:19).
[8] Joh 10:9 “I am the gate . Whoever enters by me will be saved…and will come in and go out and find pasture “ To notice here is this going in and out where one might imagine salvation was a matter of simply going in by the door. Instead, the person capable of divinization is not in one “place” to realize that.
[9] Joh 10:35 “If those to whom the word of the Lord came are called ‘gods’….”
The disciples/believers are not God as such, but they participate in God and become divine by association, especially if they can transcend the limited material for the wider universal realm of soul. The Eastern churches have always held to a doctrine of divinization of the self.
[10] In Is 6:3 the seraphs calls “Holy, Holy, Holy”. The concept of trinity is not ruled out by the divine unity which is Echod (inclusive One) not Yachid (absolutely single One).
[11] The earliest name for the one God (Elohim pro, Eloheem) is uniplural (Gods). The secret, revealed covenant name of God is Yahweh, I AM WHO I AM, and gradually custom and editing makes this Israel’s name for God, though careful reading would indicate it is only a face, aspect or person of Elohim, essentially the manifesting one. The original pronunciation of the divine name is unknown – I have accented the second vowel for reading purposes only.
[12] It is because the earliest followers of Jesus could think of him as Angel of the Lord that they could accept his divinity, and not as some imported pagan notion, almost from the first. Calling Jesus “Lord: can mean Angel of the Lord, Yahweh and for the first Christians the OT Angel of the Lord was the pre-incarnate Christ
13] Jdg 6:11 Beneath an oak tree. Noticeably in this incident the stranger/Angel terrifies Gideon by declaring himself to be God rather than just God’s messenger which, since God is declared invisible, Gideon does not expect to see – for no one shall see “God” and live (Ex: 33:20).
[14] It is not to deny the “sonship” of Christ to suggest it is possible to overdo the title beyond original Christian usage as it is only one of several titles describing the kind of nature emanated (proceeding from) God; and like God, the Son is still somewhat hidden even when revealed.

BLASTED

A DIVINE REJECTION

 When hungry you approached a fig tree in full leaf
Though it was not, you knew, the season for its fruit,
You cursed it, so your chief disciple thought,
Declaring none might eat from it again.[1]
In this the generations since perceived a wrath
If real, too hard, too veiled to understand.

It was even so a Messiah’s truth, bitter
As had been sweet the fruit of the same tree
To the taste of Eden’s gardener, Eve, despite the lie,[2]
While you, much like a worker in the fields,
From hunger sought and did not find the still
Green tsak, the pre-fruit plucked by peasantry.[3]

Lost Eden’s substitute was Temple ground [4]
And from the barren fig tree you went there
To drive corrupted worship from the scene.
This you willed should never thrive again;
The temple was reserved for doom just as
Within a day the tree would wither to its roots.

What madness fit for Pharisees caused you
Oh Calvin, Luther and too many more
To teach that by the cursing of a tree
Sometimes the symbol of a chosen race
A people was as good as banned from
Further life, from rights and prophecy.[5]

The Temple’s prayers gave no more fruit;
They were the rejects of a spiritual field
Not supporting and remote from life. Ripeness
Is all in either thought or deed and such
The Lord of life, life’s gardener, beholds
In persons and the Mossiach who’s his vine. [6]

All live through God, there was scarce curse to say
More like a natural process to confirm.
Life’s Lord dwells in and forms from sacred fire
And what refuses growth and bloom resolves
To primal fire without the other elements
Held and beheld in the mirror of his messenger,

A messiah who only speaks and sees what
First it is his Parent does. [7] And has not that
Same Parent willed that people of the sacred tree
Return revived? But should again the Temple rise,
Then many soon will mourn a day of
Sacrilege that desolates all life on earth [8].

NOTES

[1] The cursing of the fig tree see Mk 11: 12-13,20 and Matt 21: 18-20. It is Peter who in the Markan version (which implies a withering overnight as opposed to Matthew’s “at once”), describes Jesus’ words as a “curse” on the tree. The contradiction between accounts as regards time is probably the difference between observation of an immediate withering of the leaves and Mark’s next day withering “to the roots” that all disciples observe.
[2] It can be assumed as have many and Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, that the forbidden tree was the fig – once having “knowledge” it is with fig leaves that the Edenic pair try to clothe themselves.
[3] It is a common error to assume Jesus “cursed” a tree for not bearing fruit it could not have borne. The tree could have given at least edible tsak by Passover time.
[4] The Temple’s design and rituals reinstitutes Eden’s intimacy with God. The equivalence is particularly stressed today in the Temple theology of Margaret Barker and see my Temple Mysteries and Spiritual Efficiency (http://amzn.to/Xz9L7X).
[5] To the extent the fig tree sometimes symbolizes Israel, Jesus quite expects a national restoration not evident in his day, and even associates apocalyptic times with it as in the parable of the budding fig tree Luk 21: 29-32. Hence “cursing” the fig tree cannot be the cursing of all Israel; it must indicate something else even if within the life of Israel.
[6] Mossiach is Messiah. The poem’s theme links to Joh 15: “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener” which precedes the warning, “Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are thrown into the fire…” this being the “natural process” of the next verse.
[7] Joh 5:19 the Son does “only what he sees the Father doing….”
[8] i.e. the “desolating sacrilege” of Matt 24: 15. Even if as per prophecies a temple is rebuilt in good faith, it would be overtaken by a repeat of the sacrilege of Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BC, the future Antichrist being one who appropriates the temple for his own worship.

 

 

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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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