Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finding the Messiah

There is a story about a run-down monastery that was run by a group of Monks.  One day, a mysterious stranger showed up at the door.  The Monks noticed something different about him, but they kept silent and showed the stranger his room.  The next morning during breakfast, the stranger told the Monks that he had a dream, and in that dream, it was revealed that one of the Monks was the Messiah.  The Monks were astonished and couldn’t believe it!  They excitedly asked the stranger who it might be.  The stranger told them that he could not reveal who it was and that they would have to discover who it was themselves.  After giving them this information, he went on his way.

For the following weeks and months, the Monks were cautious with each other and looked deeper into each other’s eyes.  They treated each other as if the other just might be the Messiah.  Over time, something miraculous began to occur.  For the first time in many years, the monastery began to be filled with joy and appreciation.  Their prayers, meals, and conversations became more lively and delightful.  Whenever people visited the monastery, they felt uplifted and the number of visitors increased.  Soon, the monastery came back to life and the many visitors found refreshment for their souls.  As time went on, they never did find out who was the Messiah the stranger spoke of.  But it didn’t matter as they had all become the Messiah.

I fell in love with this story the moment I read it.  If we would treat each other as if each of us were the Messiah, we would literally change the world.  We would treat each other more kindly and with respect.  We would know that we are not only our brother’s keepers; we are our brother.  Jesus said it so eloquently when he said,  “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.  …Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me.”  (Matthew 35-40)

Jesus loved all people unconditionally.  He didn’t pick and choose who He would love based on appearances.  He saw “the Christ” in everyone.  “Christ” was not Jesus’ last name.  The word Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, which means, “the anointed” (or Messiah in Hebrew).  Some faiths talk about seeing “the Christ” within each other.  “Christ” is an aspect of God and is the real you, your Christ self, the Spirit within.   1 Cor 3:16 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”

There have been many great spiritual teachers throughout history, but probably none has had the impact than has Jesus.  Some believe He is the Son of God; some believe He was just a very wise teacher.  We can argue with each other on whose beliefs are right and wrong, but doing so takes away from the very Truth that Jesus taught. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of the past that we ignore the very reason Jesus came to earth.  He was the supreme example of pure unconditional perfect love, compassion, joy, happiness, and forgiveness, and He knew who He was.  These are the lessons He taught and these are the lessons He wanted us to live by.  To know our magnificence, that we are all connected, and that what He could do and be, we could also do and be.   John 14:12 states, “He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and the greater works than these will he do.” 

We are currently experiencing very challenging times in the world.  Rather than focusing on our differences and the negative rhetoric we’re hearing, let’s focus on obeying one of the most, if not the most, important commandments Jesus gave us:  “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  (John 13:34-35)

Can you see “The Christ” in others? More importantly, can you see “The Christ” in you?

Published in the “Our Journey” Spring 2011 Magazine, Cookeville, TN

(Please note:  When I write, I usually include teachings of others such as Buddha, etc., but this was for a Christian magazine in the Bible Belt, so I had to adapt my teaching to my audience.  Therefore, please do not take offense if your religion or belief system is not addressed here..  You can change the word Jesus to Buddha, or for whatever you believe.  "Messiah" means "Anointed," so it does not necessarily mean it is for Jesus exclusively.)

1 comment:

Rev. Mark L. Stidham said...

Awesome story. To look beyond each other's facade and se the Christ in everyone, challenging, but necessary.