The Nazarene Way of
We have followed Christ from Bethlehem to Calvary, and through the Resurrection to the episode wherein He disappeared from tangible worldly view and entered the world of subjective values, therein to function as the "Master of all the Masters and the Teacher alike of angels and of men."
We approached the subject of the crises in His life from the angle of their world importance far more than from that of their significance to us as individuals. We have seen that there has been a revolt, and rightly so, from the emphasis laid by past theologians upon the blood sacrifice of Christ; and have arrived at the conclusion that the need of the world today is for the recognition of a living Christ, not a crucified Savior.
We have noted the fact that the uniqueness of His mission consisted in the fact that in "the fullness of time" He came to found the kingdom of God, to bring into being upon earth another kingdom of nature, and so set up the boundary line between that which is objective and illusory and that which is subjective and real.
His coming marked the line of demarcation between the world of forms or symbols and that of values or of meaning. Into the latter world we are entering with great rapidity. Science, religion and philosophy are today occupied with significance, and their investigations are carrying them out of the world of appearances; governments and the allied sciences - politics and economics and sociology - are, in their turn, dealing with ideas and ideals.
Even in the realm of social disorders and wars we see the conflict of differing ideals, and no longer are wars of aggression or for the defense of property. These distinctions between the objective and the subjective, between the tangible and the intangible, the visible and the invisible, Christianity has fostered, because it was these differences which the kingdom of man presented.
Christ came to give life a meaning and a value, just as the Buddha came to make clear to us the false values upon which our modern world is based.
A study of the teachings earlier this week will show that every word and every suffering the Son of God who antedated Christ, did two things:
First of all, He prepared the way of Christ for us, giving out the teaching that His particular age, period and civilization required; and secondly, He enacted in His life the teaching of the Mysteries, which however, before Christ's time, was confined to the very few who were being prepared for initiation, or who could penetrate by right of initiation into the temples of those Mysteries.
When the Buddha came He spoke to the multitude, telling them what was the source of their misery and discontent, and giving them, in the Four Noble Truths, a concise statement of the human situation. He outlined to them the Noble Eightfold Path governing right conduct, and gave in reality the rules which should control one upon the Path of Discipleship.
Then, having Himself achieved Illumination, He entered into the "Secret Place of the Most High," to come forth once a year, so legend tells us, in order to bless the world. That day of blessing (the day of the full moon of May) is preserved in the East as a general holiday, and in the West many also keep as a day of spiritual remembrance.
Then Christ came, and presented to the world and made public in His life and through its critical points, the great processes of initiation which lie ahead for all who keep the rules which His great Brother laid down. He carried the teaching forward to the next step, and made it available to the masses. Thus the continuity of revelation was perpetuated.
The Buddha taught us the rules for disciples in preparation for the Mysteries of initiation, whilst Christ gave us the next stage, and showed us the process of initiation from the moment of the new birth into the kingdom to that of the final resurrection into life. His work was unique in its time and place, for it marked a consummation of the past, and an entrance into something utterly new, as far as humanity as a whole was concerned.
Religious will is in expression now, not turned to theology or dogma or to the formation of doctrines and occupied with their enforcement, but to love and compassion and service, forgetting self, giving the uttermost that is possible for the helping of the world. This will breaks down all barriers and elevates the children of men wherever the will to be so helped is found. It is something that is much needed in the world today, its quality that of universality, and its technique that of loving service.
Sometimes it seems as if the two extremes live on in the consciousness of man - the notorious and ambitious, and the great world servers. Hitherto the sequence has been: service of ourselves, of our family, of those we love, of some leader, some cause, some school of politics or religion.
The time has come when service must expand and express itself on broader and more inclusive lines, and we must learn to serve as Christ served, to love all beings as He loved them and, by the potency of our spiritual vitality and the quality of our service, stimulate all we meet so that they too can serve and love and long to become members of the kingdom.
The call is not for fanatics or for the rabid devotee who, in attempting to express their ego has so marred divinity. The call is for sane and noble men and women who can comprehend the situation, face what must be done, and then give their lives to expressing for the world the qualities of the citizens of the kingdom of Souls: love, compassion, wisdom, silence, non-separativeness and freedom from hatreds and partisan, creedal beliefs.
When this can be seen clearly, and when we are ready to make the needed sacrifices and renunciations, then will there be the manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth.
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