Learn more about “Jesus and the Birth of a New World”
About this Reflections Parallel Series
Jesus has had terrible press. The horror of the sexual scandals in the Catholic church (and the church’s slow response to it), the scandal of the politicization of fundamentalism, the pervading ignorance among most seekers of the subversive glory of the Christian mystical tradition, the painful personal experience of hundreds of thousands of men and women at the hands of patriarchal churches: These are just a few of the reasons why so many spiritually awake people recoil from the name of Jesus. For them Jesus and the often-disastrous history and practices of the religion and churches created in his honor are synonymous. While such a reaction is understandable, it is a tragedy; the glorious and powerful message of the real Jesus is prevented from reaching us at the very moment when we need its hope and galvanizing joy the most, when its all-inclusive invitation to all of us to live a sacred life of service to all beings could provide one essential key to human survival.
It is time to come to know the real Jesus, the pioneer, inspired by the universal cosmic force of love and wisdom of a new humanity and the great tender revolutionary of love in action. What modern scholarship and the discovery in the 1940s and 1950s of long-obscured “gnostic gospels” has revealed is that Jesus never wanted to found a religion, let alone one that vaunted the exclusive possession of the truth, and he never aimed to create churches in his name, let alone ones that betrayed his egalitarian all-embracing vision in homophobic, misogynistic hierarchies, dedicated to the love of power and not the power of love.
Jesus’s mission was to forge a path for all human beings, a path of direct connection with an all-loving God that would increasingly divinize them, revealing to them who they really were and making them joyful, compassionate agents of transformative love in action. He did not come to preach a way to another worldly heaven; he came to show us how to transform ourselves in mind, heart, soul and body so as to live here on earth and in a time that he called “the life of the kingdom”, and so become powerful and wise enough to transform earth life into what he knew it was destined to be—a living mirror of the compassion and justice of the Divine.
Jesus lived a life in radical unity with the cosmic force of divine love and wisdom and shows us unforgettably how to do the same. He shows us the compassion for all beings this breeds, the holy joy it engenders, the sometimes miraculous powers this gives us all access to, if we are willing to surrender to and discover our divine identity and put our faith in a God that loves us magnificently and unconditionally. And he did so not to be worshipped as a unique son of God, but to demonstrate and share with us the power of the direct relationship with God that could birth us all into what St. Paul wonderfully called, “the glorious liberty of the children of God”.
The tragedy at the heart of Christianity is that this vision was lost, betrayed and perverted in ways that have profoundly damaged the history of the world and blocked the real astounding good news his whole life was dedicated to giving us from reaching and empowering us. By worshipping Jesus as a unique “son of God” instead of celebrating him as a revealer of our own divine human potential to ourselves, Christianity separated him from us and obscured the sun of the truths he lived to inspire and ennoble us with.
As Jung wrote, “the Jesus ideal has been turned by superficial and formalistically-minded believers into an external object of worship and it is precisely the veneration of the object that prevents it from reaching down into the depths of the soul and transforming it into a wholeness in keeping with the ideal. Accordingly the divine mediator stands outside as an image, while man remains fragmentary and untouched in the deepest part of him.”
Jesus and The Kingdom
Jesus’s vision of what he called “the kingdom” is the sun that irradiates his life and teaching. For Jesus the kingdom was the revelation of the inherent divinity of all beings and of the creation itself. Drawing on Jesus’s parables and sayings of the gospel of Thomas, discovered in 1958, I will show how coming into direct connection with this radiant vision transforms your knowledge of who you are, of the universe, of what you are invited to do, and of what earth life can be.
- Jesus’s vision of the kingdom, revealed and expanded through the latest scholarship and the gospel of Thomas.
- The revelation in the parable of the prodigal son of Jesus’s vision of a passionate loving God, utterly different from the remote and judgmental “Jehovah” of the Old Testament.
- The revelation that the gospel of Thomas gives us of a Jesus devoted, not to being adored as the unique son of God, but to revealing to all of us the glory and power of our essential divine identity.
- Jesus’s vision of how living and putting into action “kingdom consciousness” can revolutionize all conditions of earthly life.
- A mystical practice of the Aramaic mantra, maranatha—almost certainly practiced by Jesus himself and revealed to his disciples—that enables us to access kingdom consciousness.
Jesus’s Universal Message
Concentrating on the beatitudes and the sublime vision of love in action in Matthew 25, I will unveil Jesus’s message of the humble, compassionate life of service in honor of justice and compassion that Jesus himself lived so bravely and that he knew was the way for all of us into embodied divine life.
- An expansion of the meaning of each of the beatitudes through looking at the Aramaic in which they were originally spoken.
- An unveiling of the centrality to Jesus’s message of living radical compassion in action, revealed in Matthew 25.
- A revelation of Jesus’s vision of “enlightenment” not as a static state but as a continuing dynamic evolution.
- A vision of Jesus’s being and teaching as a holy and balanced marriage of the divine masculine and divine feminine.
- A mystical practice of the “Jesus prayer” that from the early 5th century has been used by Christian mystics to initiate them through grace into the cosmic love force.
The marriage of the wisdom of the serpent and the innocence of the dove
When Jesus prepared to send his disciples into the world, he warned he was sending them as “sheep among wolves”. From his own experience, he knew that spreading his message demanded both the deepest realism about human nature, the highest vision and the most exalted vision of human possibility. This is why he instructed his disciples to marry in themselves the “wisdom of the serpent”—the clearest illusion-less view of evil and the shadow—and the “innocence of the dove”—the fullest imaginable and most radiant vision of the Divine. In this class I will explore in detail what Jesus meant by this and show how essential this teaching is, as we attempt to rise to the challenges of our time.
- An expansion of what Jesus meant by the wisdom of the serpent, to reveal the treasures of wisdom hidden in the shadow.
- An expansion of what Jesus meant by the innocence of the dove, that will be illumined by biblical references and the evolutionary vision of Teilhard de Chardin and Bede Griffiths.
- A vision of God as what Nicholas of Cusa called “the coincidence of opposites” and of our awakening divine consciousness as the force can marry the opposites and birth us into embodied divinity.
- A vision of Christ consciousness as helping us to unite divine ferocity with divine compassion—the piercing strength of the divine masculine with the visionary tenderness of the divine feminine.
- The practice of the St. Francis prayer that helps us remember and embody our essential Love nature.
Transfiguration and Resurrection
The great secret at the heart of Jesus’s message is that humanity is destined to be transfigured in heart, mind, soul and body and resurrected as Jesus was into embodied divine humanity. This secret has been obscured for centuries but I will unearth its wonder and power, drawing on great Christian evolutionary mystics such as Angelus Silesius and my own teacher, Father Bede Griffiths, who lived it. I will show that the time for being inspired by this secret has come; the global dark night that we are now living in is now the end of humanity but potentially the birth canal of embodied Christ consciousness in all who dare to receive and enact the fullness of what Jesus offered everyone.
- The revelation of Jesus’s transfiguration experience on Mount Tabor for all of us.
- The revelation of Jesus’s resurrection as a cosmic event that’s seeded in all of us the next stage of human evolution into divine embodiment.
- The unpacking of saying 22 in the Gospel of Thomas that makes clear Jesus’s own teaching of the stages we need to undergo to be ourselves transfigured and resurrected.
- The revelation of the true meaning of the Second Coming which is not the return of Jesus, but the potential birthing of Christ consciousness through the ordeal of our global dark night in millions of transformed human beings.
- A practice of the Golden Resurrection Light that is invoked to transfigure mind heart and body.
About Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey is Founder & Director of the Institute for Sacred Activism, an international organization focused on inviting concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired, effective, and practical agents of institutional and systemic change, in order to create peace and sustainability.
Sacred Activism is a transforming force of compassion-in-action that is born of a fusion of deep spiritual knowledge, courage, love, and passion, with wise radical action in the world. The large-scale practice of Sacred Activism can become an essential force for preserving and healing the planet and its inhabitants.