Some Words About a Word

A couple of years ago I was giving a talk at a non-denominational church that prided itself on being open to all and condemning of none. I thought I fit right in. In my talk I used the term “the Christ on Earth.” I use this term often, and you will see it repeated a number of times in these transmissions, which is where I got it from in the first place. After the talk ended, I was approached by two women. They proceeded to inform me in no uncertain terms that my use of that phrase was highly insulting to them. How dare I bring such division and unsafety to the sacred place of unity that the church was holding. They were quite triggered, and no explanation I could offer for how I, a Jew by birth, had come to be not only comfortable with, but honored to use such a phrase, was satisfying to them. I understood their distress, but I wasn’t willing to change what has become to me a beloved phrase to ease it. But it did call me to make a study.

When I got back home, I called a friend of mine who is the rabbi of the Jewish Renewal synagogue in my town. I told him about the incident, and then asked him, “David, what do you call it?” He replied, “We call it the Divine Essence.”

The Christ is not a particular man. He and others have fully embodied the Christ, which is a universal force beyond form and concept. He became the embodied Christ by surrendering to that force and allowing it to transform and transfigure him. He is not the only one who ever did it, and he is not the only one who can. You and I are doing the same, whatever word we give to that immeasurable love guided by faith that blows through the front of our hearts and forgives everything and everyone, thereby utterly changing our earthly lives and our job within them. The whole point is that the Christ is a force that is available to everyone. It is not the province of one illuminated man or one religion allegedly based on that man’s teachings, or most especially one ideology within one religion. All of that is ridiculous misunderstanding at best. The ascribing of that term, and personifying it in only one legendary figure, is robbery, not truth.

The Christ is a conscious vibration that is at the heart of creation and in the heart of each being within that creation. It is what is pulsing deep in your heart and in mine, and it’s urging to be free of constraint and to manifest through us is what causes much of our present distress. The solution is to invite it to bloom fully and learn to surrender to its presence. That is not easy, and so we have been given examples of doing this in every path. The point is not that they got it and you never will. The point is rather that if they can do it, so can you. Different names and different clothes and different rituals and different myths all speak to the blessed and fascinating variety of human expression. But underneath all that, and the goal of all that, is the direct link-up with the One Force, the Christ, the Divine Essence. Call it what you wish. It is beyond words. But it is universal and real, and every true path describes it and every sincere seeker will eventually find it.

Jonathan Goldman