Jesus the Christ is Born So That ...
Sunday lesson given at Unity Center of Christianity in Baltimore, December 1, 2019.
Hi Friends —
Have you ever read in the Bible or heard from the pulpit the following phrase: “Now all this is come to pass, that it might be fulfilled...”? If so, your suspicions most likely got raised up and you likely interpreted the phrase as the writer saying “this just goes to show that ...” In other words the writer seems to be making an argument of some sort, and the argument he seems to be making is that something is true because it was predicted long before whatever has come to pass actually occurred.
That’s bad logic. And, unfortunately this particular phrase comes from The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 1, in the passage The Birth of Jesus the Christ. What has “come to pass” is that Mary has become pregnant. What “might be fulfilled” is a prophecy that her pregnancy is a miraculous conception, that the father of her child is the Holy Spirit and that the son which she shall deliver will “save his people from their sins.” All too often we have heard this come from the books and lessons of mainstream Christianity.
I don’t believe that is at all what Matthew is trying to say. What’s more, I don’t believe that it is what Metaphysical Christianity has to say either.
Matthew was writing to people who had no resistance to the idea that godlike leaders, such as Caesar, or Christ, were the union of male gods and female humans. Matthew wrote at a time of pre-scientific understanding. Matthew isn’t trying to defend an argument. Rather he is trying to present an interpretation. His science may be questionable, but he isn't talking about science.
Similarly, Metaphysical Christians, who, like Matthew, look beyond a physical understanding of events, have no difficulty with the notion that we, as godlike creatures, are expressions of God. For example, not every one who says "Our Father" is making a claim that may be questioned thousands of years from now by people in ways we do not intend, nor are they making a claim that may be questioned by thought police of the present day.
To explain further, let me bring back something I shared last April 28 in a a post entitled “I'm here so that.“
When we make a declaration that starts with “This has happened ...” we can continue the declaration two ways. One way is to say “This has has happened because ...” When we do this we are declaring the cause of what has happened. In our example, Matthew could have written that Mary has become pregnant because the Holy Spirit has impregnated her.
But there is another way to continue a declaration that starts with “This has happened ...” The other way is to say “This has happened so that ...” When we continue with “so that” we are not declaring a cause but rather an opportunity that has opened up because of what has happened. I believe that Matthew is doing exactly that. In our example, Matthew has written that Mary has become pregnant by the Holy Spirit so that she will bring forth a son whom we shall call Immanuel, “God with us.”
Similarly, Metaphysical Christians declare that we are all products of a virgin birth when our mind awakens to the divine presence within, known in biblical literature as Immanuel. “This is come to pass because ...” describes the arrival of a divine idea. But “this is come to pass so that ...” is authentic metaphysical language. It is metaphysical because it looks to the sending forth into expression of a divine idea.
I bring this up because it illustrates how Metaphysical Christians think and speak. We have many inexplicable events in our life, some desired, some resisted. There is nothing wrong with approaching an undesired event or circumstance with a scientific perspective which leads us to understand the cause and to find a solution.
But, for Metaphysical Christians, there are times, there are people and there are circumstances that need not be understood scientifically. Christmas is one such time. I make no scientific claim about the Christmas stories because the science of Christmas does not concern me. But the metaphysical claim of Christmas affects me in profound ways.
Further, I have learned that the heart cannot accept what the mind rejects. That is to say if we allow a critical mind to massacre a nascent thought that there just may be a divine Christ in us then we will never reach a spiritual understanding of our full spiritual nature. We cannot serve God and mammon, with our money, nor with our thoughts.
Here's an example. The Fillmore Study Bible annotation for Mary is as follows: “Metaphysically interpreted within the soul, Mary, the Virgin mother, represents a pure state of mind that ponders spiritual things in her heart and believes in revelations from angels and messengers from God.” In Luke, chapter 1, we have Mary’s Song of Praise, where she sings “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” That is her way of saying “this is come to pass so that ...”
I hope this has been helpful to you. This is the first Sunday of Advent (2019) and what I have to offer are annotated versions of the four chapters where we find the Christmas stories: (Matthew 1 and Matthew 2, Luke 1 and Luke 2). I hope you take the opportunity to print out each chapter and set aside some devotional time to assimilate the stories they offer. If you don’t have time, then here is the passage we’ve been talking about. Take some time to read it with metaphysical eyes.
The Birth of Jesus the Christ1
1:18Now the birth of Jesus Christ2 was on this wise:3 When his mother Mary4 had been betrothed to Joseph5, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit6. 1:19And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 1:20But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord7 appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David8, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 1:21And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. 1:22Now all this is come to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,
1:23Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
which is, being interpreted, God with us. 1:24And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took unto him his wife; 1:25and knew her not till she had brought forth a son: and he called his name JESUS.
- Cf. Luke 1:26-38
- Jesus Christ. The Christ is the perfect-idea man, whom God created, the real self of all men. Jesus Christ is the Christ self brought into perfect expression and manifestation. Christ is the Savior of mankind, the free, divine gift of God to us.
- was on this wise. Everything first takes place in the mind. In truth it is in mind where real demonstrations find their impetus. Joseph and Mary’s betrothal was to them such a sacred and holy thing that it stirred into activity the most spiritual forces of their souls, which forces perhaps had never been set into expression before, and their spiritual union was consummated. There followed such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit (which is God’s Word in action) that Mary, through Joseph, was over-shadowed by this heavenly power, and though she did not “know man” in a physical way, the initial germ seed was thereby projected, and she conceived and brought forth the child, Jesus.
- Mary. Metaphysically interpreted within the soul, Mary, the Virgin mother, represents a pure state of mind that ponders spiritual things in her heart and believes in revelations from angels and messengers from God. Her imagination is so intense that she vitalizes the ultra-microscopic germs of life and they multiply in her body without external contact.
- Joseph. Mary represents the soul; Joseph, intuitive wisdom. Joseph, “being a righteous man,” wished to do what was right without regard to his own interests, and he meditated on the course he should take. In meditation the mind is stilled and becomes receptive to the true ideas of universal Mind, in which all wisdom and knowledge abides. Joseph received guidance from the Lord in a dream following meditation.
- found with child of the Holy Spirit. The virgin birth is the awakening of the mind of man to the conception of the Christ Spirit as the only reality. The miraculous conception by which the Virgin Mary is held to have conceived without original sin. Joseph, not fully understanding the prophecy, “was minded to put her away privily,” meaning that we do not in the first stages of the birth of Christ in us understand the process, and sometimes are moved to put it away from us. Joseph’s soul (the name Joseph meaning “from perfection to perfection”) is so heavily charged with divine life that it cannot express itself intelligently, because no union has yet taken place between it and the understanding, which union—when it is consumated—always equalizes and adjusts.
- an angel of the Lord. An angel is a messenger of the Lord. Metaphysically, our angels are our spiritual perceptive faculties, which ever dwell in the presence of the Father.
- Joseph, thou son of David. Wisdom is the outcome of love deeply and quietly held. We understand those whom we love. “Joseph [wisdom], thou son of David [love].” Together, wisdom and love form the mind of the Christ.
- they shall call his name Immanuel. Immanuel means “God with us,” but the metaphysician sees it as the consciousness that God is with us and that we are one with Him. The name thus means to him, “God within us.”
Sunday, December 1, 2019