Someone once said, “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind.”
When Christ went into the desert, He went alone. Yet, there in the desolation of oneness was another. This presence we see brought into being as the Devil himself tempting Jesus with the fruits of worldly power.
So, in the desert all alone, Christ met with His devil. To this devil, Christ would command… “get you behind me”.
Christ did not banish the devil to some nefarious plane. Instead, He commanded the devil to “get behind me”.
It seems, this devil was a part of Christ. This devil is something we might call the Shadow.
Among the many illuminations of Carl Jung is the essentiality of our shadow selves. In the desert, we see Christ shine a light on His own shadow self and bring these temptations into the light of day so that He could confront each one by one.
To deny His shadow self, Christ would have empowered His shadow. The shadow can not be seen in unconscious darkness. He may not have openly worshipped Satan, but His service would at best be divided. As Christ told us, one can not be a good servant for two masters. One will either betray the one while serving the other or betray them both.
When Christ left the desert. His aspiration was to spread the good news. One might say that this is when things got political. This is when things reached a moral climax.
The life of the Spirit begins with the inward moral journey for enlightenment and balance, but is never truly realized until the Spirit is moved to bring the light to all of humankind. One should not hide one’s light under a bushel.
We may look to the life of Christ as an example of the life of service to one’s fellow creature.
After finding the peace within, Christ faced the sun and walked towards civilization where He would make the salvation of humankind His mission. His shadow, His demons, were cast behind Him.
The light can not exist without shadow, nor can the shadow be without light.
Just as there is no courage without vulnerability, the capacity for wrongdoing provides us an opportunity to see ourselves in the most positive light. Without the capacity to do evil, we really can do no good.
God’s Law is only enforced through the moral order of the universe or with what one might call karma. As Christ instructed us, “you reap what you sow”. God’s Law allows for our free choice. Our collective fall is an example of this. Without this freedom, there is no moral choice being made, but only the coercion of a higher power. Without choice, one is really doing neither good nor evil, but simply what one is compelled to do.
Without the capacity to do evil, there can be no good.
The knowledge of this universe seems to rely on a sort of binary symbolism. We rarely know what something actually is except through a kind of negation. In other words, we only seem to gain an inkling of what something is through the realization of what something is not. Possibly, this is because much of what we consider “reality” is actually a manifestation from the Creator God and not the fundamental reality we often ascribe to it. In this way, the true nature of reality becomes elusive as we remain trapped in spacetime. The true vitality of the manifestation is missed, but like a lamp casting shades, for those who see, the material seems to illuminate that which is hidden from our eyes.
Like Christ, we must each shine a light on our own demons. They will otherwise operate in darkness.
After departing the desert, we find Christ with the Baptist in his wilderness at the River Jordan. It was from this confessional point that Christ could truly begin His mission as the dove of peace took flight from His shoulder.
Like the temptations in the desert, this was not a purge of the darkness, but a casting of the darkness into its rightful place.
Christ was led by the Light of God. This is the truth and the good news that Christ spread through ancient Judea.
It is the humility of this master who only takes it upon Himself the role of servant where we can best begin to understand our Savior. As a true servant of God, Christ became a servant to each of us.
In the story of His life, we find a Christ who rubs shoulders with the sinners and those marked as the “unclean”. Christ made it abundantly clear. He did not come for the sake of the righteous and to give succor to the powerful of this world, but He came for the lowly sinner in need of correction and healing…those who were in need of Him, those who were being persecuted, exploited and oppressed by the powerful.
Indeed, we have been told where to find Him upon His return.
The depth of meaning of this is lost to those who today claim the mantel of righteousness. They are the same as they were in Christ’s time. Sitting in their high places looking down upon the unclean masses.
Today, we can see as was seen then, that these same “righteous” are anything but. Indeed, none save the Savior Himself, are free of the shackles of sin. He is the first.
Those that make these claims must make the same supplication they did in ancient times. They must humble themselves before the Lord, go to the lowly places and confess their sinning ways. There is no other path to Christ.
Each of us must bend a knee to ask forgiveness. There are no exceptions.
It is true that the judgment of the Father is always Mercy. God is Love and He is the All Creator. It is from this Love that we can begin to understand that Christ has come to serve and that He is truly the Good Shepard.
Even if Christ were to come to a world of Christian Love and not this Hell lorded over by Satan, He would still not be found with the righteous in paradise. This is not His place. He will be out seeking the lost sheep. He will be in this Hell with the sinners until that last, lost sheep is found and brought to the gates of paradise.
The first shall be last and the last shall be first. This is the Alpha and the Omega or the great unification of all that is. The monism or the oneness whole of God the Holy Father. The good news.
Each of you are a child of God.
The sinners in Christ’s day are really no different than today. They are the most vulnerable. They are the “unclean”, the despised and the outcasts. They are the “Other”. Today we see them as the persecuted and most targeted by the self-proclaimed righteous ones: the homeless and the poor, the stranger and the immigrant, black and brown people, any LGBTQ+, Jews, Muslims, the heterodox and so on and so on.
We can watch the works of the powerful and hear their words. They are the victims, they say. They are the ones being persecuted despite their exalted state of grace. These are the innocent. Those who are at fault are the sinners. They may pick one, more, or even all to point their fingers at, but the fault is in the sinners and not within themselves and their own Shadow being.
Like in ancient times, they are likened to carved marble sarcophagi. Beautiful and ornate on the outside, but corrupt with death inside. Their example is really just hypocrisy, corruption and self-serving enrichment.
Which leads us to further consider, what lessons does all of this provide today’s Christian?
Today, those righteous few incite the many with violence pointing their fingers at the sinning trans, poor, immigrants. Suddenly, out leaps one of the mentally weak with a claw hammer attacking your family in brutal, bloody violence.
Who should we blame?
What responsibility to those leaders who demonize their opponents with violent rhetoric?
What of those who give support to these leaders?
What of you and I?
If, for example, we end up with an LBGTQ+ grandchild and they are attacked. What then?
How should that make us feel?
After all, we have given our support to these leaders and, it must be said, their violent rhetoric. It seems we become complicit in this violence when we lend them our support.
How should we feel about these issues now?
Do we condone a self-destructive social order that relies on vigilantism instead of some semblance of justice?
Do we even seek justice…or is it really just petty revenge?
Whose side are we on?
Are we among the righteous or the sinners? For, if you are to believe the words of Christ, He comes only for the sinners and not for the righteous. The righteous have no need for healing.
…and they know it.
Are you one of them?
How does this make you feel?
Once you have answered that, you might have gotten something out of this essay.
Go with God.
Love and Peace.