John Baptizing

We can picture him submerging his disciples deep under the Jordan’s currents and holding them under until just the right moment when the soul would truly believe that it was facing death. This must have been a mighty figure indeed, even just from a physical perspective, to have been able to fight against a man in the throes of drowning and to have the strength to hold him under until that final moment when the soul would flee the body; and John remaining vigilant at the threshold between life and death, watching over his disciple’s progress.

John knew at this time that his disciples soul’s would have an encounter with The Christ who was drawing near. This encounter would be a great awakening for the disciple. He would have a powerful experience of fear followed by a burning experience of shame and at last a deeply all-embracing experience of love.

Fear and shame are not popular ideas these days but they are both master teachers of the soul. To be incapable of experiencing them is to suffer the fate the Laodiceans—who are unable to feel either cold or hot. (Rev 3) Not being able to stand consciously in the experience of fear and thus come to the threshold of their spiritual powers; and unable to feel the limits of their capacity for moral action.

It is after we truly burn in the hot experience of shame, touched as we are in such moments by the presence of the divine, that we then long for forgiveness from the ones we have caused some harm. In truth there is not much that another human being can do for us as we awaken in our conscience and to our responsibility in the consequences of our own misdeeds. Those we have caused to suffer find themselves in their own moments of decision enacting deeds which will also have their own consequences, deciding between vengeance or mercy, for example. He says it plainly: “I will give to each one of you what your actions require me to give to you.”  (Rev 2)

We are already forgiven for everything we will ever do. “You who bear and order the life of the world…” This deed of his has already taken place. No one will be compelled by him to act in this or that way or in any way. We are left free to imagine and create. If any of us can actually forgive then we are on the way in following the path he blazes before us. Forgiving is a lofty moral act that has nothing to do with the past but is already a conscious embrace of the betrayals, transgressions, and evil actions that are yet to come in the future. Forgiveness when it is applied to the past refers to understanding, which in itself is a deeply significant moral deed. True forgiveness is understanding that projects itself into the future and understands—even now—all the misdeeds that will inevitably come. Actions will always have their consequences and the Ascended One who dwells with the Father administers these giving to each one of us what our actions require from him. This is a bestowing of His blessing. For He sees us truly.

Hugh Thornton