Authoritative is a word often used in reference to scripture. It implies a superior truth. Paul claimed that his vision of Jesus, his gospel, was superior to and superseded the Torah of Moses, which he viewed as a temporary or even flawed fix of the human condition and our relationship to the divine. Muslims claim that the book – the Koran – received by the prophet Mohammed is a more perfect revelation of the word of Allah. Latter Day Saints claim that the books revealed to Joseph Smith are a more current gospel.
The natural result of any claim to exclusive authority is division and strife. All are required to make clear cut, dualistic, judging statements of acceptance or rejection. The response and action of those who decide in favor of a given authoritative word ranges from benign tolerance, to active proselytization, to violent vengeance and retribution.
Christians in the United States busy themselves with bloodying each other and the society around them with special authoritative words for or against select issues of morality. Islamic fundamentalists feel righteous zeal and justification, based on their authoritative word, in delivering death to the infidel. The West responds with “justified” violence. Latter Day Saints take their authoritative word, two-by-two, from door to door. Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to get by with just one carrier.
I believe – I know in my heart of hearts – that the Authoritative Word is, indeed, one. It’s just not this one or that one. The Authoritative Word is beyond the limitations of language. It is bigger than any single revelation. It is greater than any set of rules or code of ethics. It includes all scriptures. It is none of them. It is read on all pages, but seen only in blindness. It is heard by the ear, but known truly in silence.
In essence, the Authoritative Word is. It manifests in creation and evolution. It is glimpsed in beauty, felt in kindness, spoken in healing and known intimately in the depths of the heart. It does not judge and is not judged. It is not born and never dies. Found in book, in song, in story, it is none of and beyond all of those things.
All our scriptures exist within the limits of our bodily manifestation. They are temporary touches and glimpses of the eternal reality, as are the bodily manifestations inhabited by you and me.
When we claim any manifestation as completely and exclusively authoritative, we stay stuck under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We judge and are judged. We participate in aggression and defense. We find ourselves threatened by the enemy or deluded by a false sense of security.
Be still. Be still and know. See all, hear all, experience all. Judge none. Encounter the Authoritative Word. Be the timeless, Authoritative Word that you are, through and beyond manifestation, under the Tree of Life.
© Two Trees in the Garden. Feel free to quote, as useful, with proper reference.
Jerry Kennell provides spiritual direction in person and by Skype. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good to read this tonight, especially after just having that wonderful check in with you and Leonor. You are both such special people in our hearts.Please continue to do what you are called to do…..if you build it, they will probably come. If you don’t they probably won’t. There’s my words of wisdom for the day!!Much love to you….The other Jerry
Wonderful, strength giving, to be together today. Love, Jerry
Amen! May the prophets be with you.