Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Supper's Ready? Or, A Day Passed Over

Can't you feel our souls ignite?
Shedding ever changing colours
In the darkness of the fading night
Like the river joins the ocean
As the germ in a seed grows
We have finally been freed to get back home

There's an angel standing in the sun
And he's crying with a loud voice:
This is the supper of the mighty one
Lord of Lords
King of Kings
Has returned to lead his children home
To take them to the new Jerusalem
-Genesis, "Supper's Ready"
I have had this 23-minute epic song stuck in my head for the last two weeks, like a massive prog-rock earworm. So when the news came about the Last Supper being dated wrong, I found it more than apropos.

First of all, WHO CARES? A date 2000 years ago may have been wrong. Well, darn it, one day in 2000 years ain't a bad handicap, really. Especially considering the number of times that calendar has changed. Yet people do care, and those people won't like what I'm about to say.

The reason people care about this is, at some point after the stories were written, there were some who thought that the allegorical stories were literally true, even though they were obvious rewrites of other allegories, particularly those of Joshua from Exodus and the Persian Godman Mithras. Later, the government adopted the literal view, and volumes were written to support it, including out and out forgeries set amidst the rest of the stories, in order to fill in the gaps. After that, there was no hope left for the allegory. Wars based on the belief in the literal, historical "truth" of these allegories have ravaged the world for the last 15 centuries.

This isn't about debunking the myth. In fact, the very word "myth" has been perverted, in the interest of literalist dogma. Myth used to be powerful; it was poetry, with layers of truth laid one upon another. Now the word is synonymous with "falsehood." This is unfortunate, because there is nothing false about the myths in the Bible, except for historicity.

The Myths of the Ancient World were guideposts to the Ultimate Truth--that God is within each and every one of us--and through them, we can Awaken to that Truth Within. Taken literally, the mystical nature of this Truth is all but lost.

Awakening involves broadening the mind. Whether the stories of a man dying and returning to life are literally true or not (regardless of when they were written--in the case of Mithras, 200 years before Christ, and including many of the same events and motifs as the Jesus stories) there is no denying the stories' emotional and spiritual benefits. Millions of people have been inspired, with or without the significant allegorical symbolism.

...I guess my point is, instead of arguing over whether it's literally true, we ought to focus on how each of us connects to the stories in our own lives and hearts. The rest is just details.

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