At this time of year, the tale of Jesus often comes up at church and on TV. As the traditional story goes, Jesus was a fellow who appeared at some point long ago in human history. In a miracle beyond comprehension, we ourselves have carried on that tradition by appearing just as we do, just as Jesus did. The fact of anything appearing at all is remarkable enough, but then to top it all off, there’s you and me and Jesus!
For all practical purposes (which in themselves don’t really amount to anything practical, but no matter), the story of how Jesus poured into time and space seems to have created an astonishing ripple on the planetary pond of consensus consciousness. In the ensuing confusion over that ripple, untold millions of folks have splashed around and literally killed each other in the pond, but the pond just absorbs them, perhaps turning a little red now and then when the blood festivities reach a fever pitch.
Maybe that’s why marketers would rather have us focus on smiley hopping bunnies and chocolate eggs at Easter, sweeping aside the gory crucifixion details in favor of the cleaned-up resurrection sequel, replete with a sunny day ascension into glory.
Regardless, Jesus is reported to have strolled around on that pond and said “Love one and other.” Excellent advice, but when we look around at the world since then, we might be tempted to wonder, “Where is the love?”
Moreover, where do the ripples go? Maybe that’s what our marvelous human history is — a rippling on a pond, ending in stillness. Stillness is fine, it’s calm and serene, and many brave souls are asleep in the deep. On the other hand, is the pond even really there, or is it more like a dreamy figment of our imagination, perhaps like our special personal version of Jesus?
When we dream, sometimes it might seem as if we are drowning, but when we wake up, we’re not even wet. We were just walking on water, like Jesus. Sometimes the pond is dark, though what appears in the dark can be a kind of light.
My hand is reaching up from that pond, waving a palm frond of light. When I lose myself in the source of that light, it will seem as if I was never there, as if Jesus was never there. No pond, no ripple, no Jesus, no mind — just a small flash of shine in a black lacquer night.