“It’s all about the love”
Regardless of which canon of scripture one subscribes to – whether it be the Bible alone (with or without apocryphal books), or the Quran alone, or one of the Mormon collections (consisting of The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price, or any of the many variations thereof), or even if your personal canon consists of books outside these more widely accepted collections, such as “A Course in Miracles” or “Urantia” or “The Aquarian Gospel” or “The Ra Materials” or the “Life and Teachings of the Ascended Masters” or any others of the myriad books that may or may not teach us truth – regardless of which canon you choose, scripture is at best a coarse outline of the truth of man’s relationship with God.
Let me re-state that. Scripture is at best a coarse outline of the truth of man’s relationship with God.
I am not disparaging scripture when I say this. These writings – all of them – are invaluable in helping us accomplish our purpose in this life, which is, in my opinion, to “fulfill the measure of our creation”, which itself is shorthand for “to gather into our collective consciousness all the love, joy, peace, and happiness we can”. In other words, our purpose is to joyfully be one with God and with each other. Even the books that include untruth are valuable to us in that they point the way not to go.
I am saying, however, that if we’re not careful with these writings that we consider to be scripture, we can twist them into a vehicle of separation, disunity, even destruction. If we give them weight and significance beyond the truth that they contain, they can be turned to effect just the opposite of their intended purpose.
Consider the Bible. The entire creation story, whether that spans 6000 years or 6 billion years, is depicted in 6 of the 50 chapters of Genesis, followed by another 44 chapters that cover the eras of the flood and the 4 generations of the family of Abraham. That’s a lot of history to cram into that single book of the Bible. There are a lot of gaps to be filled.
Now, let’s take the New Testament – the 4 gospels, to be exact. Of all of Christ’s teachings – of his 15 years of adulthood, we pretty much only have first and second-hand recollections, written decades after the fact, and translated from the spoken language (Aramaic?) to the written language (Greek?) to the Latin, then the German and English, and – you get the point. Then, of the seminal 50 years following Christ’s death, we have one book of history (The Acts of the Apostles) and a couple of dozen “epistles”, the vast majority of which are questionably attributed to one man (Paul) and his “after-the-fact” interpretations of Christ’s teachings. Again – lots of gaps.
Obviously there are a lot of truths that the Bible does not teach us. Truths about history. Truths about God. Truths about Christ. Truths about us. Other scriptural books hardly fare better.
Again, I am not trying to disparage the Bible or any other book, but I am trying to establish some perspective. You see, I think where we get into trouble, where these scriptures become a weapon of separation, disunity, even destruction, is when we start trying to fill in the gaps of this coarse outline.
We do that, you know. We do it a lot. We have to. These scriptures do not contain all truth. That process of “filling in the gaps” has led to the myriad different “sects” and “creeds” which, according to Joseph Smith, are an abomination to God. My personal revelation confirms Joseph’s account that these creeds are an abomination to God.
Some of us fill in the gaps through personal revelation, through personal study, or through personal experience. Others rely upon other people – the purveyors of the creeds – to fill in the gaps for them.
And this is all ok, at least until we start trying to convince others that our version of “filling in the gaps” is somehow superior to theirs. That begins to perpetuate separation – personal, religious, cultural, even political. It gets worse when we begin to withhold our love, or our support, or our social or cultural acceptance of others because their version of filling in the gaps is different from ours. Then things really go south when we begin to kill people because of the disparity between the results of our attempts to fill in the gaps.
Is there any way that all of this is the intent of the creator, or of the son that chose to come to earth, to teach the gospel of inclusion and love (re: The Sermon on the Mount), at the expense of His own mortal life?
I’ve come across people recently who have accused me of being “anti-christ” because the results of my sincere, heart-felt, love-seeking attempts at filling in the gaps are inconsistent with theirs. These people are apparently so entrenched in their dogma that they feel justified in acting as my accuser. I have never met these people. I have never shaken their hand, or given them a hug, or even looked them in the eye. As a matter of fact, my only interactions with them have been on facebook.
But lest you think I’m whining (well maybe a little), let me assure you that I have not lost the perspective that that are still people in this world who kill others whose version of “filling in the gaps” is different from theirs. I guess that leads us to the real point of this post.
If my personal version of “filling in the gaps” were to be summed up in a nice, concise, easy to remember by-word, it would be “It’s all about the love”. That’s what the gaps say to me. When people hear this – and I don’t claim to be the originator of this – I only claim to have arrived at this conclusion independently – they are wont to respond vehemently, “It’s not that simple”.
But I think it is very much that simple, while at the same time not simple at all.
I think the Lord doesn’t really care about how we fill in the gaps. I think we trivialize Him when we think He does. I think He doesn’t really care about how we sin differently, or which ordinances we believe point the way to oneness with Him. I don’t think he cares about which version of the last days drama we subscribe to, especially the “details” that drive a wedge between so many of us. I think he doesn’t really care what “revelation-evolved into doctrine-evolved into religion-evolved into dogma” we choose to follow – as long as we do it with love. And if we don’t do it in love – if we do what we do without love – it becomes at best irrelevant, and at worst it becomes sin.
I think Paul nailed it in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13) when he said:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
I think John nailed it when he said in 1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
I think Joseph Smith nailed it when he recorded his treatise on unrighteous dominion from Liberty jail, including this nugget from the Utah LDS D&C section 121, verse 45:
Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
And I think Christ Himself nailed it when He said:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
I think this is the message of all scripture, even the message, the essence, of our existence – “It’s all about the Love”. I think if we’re not seeing this message in the scripture, then it’s either not scripture, or we’re not reading it right – we’re not filling in the gaps right. I think if we don’t recognize this, then we’re interpreting said scripture through the filters of fear, of culture, of a desire for structure, or power, or control – whether that be control over the elements or over other people.
I think God is love. I think we are love. I think love is the only source of power. I think all else is illusion, the fruit of the proverbial first lie offered in the Garden.
It’s been about 3 years now since my personal dogma came crashing down around me and I found myself asking the Lord, “Then, what is true”. He has not failed to answer me.
It’s been about a year and a half since I told the Lord, “I want to become love – like you are. Will you help me?” He has.
It’s been a couple of months since the following came to me:
The Lord said, “Come unto me” and the journey began.
He said, “Walk with me” and we walked and talked.
He said, “Be with me” and we sat together
He said, “Be me”…
And it’s only been a couple of weeks since I asked the Lord, for the umpteenth time, “Lord, Who are you, Really?!”. He said,
I am the purity that you seek.
I have no need to exist, I simply am.
This purity that He knows I seek is love.
There is no fear in love.
Fear is the source of the “need to exist”, which is not of Christ.
Fear is the source of the need to be right – the need to tell others that “our attempt to “fill in the gaps” is true, and theirs is not – and therefore you are not worthy of my love”.
Fear is the source of our desire/need for justice, judgment, and guilt
Fear is the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil
Fear is the source of all dogma, and the perpetuation of the fall, the separation, the natural man.
Fear is the real enemy to God.
When I speak of love, or say, in whatever manner, “It’s all about the love”, or describe the nature of Christ as being filled with love, with no room for judgment, fear, and guilt, I am not dismissing your particular belief or even dogma, but I am saying that all roads lead to love. Any road that does not lead to love is not a road to life, but is a road that leads ultimately to death. Such a road cannot lead to communion or oneness (Zion), but only to separation and disunity.
Love is life, and it binds us all together
– From “Prayer” by Shiloh Rising
So, would you consider that maybe we would all benefit from being willing to look beyond our current understanding of our relationship with God, and search for the love that is essentially the message of all scripture and that is the source of all creation? Would we benefit from learning to recognize the role that fear, and thus not love, plays in our daily thought process? Would we benefit from realizing that judgment, justice, and guilt are simply not part of the Lord’s will; are simply not in His nature? Would the world be a better place if we understood that our attempts to fill in the gaps in scripture are just that – attempts to fill in the gaps – and if we stopped trying to force our results on others?
I think we would all benefit from these ideas, and I am choosing to live my life based upon these principles. It is not easy. The natural man – the fear – is strong, pernicious, and binding. I pray daily for the Lord’s help in walking this path, but it is my path, and I feel like I must walk it. And I do not walk it alone.
But I have no need to force these ideas upon anyone. Doing so, in any way, would constitute a quite perfect hypocrisy. I have no desire to do anything more than to invite people to consider the merit of these ideas for themselves. And, above all, I have no desire to withhold love or acceptance from anyone, or to belittle or browbeat or bully anyone because they don’t agree with me.
The invitation, offered by the Christ Himself as recorded in Matthew 11:28-30, remains:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
What a beautiful invitation – filled with love, light, and life, and without judgment, justice, or guilt.