Sometimes I start the day sad, and sometimes I start the day happy. When I’m sad, it’s hard to wake up: I want to stay in bed and sleep forever. But when I’m happy, I awake at the earliest morning hour: it’s still dark outside—I don’t want to waste a single moment of life—then I coax the sun to rise with my taunts and curses…
Groundlessly, today is a happy day; so here I am, writing to myself on the computer. I have nothing to say, as usual, but maybe I’ll open the books that are on my coffee table, and write down the reflections that they spark…
Here is a passage from the beginning (p. 10) of Elijah Muhammad’s Message to the Blackman in America:
…You are really foolish to be looking to see the return of the Prophet Jesus. It is the same as looking for the return of Abraham, Moses and Muhammad. All of these prophets prophesied the coming of Allah or one with equal power, under many names. You must remember that Jesus could not have been referring to Himself as returning to the people in the last days. He prophesied of another’s coming who was much greater than He…
And here is a passage from the ninth chapter of Saint Mark’s gospel:
…Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus…
The first of the above passages reminded me of that second one from St. Mark, just because of the biblical names that were mentioned. I like the idea of ancient celebrities making encore appearances on Earth. It puts me in a questioning mood…
When I read Elijah Muhammad’s teaching, my initial thought, since I am an atheist, was that I didn’t believe Jesus was going to return to us living folk anyway; so it wasn’t hard to accept Muhammad’s point—and if God sends a greater prophet than Jesus sometime in the future, then great: I’ll be happy to hear what he or she has to say…
If I built a house on a mountain, and Jesus and Abraham and Muhammad actually showed up on my doorstep—like how Mark tells us that Elijah and Moses appeared to Jesus and his friends—how would I know WHO these visitors are? They’d just look like three guys. I have no memory of any of those ancient personages’ physical appearance… so, unless each visitor were to show me a form of I.D., like a valid driver’s license, I would be clueless as to which biblical character he or she is supposed to be impersonating.
I used that last word just to make myself smile, because I have faith that I will read this entry after I publish it. I was thinking of Saint Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 12:13), where he says:
…such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Back in the days when I believed in Christianity and assumed that Jesus would fly back to planet Earth soon, Paul’s words frightened me… I thought to myself: “What if, before Christ returns, the Devil shows up in his angel-of-light disguise, and tricks us all into getting damned with him!”—That was one of my many religious worries.
How would I tell one divinity apart from another—or one angel from another—let alone one resurrected prophet from another? If the being resembles Charlton Heston, I’d wager it’s Moses; but only because of his role in the ’56 film. Are we supposed to recognize the character’s voice, their speech patterns? or are we to discern their identity by noting some telltale doctrine? Are there certain tricks that only the true Devil could perform? How are we to tell Christ from Antichrist? When each appears, they’ll most likely both be judgmental and miraculous.
And how did Peter, James, and John know that it really was Elijah speaking with Jesus on the mountaintop? We the readers accept this only because we trust Saint Mark’s storytelling. But did Mark himself even know? He admits that he wasn’t one of the three disciples present as eyewitnesses—therefore his account is hearsay… Nevertheless, I accept it; in fact, I prefer hearsay to veracity, when it comes to fiction. As Nietzsche always sez: “We possess art lest we perish of the truth.” My main beef with Mark is that he neglects to relay for us the conversation that Moses and Elijah are enjoying with the transfigured Jesus. I desperately want to know what they are discussing…
This reminds me of the way that Saint John ends his gospel:
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
How annoying, then, that the churchmen limited the official bios to just four. Plus I find it odd that the deeds of Jesus should be thought of as filler for books. And couldn’t we assert the same for any living being? For if you take it upon yourself to record every single act that a given person performs during her lifetime, then even the dullest homebody like myself could fill the same amount of tomes. The question is: Would the record be worth reading? The reason John restricts his book to roughly a score of chapters is that he cut all the boring scenes.
I’ll just cite one last thing and then stop, because pretty soon my sweetheart will awaken and come lumbering up the stairs (it’s nearly 7 a.m. as I write this) and she’ll start making coffee and preparing her breakfast, thus causing a racket, which will derail my train of thought and certainly ruin this weblog entry if I continue trying to compose through such chaos and danger.
Below is a passage from Saint Luke’s gospel account—it takes place after Jesus has died. A fellow named Cleopas is walking with his friend and discussing the aftermath of events that eventually led to Saint Paul’s masterpiece: the Religion of Christianity.
While they were talking, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”
What I like about this snippet (Luke 24:15) is that his own believers do not recognize Jesus when he appears to them. I felt that this was pertinent to mention, because a lot of the malarkey that I wrote above is concerned with the notion of whether or not we might recognize somebody from the past (from the pre-photography days, I should emphasize) if he or she were to appear to us while we are accompanying our boyfriend to Emaus (“a village about threescore furlongs from Jerusalem”).
Since I’ve quoted from all of the canonical gospels but Matthew’s, let me just mention one thing from his manifesto (28:13) to relieve our misery. Regarding the messiah’s infamous missing corpse, the elders and chief priests thankfully solve the mystery:
His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.