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Making America Vulnerable Again (R Con 8)

July 25, 2016

It’s nighttime in a garden. The disciples have finally fallen asleep, so Jesus has a moment of peacefulness in which to gather himself. He’s troubled, because he knows he’s in trouble. This could be the time. He kneels to pray, because he’s not entirely clear on what his father wants for this moment. He holds up a chalice, a symbol of his mother, a simple cup, and says softly, “I know that I’m about to be betrayed. I know it. If I’m supposed to go on preaching and trying to avoid death, take this cup before I take a sip.” He knows, that’s not going to happen. Then (his body both tightening and beginning to relax) he thinks to himself: “This is it, Hombre.” And after another moment, to his father, “Quand même, not my will, but thine be done.” And after that he’s mostly quite at peace, right to the end.

Anyway that’s how I imagine it (with my Protestant, but nonPuritan, background, I don’t have to be told how to imagine—the archetypes will guide me, “the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination”).

I take it that that story—with its image of a man in agony, finding peace—has become one of the West’s great stories of Acceptance, and of vulnerability. Jesus has let it go. He has accepted a higher calling of life.

Drumpf, too, has let go of his will and his consuming identity as a man of business, to answer his Party’s calling to a higher purpose, a higher service, in a nonprofit organization.

Does anybody believe that?

Well yes, including some of my friends. I think they are vulnerable to Drumpf’s stories and images, of himself and America, in part because of the model of vulnerability, self-sacrifice, transcendence, and transformation that Jesus embodied. Archetypes do happen. Who knew, at the time, that his grave would be found empty? Who knows, . . ?

Now my friends are in trouble; they want to believe they do not need to go on dying. Life can be turned around. Deep in a nighttime garden, the unconscious clarifies what it wants, and calls forth its image. But Drumpf steps in and buys it. We review the story. Ah yes, a betrayal.

The day arrived for celebration of the freeing of God’s people from bondage, long ago. But now the people were oppressed again, by foreigners. Jesus joined his followers at a friend’s house, for supper together. He knew it would be the last. Friends were drinking and there was a lot of talk around the table, about how good it was to be together, and what should be the next thing to do. It was a tense time. Jesus said, “One of you is going to betray me;” but when they realized what he had said, there was a “no, no, no” around the table. “Not one of us.” But the conversation took a more somber tone; and Jesus said, “Yes, my friends, one of you who has eaten from the same bowl (a symbol of his mother) as I have, will wish that he had not been born.” People drank and went back to talking among themselves, but not loudly, and there was less laughter. Then Jesus took a piece of the festival bread (a symbol of his mother) and said, “Friends, have some bread with me, and as you bite it off and chew it, think about how important small things are, and the cycles of the physical world that are not bought or sold. Think of the human body, that must not be torn.” People looked at each other as they chewed. Then Jesus lifted a cup (a symbol of his mother), and when everybody was quiet, and looking in his direction, he proposed a toast: “To the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of Imagination.” There was nervous laughter as they drank. “In the future,” he said, “when you drink wine, think of me, and vow that you will never shed a person’s blood.” And as they drank he said, “I have to tell you, I won’t be drinking wine again, until we can all drink together in the freedom of the soul.”

My friends are in bondage now, their imaginations blocked by scribes and pharisees, and twisted by false prophets. Soul weeps for them as they wonder who might lead them to freedom in the land that was promised to them. The archetypal talks among them, looking them in the eyes, listening to their stories, sharing their fears and hopes, soothing their anger with ancient healing patterns, reminding them of a larger, soulful life together.

But Drumpf enters their consciousness and tells them how to imagine their frustrations, taking their voices.

And if that isn’t bad enough, some of my friends are ignorant, illogical, insular, petty, and mean-spirited. But don’t try to tell them that. They just have to be outvoted.  And I say that with affection.

[A page or two about image and archetype;  a page about soul.  John Keats, letter to Benjamin Bailey (the best part is in the middle).]

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