Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Garth A. Rattray | Glimpse of my Jesus Christ

Published:Tuesday | May 26, 2020 | 12:08 AM

THERE IS a recent WhatsApp meme depicting a caricature of Jesus Christ rising up into the clouds within a beam of bright light. It reads, ‘Ascension Day … The day Jesus went back to working from home!’ It got me thinking about the various perceptions of Jesus Christ, even among Christians. I used to get into arguments, deep philosophical discussions and debates about religion, but no longer. I see religion as a very special thing that encompasses not just where and how we worship, but especially how we live our daily lives. In other words, it’s very personal.

Many people focus on their place and mode of worship and do not translate the principles of their religion into their lives. In effect, they are only living their beliefs a few hours every week. But religion is meant to shape our every thought and action. I don’t usually advertise my religious belief unless there’s some relevance in doing so. I am also not a fan of congregating to worship; unlike most Christians, I get fulfilment and satisfaction from my quiet moments of meditation and prayer, and from my daily musings and reflections on life and spirituality. In essence, I try to practise my religious and spiritual beliefs every minute of every day.

My views on Jesus Christ, on whose life and teachings Christianity was founded, are not necessarily in keeping with those of other Christians. Subsequently, some people ask me if I am Christian and look at me in quizzical wonderment when I answer in the affirmative. For example, I definitely believe that someone does not have to be a Christian, or indeed a believer in any faith, in order to ‘enter Heaven’ … whatever they think that is.

I know many people, who are of other religions, who know very little about Jesus the Christ, but their lives are perfect examples of what Christ wants us to be – kind, sacrificial, forgiving and loving towards others. I believe that the fact that they grew up in a religion that does not believe in Jesus Christ does not damn their souls to Hell. It seems to me that a lot of Christians entertain an air of exclusivity, as if salvation, eternal happiness, and Heaven is only for Christians. I see that as likely as this planet being the only one inhabited by sentient beings out of all the uncountable other planets in the known and unknown universe. That’s simply incredulous.

LOST IN TRANSLATION

I see Jesus the man as very unique; an individual brought into existence to host the Holy Spirit. The union of the two brought about Jesus the Christ, the powerful manifestation of God on Earth. I do not always take the Bible literally. I believe that some of the meaning and interpretation of the ancient language has been lost in translation. I also believe that some of the writings were in story form in order that it could convey a greater message to everyone reading or hearing it.

I believe that Jesus Christ performed miracles to heal and also to display the power of God. However, my faith is not hinged on miracles, it is hinged on the message. I believe that the sacrifices, difficulties and suffering in Jesus’ life stand as testament to God’s love for every one of us. His message was simple, clear and pure – love God and love one another.

I believe that when Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”, He was referring to the Holy Ghost within Him and the example of His life. I believe that a true understanding and acceptance of His message leads to a true love of God and all His children.

Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.