“For perfect effectiveness the Atonement belongs at the center of the inner altar, where it undoes the separation and restores the wholeness of the mind. (T-2.II.2)”
Atonement is what we need, more than anything. All of us recognize this, however dimly, though sometimes we have trouble wrapping our minds around what Atonement really means. This developing problem is due, in large part, to the fact that our traditional Christianity looks to the crucifixion, first, and only then, later, to the resurrection. The crucifixion is seen as a shedding of blood that God required of a perfect Son in order to remove the taint of sin from all of us.
This interpretation, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, is not accurate, and, so, if we believe the Jesus who channeled ACIM, we will see that Jesus looks to his resurrection as the defining moment in Atonement. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love does Jesus say that the resurrection didn’t happen. Of course, we may wonder exactly how he could have been resurrected, and Jesus does not stop us from wondering. He lets us decide for ourselves.
But there is great clarity around the idea that the message of the crucifixion was wholly benign, that Jesus presented himself as innocent, and totally defenseless, and he did not attack back in any way whatsoever. In this, he developed the pattern for us not to attack in circumstances that would be far less extreme than his own.
Here, in this quotation, Jesus is noting that the inner altar has become defiled, not from sin, but from mistakes that are wholly correctable. And God would have us look to the true innocence of our inner altar. This inner altar is in the same place, we may presume, as the inner Self. And this inner Self is our Christ Self, which we wish to keep as pure as it has always been. We do not want our inner altars to remain defiled.
We want the separation healed. And looking to the inner altar as a place of purity will be a healing thought. Then our minds are healed, and we rejoin the great crusade to bring others to God. Our minds are no longer split between the ego and love. They are just consumed by Love, which is God. We are a part of God, always, and now we are in communication with him, with open channels, once again. God does not need to think that His channels to us are closed. The separation has been healed, along with our minds.
2 thoughts on “Heal the Inner Altar”
Resurrection and The Atonement
Since the beginning of critical biblical scholarship, many have sought to find meaning in the telling of the resurrection of Jesus, a meaning that goes beyond the literalism of Christian orthodoxy. Students of ACIM have sought to explain the resurrection by interpreting it as part of The Atonement.
I believe, as do many, that the resurrection is not historical but is a part of an evolving Christian mythology, a mythology needed to explain how it was possible for Jesus to have been executed as a common criminal. Out of this the orthodox concept of atonement arose, best defined as “the reconciliation between God and man through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.” This is the core of present day Christian salvation theology.
To be correctly understood, any perceived link between the Atonement and the resurrection must be undone. The Atonement as taught by Jesus in ACIM is both a process and a principle. It is the principle that the sons and daughters of God can never be separate from God. It is the process by which our erroneous thinking about such a false separation can be undone. The primary tool in this process of Atonement is that of forgiveness.
I have written my definition of the Atonement in the front cover of my original copy of ACIM. It reads, “The Atonement is the correction of our erroneous perception and our reawakening to Eternal Truth.” I make no attempt to link it to the Christian mythological story of Jesus’ resurrection.