A Course of Love · ACOL

Gift-Giving in Jesus’s Story

“The gift of redemption was the gift of an end to pain and suffering and a beginning of resurrection and new life. It was a gift meant to empty the world of the ego-self and to allow the personal self to live on as the one true Self, the one true son of God. The gift of redemption was given once and for all. It is the gift of restoration to original purpose. Without there having been an original purpose worthy of God’s son, the crucifixion would have ended life in form and returned the sons of man to the formless. Instead, the sons of man were freed to pursue their original purpose.” (ACOL, T3:5.7)

The gift of redemption is seen to be the resurrection—not the crucifixion. Nowhere does Jesus fully explain what happened in the resurrection, but he does affirm its validity. He does say that he resurrected in another form, and so we can speculate that he means his ethereal body, not his physical. But he is not very specific, and he leaves our interpretations to ourselves. I personally believe that he doesn’t want to disturb our faith, whatever it might be. And, as he suggested in A Course in Miracles, he doesn’t want to be controversial. In ACIM, for example, Jesus recommended that students/teachers of ACIM not take a stand on reincarnation, because this is just controversial and will hinder our effectiveness among others who have dissimilar ideas. The ego will be enough for us to deal with.

The crucifixion is not ignored in A Course of Love, though. He calls it not sacrifice, but evidence of gift-giving. The Father gave his only son to save the world. Jesus does not deviate from this (said here in simpler words). Giving an only son, in Jesus’s day, would have been a gift of great importance, because inheritance was such an important idea in Jesus’s time. The death of an only son would therefore have disrupted the natural inheritance from the earthly father that would have been expected. Jesus does not, however, want us to get lost in ideas about the crucifixion. He said in ACIM not to make the error of “clinging to the rugged cross.” And we do just that when we focus on the sacrifice and not the gift-giving, the gift-giving that is redemption.

There is an intriguing sentence in the quotation for today: “Without there having been an original purpose worthy of God’s son, the crucifixion would have ended life in form and returned the sons of man to the formless.” What does Jesus mean by that? How would this other-worldly incident have happened? He does not say, leaving us to dwell on his words without knowing the context. One context is clear, though: Our purpose in assuming form, physical bodies, was to express ourselves in a new and different way. Our purpose was never separation as such. But when we became impatient, like adolescents we forged ahead, and we made an ego that could only separate from our God.

So we are left with the gift-giving aspect of the crucifixion, and the encouragement to look to the resurrection more so than the crucifixion. Many strands of thought are held within the quotation for today, encouraging us to study it carefully.

We will not be sorry that we did study carefully.

Prayer

I look for gift-giving in the story of redemption, and it sheds a new light on an old story. It allows my mind to wrap around something better than the image of a beloved man crucified. It allows my heart to thank You for your gift-giving, a story that Jesus engineered and one that the world has come to love.

Be with me for a day fresh with optimism. May I follow lightly in the pathway that Jesus pointed out. May my gifts be given, as Yours are, with the spirit of compassion and true love. May I learn, from You, what gift-giving is all about.

This day I seek what only You can give: an oasis of peace and calm in a troubled world. May I do and say that which will lighten the burdens of those of us who occupy space in this world.

Amen.

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