[continued from Part 1]
All who believe themselves to believe in God (and suppose they are correct in their perceptions of and beliefs in God), may believe themselves to also be special; special not meaning 'superior' to others, but special in knowing something quite amazing, regarding the world, regarding God...and what God has done for them.
This speciality should cause humility in a person, not pride.
This speciality is not being puffed up with 'knowledge' (the trap of gnosis), but should beckon gratitude for realizing what God has established on earth and the material construct as it relates to spiritual realities in the heavenly realms.
The cloud of witnesses are always praying in the presence of God for us who are still on earth dealing with the schemes of darkness.
This speciality should bring forth several of the variety of attributes of God has graced upon on us through to others, despite our obvious failings as humans, for such must occur in order to exemplify how great God's grace is...and how dismal we are without such grace!
Notice how Yeshua's words are quoted and manners depicted in the Gospel accounts.
Did Yeshua come across as boastful, proud and arrogant?
Some wayward souls would interpret Christ in such a way, likely according to their upbringing and their current opinions of Christ, but we actually read humility and Yeshua adopting the role of a servant although always having been King and Lord of all.
This should also be the approach one has towards another, and should be their approach in discussing the subject matter of what others believe or perceive to be true as such things relate to themselves.
Notice how in the lesson of the temple tax, Yeshua spoke about taking care not to offend those who presumed to be something they clearly were not.
I don't think it was out of fear this was expressed, but out of respect for God and righteousness, and the fact that what one holds as true is quite special, and such things when honestly expressed to those not knowing God or His depths, such things most likely fall on deaf ears...and will likely cause strife.
So one should be very delicate in how God in Christ (and the church - the believers) is presented to others; the unlearned, the immature, those brothers and sisters having yet to taste the goodness from Above.
I personally still have much to learn in choosing my words and expressions in humility when discussing anything (especially touchy subjects about beliefs, faith, God, etc.) with others, especially things people hold onto as truth and fact aside from what I hold as truth and fact.
It was in absence of love and humility that divisions arose regarding the discussion of Mary and her significance in light of Christ.
How special was Mary?
I think the later development of Mary as “the mother of God” had more to do with men whose linear logic would have them argue a notion that was already explicitly evident in the inspired writings.
Their efforts may have been less about a logical challenge and more about failing to heed a warning already mentioned...about not instigating the minds and hearts of others (taking care not to offend).
Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
- 2 Timothy 2: 14By the 4th century, bishops were more at each other's throats than before, being divided by their words...misunderstanding their expressions of what is ultimately a mystery.
Taking a quick detour, let us think of the discussion of “the sky is blue”.
The sky 'looks' blue to us during the day...but as the day turns to night, we notice the 'blue' disappear as if it wasn't there in the first place.
For reasons scientific words have explained the visual phenomenon, and whether the sky is actually blue (a particular color or hue) or not is besides the point of what is actually seen.
Thus can such discussions about what one person perceives and another does not, or the manner of explaining such ideas, can become a struggle instead of actually agreeing that something unique is evident.
One thing is for sure; only the sun (and occasionally the moon) can be seen during the day, and the sun being the nearest star, is the only star visible during the day....while the rest appear in the sun's absence and after the blue dissipates.
Returning to Mary, the hearts and minds of others was less of a consideration than the effort to leave no stone unturned in forwarding their faith in Christ as more than merely a man...which again was quite explicit in the inspired writings, but men do interpret things according to their heart's landscape.
If this was how men of the same fold would act with one another, whom they are to see in themselves and be united as one, how about those outside the fold?
So when philosophical terms were used in an attempt to explain what is messaged in the Gospel and letters, the work of God (as they viewed it) was partly refuting heresies, and searching out what was perceived to be heretical.
Similar to how the rise of terrorism has sparked an acute awareness of what people are up to where none previously existed, the rise of various and strange ideas going beyond the basics of the Gospel was cause for concern.
A climate of suspicion arose along with the asking of “what did you mean by using that term?”
The church at that time had to deal with ear-tickling ideas from every place of the world the Message had reached.
It was a common effort having to refute new ideas, although sometimes the ideas were simply (now looking back from possibly a more objective view) the use of different words attempting to explain Mystery.
How can Mystery be fully explained if it is mysterious?
Some claim to fully understand it, and perhaps some of us do, yet when using a common language, and quoting familiar passages of Scripture, listeners seem to miss the full transmission.
In pursuing knowledge and understanding, it seems some men desired also to legitimize their position by continuing to explain things they believed to be inspired, things possibly revealed only to them and not for public consumption.
Men believed their own writings to be inspired, or complimenting the inspired, and it is quite surprising how some scholars today, being believers, still quibble over what was and was not inspired.
We are special despite having specifically special understandings of the mysteries.
We see this in not only religious leaders of any given religion, but in political leaders as well.
We all seem to do this to some degree regarding whatever we believe in or pursue, whether it be religion or gardening.
Perhaps in seeking to achieve revelation, or significance for their lives, some men caused (and still cause) harm and division.
I read this all the time on social media posts, in the news and when I have a philosophical, political, economic or religious discussion with someone.
This reminds me yet of another lesson that I need to heed more often.
I think this is what happened when Nestorius attempted to correct the overreach (as he understood it to be) of Cyril.
“Mother of Christ”, or “Mother of Man” was Nestorius' response to Cyril's effort of titling Mary “Mother of God”.
This conflict, and its outcome, should then be no surprise when Islamic polemics perceive Christians believing in three gods, or viewing the Father, Son and Mary as such.
Surely the arguing over of words had ruined even the ears of people even in faraway places.
Many conflicting arguments among the early Christians developed and added to the confusion of those outside the fold, and to some within.
But, paradoxically, this seemed to have been God's will through it all; allowing for such divergence to occur.
These two bishops could have easily agreed to quote, plagiarize while copyrighting “the mother of my Lord” and have resolved what likely should not have been an issue in the first place...and gone onto to working on how to better feed the hungry, house the homeless and clothe the naked.
Here is an in-depth article with a political perspective regarding the 4th century schism over Mary's title.
As was back then, and sadly still today, zeal sometimes doesn't allow for peaceful communion to continue...but some of us do have room in our hearts for communion, unity and peace with all mankind.
To be continued in Part 3.