At the House of Simon the Leper...

The relationship between the great mystics and the conventional church, both Catholic and Protestant, (and Muslim, for that matter) has always been an uneasy one. For the dualists, those primarily concerned with sacrifice, redemption and salvation, the power-oriented, who have governed the Church, God is and remains separate. For those who have experienced God directly and internally, such dualism is an illusion to be awoken from. This knowledge sits uneasily inside an authoritarian structure.

Judas and Jesus show us the two faces of the Christian Church: the kingdom of Good and the Kingdom of God.

Mark 14:3  And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
4  And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
5  For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
6  And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
7  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
8  She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
9  Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.

I have selected Mark's version, though Matthew's is virtually identical. Mark tells us that it was spikenard; Matthew only that it was precious. Mark gives its value as 300 pence; Matthew tells us only that it might have been sold for much.

This is another of the great neglected passages of the Bible, along with the Sermon on the Mount and its grossly impractical admonition to "resist not evil".

Remember that it was immediately after this incident that Judas went out and betrayed him — Judas who had been the treasurer and purchasing officer for the disciples, the dispenser of charity on their behalf, the financial planner and budgeter; Judas who had been increasingly impatient for his master to rise and claim the kingship that was prophesied and set the world to rights; and Judas, who, despairing of him, set forth to force the issue.

In Judas and Jesus we see the two faces of Christianity, seeking "good" and seeking God.

The woman with the spikenard had recognised herself to be in the presence of God and honoured that experience and that presence.

One of the chief objections that the Roman Catholic Church voiced in respect of the "heretic" Quietists was that they valued the mystical experience of the presence of God in its own right.

It was not necessary to perform miracles of healing, it was not necessary to lead armies against the English, or found monastic orders, or put the government and the world to rights to validate that experience.

These early spiritual hippies understood quite clearly that they were to seek first the kingdom of God and that the rest would follow. Surely there would be good works to do, and the poor to succour, for as Jesus reminded his disciples, the poor are always with us. He also reminded them of his own imminent departure. But the experience of the presence of God was primary - and transformative. It was the leaven in the dough.

Not even the great mystics were constantly "in the presence"; none could command it at will. The high points were often separated by long, seemingly-barren periods.

Joel Goldsmith, founder of The Infinite Way movement, is one modern teacher who understood this well. He was adamant that seeking the kingdom of God came first. His students were admonished over and again that they were under no circumstances to set about consciously fighting evil or poverty or sickness.

Their task was simply to "realise", to make real, the presence of God, to learn to recognise that Christ presence in themselves and in others and allow it to manifest in their surroundings. Period. Full stop. End of story. They were on no account to attempt to "use God" for any purpose, however "good", they were simply to make of themselves surrendered vehicles through which the divine energy might become manifest. And manifest it did.

Jesus maintained that He was the son of God, but also, (John 1:12) "... as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God ..." and He said: (John 14:12) "He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do."

He also said, of Himself, (John 14:10) "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works."

In Jesus' terms, the same Christ in Him, the "Father that dwelleth in me [that] doeth the works", is within all of us. We have to learn to recognise it and we have to learn how to release its energy into the world around us, without seeking to direct or control it for our own purposes.






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The Man on the Cross

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Mysticism and Magic

At the House of Simon the Leper


The Siddhis

The Fall


Angels and Ministers of Grace


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The Word of God II

The Word of God III

Scientists are Sinners

Why Can't a Woman

Precious Moments

Random Jottings

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