“In the garden of Gethsemane, the last words Jesus spoke to his apostles were, “Stay awake.” In fact, he says it twice. The Buddha offered the same wisdom; “Buddha” actually means “I am awake.”
Staying awake comes not from willpower but from a wholehearted surrender to the moment–as it is. If you can be present, you will experience what most of us mean by God, and you do not even need to call it God. It’s largely a matter of letting go of resistance to what the moment offers or of clinging to a past moment. It is an acceptance of the full reality of what is right here and now. It will be the task of your whole lifetime.”
(Full disclosure: The author of this book is my friend.)
Yesterday, while in the middle of reading Jeff Blake’s new book “The Seven Last Words of Christ: Meditations on the Cross,” I had to stop and write to tell him how powerful it is. This short book is HANDS DOWN the best book I’ve read on the message of Jesus. At less than 40 pages the message is distilled to perfection, cutting through any filler or unnecessary repetition while also offering brief personal experiences by Mr. Blake that never take the reader off course.
My belief or faith is far, far away from rock solid. Like reading a passage from Richard Rohr, Henri Nouwen or Thomas Merton the words in these pages feel like an anchor of truth. How so? While reading I felt the “how it isness” wash over me. I felt carried and at peace. I also became aware of wanting to flee to distraction in the other direction to avoid letting it all sink in. Am I the only one who does this? Stoping mid-chapter to write an email is a pretty good indicator I am misdirecting myself. (“Stop reading! Do something else! Tell the world!” You gotta love the ego. No really, you have to or it won’t leave you alone.)
I can’t say enough good things about “The Seven Last Words of Christ: Meditations on the Cross”, by Jeff Blake, so I won’t try. It’s awesome. Pick it up for Lent and read it. Read it more than once. You’ll be very happy you did.
“The more that we can put together, the more that we can “forgive” and allow, the more we can include and enjoy, the more we tend to be living in the Spirit. The more we need to reject, oppose, deny, exclude and eliminate, the more open we are to negative and destructive voices and to our own worst instincts.”
“Whatever God gives is always experienced as totally unearned grace and never as a salary, a reward or a merit badge of any sort. In fact, if you do experience it that way, it is not from God and will not expand your heart, mind or soul.”