When Jesus went down to the river that day
He was baptized in the usual way.
And when it was done, God blessed his Son,
He sent him his love,
On the wings of a dove.
One of the great moments in the Gospels comes at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, immediately after his Baptism in the Jordan. At that moment Jesus has received into himself the Spirit of God, which has descended like a dove, and the voice of God proclaims His love for His Son, through whom He will be revealed.
This is a moment of great power, a supreme moment of the infusion of Spirit into matter. It is at this time, when the Power of God is so strongly felt, that the Temptation by the Adversary Powers takes place.
The Adversary offers up three temptations: rulership over the world, invulnerability, and the ability to turn stones into bread. Christ refuses these temptations and begins the process of uniting His Being with that of humanity, so that we ourselves may bring into being The Christ who dwells within each and every member of the human family.
When we look at our world today and how it operates, we see that the most powerful being on our planet is the global corporation. This entity (even though it manifests through perhaps 100 separate companies, it is still monolithic in form) strides like a Colossus upon our planet. Through the mass media it spreads its message to people all over the planet. It provides the energy that fuels the world and the food that feeds us. No important planetary decision is made without its input and its blessing, and the foreign policies of the most powerful nations are harnessed to its ends. The protocols of the World Trade Organization overrule the laws of nation states and have often been referred to as the “Constitution of the Global Corporate Empire”. Clearly, rulership over the world is the aim of this being.
Despite its power, this Being has demonstrated its vulnerability in the series of financial and environmental disasters that have shaken our planet over the past several years. We have experienced nuclear disaster in Japan, environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, and a world-wide financial crisis deriving from irresponsible banking and investment practices compounded by uncontrolled greed. And yet, the corporations involved are still driving the decision making process for the planet. They have been deemed too big to fail and have thus demonstrated the invulnerability that Christ refused to display when tempted by his adversary.
It is in the turning of bread into stones that this Being most clearly illustrates its nature. We are all aware that obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States. The most outstanding demographic fact related to obesity is income level: poor people are much more likely to be obese than those at a higher income level. For the first time in human history, the poor are consuming more calories than the rich. At the same time, type II diabetes, also known as “Adult onset diabetes”, is at epidemic levels. Fully 1/3 of all children born after the year 2000 are projected to contract this condition. The figure in communities of color is 50%.
There is plenty of “bread” available. We consume things that look like food and that taste even better than food but that fail to provide us nutrition. Our pesticides and fertilizers are made from petroleum and chemicals, as are the artificial colors and flavors that are imbedded in what we eat. What is becoming more and more obvious is that this “bread” does not feed us. It is, on the most fundamental level, made from stones. It is magical bread, presented as the miracle of industrial agriculture. But this magic is based upon illusion. And when we consume the magic of bread made from stones, the illusion ultimately reveals itself in the diseases that manifest within our bodies.
The global corporation is the Being that has accepted the temptations offered to Christ in the Wilderness. Its vision and workings are profoundly antithetical to the embodiment of Love and Freedom that is the message and mission of Christ as the Universal Spirit present in every human being regardless of gender, race, religion, or any other criteria that is used to separate us as children of God.
It is time for us to recognize this essential fact of our lives today. The corporate being is relentless and follows us into every aspect of our existence. It requires a conscious decision on our part to reject the message surrounding us, that blares forth in commercials and political speech, that blinds us to our own divinity through constant appeals to the fear and greed that also are a part of our human heritage but that do not define us unless we allow them to. It wants us to hate and to fear other people and to seek our salvation through the things that only it can supply. It is a master of illusion and relentlessly tempts us to live in the worlds of illusion that it so masterfully creates.
But like the Being that points the Way for us, that lives in the depths of our human Spirit, we have the capacity to recognize reality, to see through the temptations and to receive the Love that descends like a dove. This becomes the basis of a new story for human beings, a story based upon recognizing the divinity of each and every human being and the building of a global community that values freedom for the individual, equality in decision making, and the sharing of resources for the good of everyone.
This is a story worthy of us and of the Spirit that freely joined its destiny with ours through the act of becoming human. It is a story that can only be written by us through our actions in the world, through our rejection of the story offered to us by the mass media and those who control it, and the creation of new institutions even while the old decay and die around us. It is a story of creativity, joy, and community, and it is written in the depths of our souls and our interactions with our sisters and brothers everywhere. It is a story that is being written in the Arab Spring, in the Velvet Revolution, in the landless peasant movement of Brazil, and the urban farms that spring up in the empty lots of American cities. It is a story of human strength and human dignity that is the basis of our evolution as individuals and as a human family. Ultimately, it is the resurrection of the Spirit of Love and Freedom within each of us, and our manifestation of that Spirit in the Story of Humanity.
Written by Abraham Entin
Abraham Entin has been a member of The Christian Community for 35 years. He is a lifelong social activist and founder of Move to Amend (MTA) Sonoma County , CA, and chair of Education and Outreach National Committee for MTA