Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
The Dalai Lama opened the session with words of gratefulness to the various faiths and cultures gathered together, noting that this conference was only the beginning of many more gatherings “where we may find a gathering of hearts to bring peace to our world.” After his words of greeting to the 750 clerics from around the world, we heard from a variety of speakers (Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, and Buddhist), beginning with the well-known author of world religions, Huston Smith.
So many thoughts raced through my mind as to what I should say. What was most striking to me was the absence of the name of Jesus over the three hours of speakers, even from those who were designated to represent Christianity.
We were not given any idea as to the order of the speakers, so this added to the tension I was feeling. As the program continued and we were close to the end of our time together, it was obvious that either I had been cut from the agenda or I was going to be close to the end.
After sitting on the edge of my chair throughout the entire session, I was briefly introduced. I was the last speaker of the day before His Holiness was to close our time together. I just knew this was the best spot in the program to bring up the only one in history who could provide peace for any who wanted it.
So I began with, “I bring you greetings in the name of Jesus.” The shockwave we all experienced at the mention of the name of Jesus was one of the most dramatic encounters with Jesus I’ve ever sensed. I continued with, “Since Jesus is not owned by Christians or Christianity, not bound by any system of do’s and don’ts, not exclusive but all-inclusive in his approach to people everywhere (He will work with anyone!), then it is appropriate to bring greetings in his name at this great event. In following Jesus I have come to realize that what the world needs now is not more love; we need more lovers.” Although we had spent 3 hours being told what the world needs now is love and compassion, it was obvious the audience was in agreement with me.
I ended my time with, “May Jesus fill your hearts and minds with his peace, his joy, his love, his compassion, and may he bind us together in such a way that we might be contagious in making a difference through him in our world.” The applause was not just polite, but enthusiastic and animated.
As soon as the session was dismissed, clerics from all faiths flocked to me. They each expressed their enthusiasm for hearing more about Jesus unchained by Western, cultural Christianity. One American Buddhist rushed up to me saying, “I’ve never heard about Jesus separated from Christianity. You know, having heard Jesus in this way, I think I see what you are saying. You’re saying that Jesus trumps everything!”
Jesus does trump everything! Jesus is universally attractive and irresistible to everyone, when seen outside of the conventional religious, wrappings. Jesus is truly all-inclusive; he’ll work with anyone! That was 10 years ago, when I realized that Jesus is not exclusive, but inclusive and calls the world to himself.