Unity’s Journey to Easter with Rev. Richard Levy

The Rev. Richard Levy. Photo by Christine Moughamian.

Christine Moughamian

By Blogger Christine Moughamian
One Yogini, Many Paths

On Palm Sunday, at Unity of Wilmington, I heard the Rev. Richard Levy give a vibrant rendition of “The transfiguration of Jesus” likened to Buddha’s enlightenment.

I was hooked.

I recognized the quotes he used from Marcus Borg’s book: “ Jesus and Buddha, The Parallel Sayings.” One set especially resonated with me.

Jesus:

“Jesus spoke unto them saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Buddha:

“When a Bodhisattva (enlightened being) descends from heaven, there appears in this world an immeasurable, splendid light surpassing the glory of the most powerful glow. And whatever dark spaces lie beyond the world’s end will be illuminated by this light.” (Digha Nikaya 14.1.17)

Levy ended his talk with words that blended the two traditions:

“When we awaken to our divine nature, our crown is golden, the hair between our eyebrows is like white cotton-down and in our right hand we hold seven stars, seals, chakras. We speak with power and authority and cut through illusions to the truth that sets us free.”

After the service, we scheduled an interview at the church for April 4.

CM: Rev. Levy, how do you explain, in metaphysical terms, the whole sequence of events in Holy Week leading up to Easter?

RL: “It is a journey of awakening we’re all on. The journey of Jesus entering into Jerusalem, the City of Truth, is not so much an outer but an inner journey. Jesus knew that he was going to die. He had one week to model behavior that could awaken consciousness.”

CM: Where do you start?

RL: “You start with your body. Jesus showed us how to take our lower chakras with us. When he said: ‘Go get me that colt,’ that’s the wild untamed part of our nature. He told his disciples: ‘If anyone asks you, tell them ‘the master has need of this energy.’ What a sweet gift!”

CM: What happened at the temple?

RL: With a lot of energy, Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers. He removed what did not belong on the altar of God. Sometimes we have to do that, with strong energy, cut through the material thoughts that crowd our minds.”

CM: What is the meaning of the Last Supper?

RL: “On Maundy Thursday, Jesus met with his disciples. He invited them to take in the teachings, go deeper with them: ‘This is my body, this is the body of my teachings. I am the living Christ. I want you to eat this, to drink this blood and let it be the Holy Spirit awakening in the blood and vessels and veins.’ Then Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane, the dark side of the soul.”

CM: How does the story continue?

RL: “In the last seven words of Jesus we have a road map of human suffering, of surrendering and forgiveness. Then there’s another layer with the big rock in front of the tomb. In Unity, we invite people to ask: ‘What does this mean for me, to pull the door when I pray? How do I practice sitting in silence? And what happens when I do that?’ So for three days, Jesus is in the cave taking the last bits of personality off. And I believe that’s where the transfiguration happens. The whole chakra system is lit up. He becomes an awakened being at that point.”

CM: How do you explain Mary’s presence in metaphysical terms?

RL: “She’s the Divine Feminine. Because she’s so there with all her emotions and intuition, she gets to see him first. She’s clear and pure and willing, even though she doesn’t understand who he is at that point. She asks: ‘Are you the gardener?’ Then she recognizes Jesus and tells the disciples.”

CM: What is the meaning of Jesus appearing to his disciples?

RL: “Jesus says: ‘I’m going to leave you the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ It’s very powerful. The morphogenic field now has Christ Consciousness added to it. I believe that Jesus is the prototype of our possibility. He is our Wayshower.”

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