Even A Victory Is A Funeral

david-absalom Even a victory is a funeralThe Old Testament story of David mourning the death of his rebellious son Absalom is the only instance I know of a victorious sovereign mourning the death of the opposing leader after a battle (2 Samuel 18).

Even a victory is a funeral

I share this because I recalled it when I recently read this passage from the Tao Teh Ching. I consider it part of my preparation to become fluent in the religions of the world. I read this book with the working hypothesis that what Lao Tzu called the Tao (“the way” or “the path”) is what people like me call Knowledge. I am therefore sharing this passage with the word “Knowledge” replacing the word “Tao.” There are many translations available. This one is by John C. H. Wu.

Fine weapons of war augur evil.
Even things seem to hate them.
Therefore, a man of Knowledge does not set his heart upon them.
In ordinary life, a gentleman regards the left side as the place of honor.
In war, the right side is the place of honor.

As weapons are instruments of evil,
They are not properly a gentleman’s instruments;
Only on necessity will he resort to them.
For peace and quiet are dearest to his heart,
And to him even a victory is no cause for rejoicing.

To rejoice over a victory is to rejoice over the slaughter of men!
Hence a man who rejoices over the slaughter of men cannot expect to thrive in the world of men.
On happy occasions the left side is preferred:
On sad occasions the right side.
In the army, the Lieutenant Commander stands on the left,
While the Commander-In-Chief stands on the right.
This means that war is treated on a par with a funeral service.
Because many people have been killed, it is only right that survivors should mourn for them.
Hence, even a victory is a funeral.

I consider this passage (Chapter 31) to resonate with Step 287 of Steps to Knowledge, “With Knowledge I cannot be at war.”

King David cried out “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33, New International Version) For David, this victory was indeed a funeral. I pray that in the next war, the victors will mourn the losers’ casualties, that we might see the truth that even a victory is a funeral.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

I Will Not Be Afraid Of My Will

The Sermon on the Mount by Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1598. I will not be afraid of my own will.In the final portion of what is now known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:21-27), Jesus says something that I didn’t expect him to say. I have read and heard this passage many times, but I’ve never heard a preacher or a commentator fully address my disquietude on the subject.

I will not be afraid of my will

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, New International Version)

The last sentence is the one that gets me. I expected Jesus to say “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘You didn’t do the will of my Father. Away from me, you evildoers!'” But instead he says “I never knew you,” as if that was the most terrible indictment he could bring against a human being.

Perhaps when the audience heard the phrase “does the will of my Father,” they imagined the miraculous demonstrations Jesus mentioned in the following sentence. Perhaps Jesus felt a need to disabuse his audience of those imaginings. I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar. I don’t believe you need to be a Bible scholar to see that one of the points of this passage is that Jesus teaches it is the will of his Father to be known by Jesus.

I am sharing this because something in Step 43 “My will is to know God” of Steps to Knowledge said something along these lines, even more succinctly:

“Your will is to know God. Do not be afraid of your will. You are created by God. God’s will is to know you. Your will is to know God. There is no other will. All motivations other than this are born merely of confusion and fear. To know God gives God power and gives you power as well.”

I cry out with the psalmist David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23, New International Version). I cry out with Jesus “Not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36, New International Version). I cry out “I will to will your will, O God.” I will not be afraid of my will.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.