The Greatest Among You

I want to share an incredible experience with you. It may stretch your beliefs a bit, but I think it will be worth your time.

I realize it’s up to each person to find their own way in this world. I do not ask you to believe me. I ask only that you read the following words I am writing and let them reveal to you the truth they have to share.

Beginning on Good Friday in 2018, I started receiving an intimate understanding of the events surrounding Yeshiwa’s life (Jesus’ name in his native language of Aramaic). I sensed a strength, peace and clarity and felt a ‘knowing’ arrive within me, as if I were present during the events which occurred during Yeshiwa’s last week on earth. I felt the entire story channel through me. So much so, that I wrote it all down.

It took a great deal of courage for me to share this dramatic portrait with others, especially because there are some elements which differ widely from the traditional Easter story. But I did, and with the help of many others, the play Nine, A Holy Week Story of Love, was performed live on Good Friday at Unity Church in Albany (NY) in 2019. The congregation sat in rapt attention while each part was spoken. It was the quietest congregation I’ve ever experienced.

Recently I was rereading the play and one section jumped out at me. I could tell instantly why it did because it was an answer to a series of questions that have been troubling me.

I understand that you, as a reader, may have different religious and spiritual beliefs and I honor that. I wanted to share this with you, because I believe that no matter what faith you embrace, there is profound wisdom in these words.

As a part of the story, Yeshiwa is speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper and is explaining the meaning of his washing their feet.

Here is the passage:

“And I responded, because I love you and care for you and to show you the way to live. Others have told you that the greatest always receives rich treasure and reward. But I tell you that the greatest among you will open their hearts wide and will serve others. They will draw love from the deep well inside them and let it overflow into the world. This will be their service and reward.”

For me, there is enormous relevance in this passage and a great deal of clarity.

I’d failed to fully understand that ‘others’ refers to all those who surround me, but specifically to all of the cultural training I’ve received from others since day one. And I recognized in a new way that the reference to the ‘greatest’, were those I’d considered as the most popular, prettiest, most famous, those that have the most followers or influence or who have received the most complements and praise. They were the ones with great wealth, premium cars, big mansions, and those who received major awards and recognition. And even though I intellectually understand none of this necessarily bring joy or happiness, I felt attracted to it.

After rereading the passage, I felt a huge shift. A very welcome huge shift.

I sensed the usage of the word “I” to mean the divine (in this case, Yeshiwa) and that the ‘greatest’ refers to those who are the most joy-filled, happiest, most open. And that when a person chooses to ‘open their hearts wide’, they naturally offer others love, compassion, aid, hugs, encouragement, companionship, and they give freely from their strength. When one chooses to ‘serve others’, they offer themselves freely and fully, they provide support and care. They donate their time, talents, and treasures.

Those who decide to live this way in the world will find they can always draw from the deep well inside. And this well never runs dry because when one lives this way they are connected to the divine source.

This is what I want most in my life and I needed this reminder to help me shift away from what ‘others’ may feel is important and center in on what I know in my heart is important to me.

SPECIAL OFFER There will be a live performance of Nine, A Holy Week Story of Love at Unity Church in Albany on April 7, 2023, at 7:00pm. This performance will also be livestreamed on YouTube. I’ll provide more details a few weeks prior to the event