My Outlier Gospel Reader took a little longer to get through the Gospel of John than the three Synoptics. But the wait has been worthwhile.

M. writes:

there is interpretation both of THE only son also meaning AN only son. Of course that is the debate that could rage in Christianity as it meets the world of so called “modern spirituality”. I could argue that , of course, there is only ONE savior and that is the realization of the ONE moving through creation. Must I attribute this to one man in history? Or must I attribute this to the One Divine Awareness awakening in the flesh?

Christopher:

M. as so often, in our conversation, you go to the heart of the matter. The question you raise in response to John’s Gospel is the question  this Gospel wants us to ask – is there something particular in the person of Jesus that cannot be said about any other person?

Christian tradition holds that there is a distinctiveness to the historical person of Jesus that has never been claimed about any other human being. This is a question of faith, not a question of intellect. When Christians look at the records of the life, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus that you have been reading, we see the presence and work of the Divine in a way we believe is unique.

Sadly, this claim has often led to arrogance and exclusivism. It does not need to. It is possible to believe that Jesus embodied the fullness of the divine in human history and thus forever shifted the trajectory of human history, without dismissing the profound truth present in other traditions and in every human being.

It is not possible to argue a person into the belief that Jesus uniquely embodied the presence of the divine in a particular place and at a particular time. The heart either resonates with this belief or it does not.

For me, the divine mystery of the Word about whom John speaks was distinctly present in Jesus. Christ/the Word is therefore the object of my devotion and the source of my faith, and love. I find the Christ-presence that was embodied in Jesus is transmitted directly into my heart. I experience this transmission through sacred text and through the meal Jesus left us when he instructed us to share bread and wine, “in remembrance of me.” I know the living presence of Christ in this shared meal, and in our common life as a Christian community founded around a specific revelation of God.

Whether or not we agree on this conviction about the uniqueness of Jesus, we are in absolute agreement about the necessary way forward when you write:

We have got to “save” ourselves from this sleep and the indulgence in and the celebration of sleep (ignorance). For this awakening Jesus would risk it all. He would blaspheme against the spiritual hierarchy. He was a radical and he was killed as a mistaken political revolutionary who gave spiritual power to EVERYONE to take as he took it unto himself. He would become an authority because he walked this awakening like no other before him. And in the LOVE of this realization there can be no mistake. Love, Love, Love, Love is all you need. Follow this and “feed my sheep”. Shine this light. Save the world.

And so the question is begged for us today; can we love every aspect of our experience as it is given from this One Source? As Christ is looking through these eyes (really), how can it be any other way? It is not so much how I sin but how much I fool myself that I am putting this love “before all else”… before my judgements of self and others. In this very moment what do I really see, what do I really understand? Truly what my mother-in-law used to say is accurate; “it’s a great life if you don’t weaken”.

Jesus calls us to awake from sleep.

But, I lack the ability to awaken myself from the sleep of unconsciousness. I need a power from beyond myself.

I experience this strength for awakening embodied in the community of faith that Jesus left as a container to continue the faithful transmission of his love in the world. This does not mean I do not experience “Love, Love, Love, Love” anywhere else. I certainly do.  But it does mean I see this love fully embodied in one human being in time. I experience the continuation of this embodiment of love in the community he left to continue serving as his presence in the world. Therefore I feel compelled to honour that presence and commit my life to him in and through the Body he has left on this earth as his community of faith and life.

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Thank you M. for this important conversation. I have deep respect and admiration for the commitment you have to your spiritual work and your longing to be fully the person you were created to be…..

Maybe now you should try Philippians (:

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