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A Map of Reality

Jesus: Human and Divine

A Map of Reality
Thursday, March 19, 2015

As I like to say, the greatest ally of God is what is. The Christian word for full reality is Incarnation. It took the whole Hebrew Bible to get there, and it took personal form two thousand years ago, perhaps because only then was human consciousness developed enough to imagine such a thing could be true. The eternal pre-existent Christ became a human body in space and time, which we call Jesus.

Jesus is the stand in for what is and what will be. He sets the inevitable trajectory: divine conception (hidden and unrecognized), ordinary and mundane existence (thirty years before his active ministry), eventual enlightenment and recognition (baptism), engagement in the world (healing and teaching), trials, misunderstanding, passion, even crucifixion and death (the inevitable result of faithfulness to love and truth), resurrection (God’s promised response), and final ascension back to God (fully completing the circle).

You can trust and allow this same divine process of human transformation in yourself! What an extraordinary map, assurance, and promise when you are caught somewhere in the middle. And it is so much more real than the old, tired reward/punishment threat that was supposed to coerce humanity into virtue (which did not work very well because then it would not be virtue!).

God does not meet us in formulas, mere doctrines, special spiritual methods, and strong moralisms nearly as much as God meets us in reality—as it offers itself hour by hour. Is this not truly “our daily bread”? The Word (the theory, the theology) became “flesh” because words can’t get you there, only experience can.

God comes in Jesus to share in and experience our human reality and to give us the courage to trust the same pattern in ourselves, in others, and in history itself. This is surely the key to remaining fully alive and not getting bogged down in cynicism or victimhood. St. Irenaeus of Lyon (who died in AD 202) said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” As Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) said, and I paraphrase, “We are not human beings trying to become spiritual; we are already spiritual beings, and we are just trying and needing to become human for one another”! Isn’t that the real human problem today and always?

Gateway to Silence:
Jesus came to show God’s Love.

Adapted from Scripture as Liberation (MP3 download);
and Hell, No! (CD, MP3 download) or In the Beginning (CD, MP3 download)

Image credit: Christ surrounded by angels and saints (detail). Mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare,” Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.

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