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Center for Action and Contemplation


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Christ in Paul’s Eyes

Thursday, February 28, 2019

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39, New Living Translation

Did you ever notice that Jesus tells the disciples to proclaim the Good News to “all creation” or “every creature” (Mark 16:15), and not just to humans? Paul affirms that he has done this very thing when he says, “Never let yourself drift away from the hope promised by the Good News, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become the servant” (Colossians 1:23). Did he really talk to and convince “every creature under heaven” in his short lifetime? Surely not, but Paul knew that he had announced to the world the deepest philosophical ground of things by saying that it all was in Christ—and he daringly believed that this truth would eventually stick and succeed.

I have never been separate from God, nor can I be, except in my mind. I would love for you to bring this realization to loving consciousness! In fact, why not stop reading now and just breathe and let it sink in? It is crucial that you know this experientially and at a cellular level—which is, in fact, a real way of knowing just as much as rational knowing. Its primary characteristic is that it is nondual and thus an open-ended consciousness, which does not close down so quickly and so definitively as dualistic thought does.

Regrettably, Christians have not protected this radical awareness of oneness with the divine. Paul’s brilliant understanding of a Corporate Christ, and thus our cosmic identity, was soon lost as early Christians focused more and more on Jesus alone and even apart from the Eternal Flow of the Trinity, which is theologically unworkable. Christ forever keeps Jesus firmly inside the Trinity, not a later add-on or a somewhat arbitrary incarnation. Trinitarianism keeps God as Relationship Itself from the very beginning, and not a mere divine monarch.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 44-45.

Image credit: St. Paul Preaching in Athens (detail), Raphael, 1515, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: “You, all of you, are sons and daughters of God, now clothed in Christ, where there is no distinction between male or female, Greek or Jew, slave or free, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28). “You are the very temple of God” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
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