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Moving from Jesus to Christ

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jesus: The Christ

Moving from Jesus to Christ
Sunday, March 22, 2015

On the day of Pentecost, after recognizing the eternal presence of the Holy Spirit, Peter stood up and proclaimed that God “had raised up Jesus” to reveal him as the Christ (Acts 2:32, 36). This is a different way of thinking for most of us, I suspect. Jesus and Christ are not the same; Christ is the much larger and older frame. The three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are mostly talking about Jesus, the historical figure who healed and taught. Paul never met the historical Jesus and hardly ever quotes Jesus directly. In almost all of Paul’s preaching and writing, he is talking about the Eternal Christ Mystery, rather than Jesus of Nazareth.

It is this Christ who meets Paul on the road to Damascus. The Jesus that you and I participate in, are graced by, and are redeemed by in our own time, is also the eternal Christ. This makes the notion of resurrection easy to imagine. Jesus’ resurrection is not a one-time miracle of bodily resuscitation as much as a needed drama to focus our attention on a Presence that has always been available since the beginning, a Presence unlimited by space or time and now revealed in Jesus personally. In fact, I would absolutely insist on the bodily resurrection of Jesus because that is the full revelation—God is in love with the whole physical universe and not just our souls.

Let me put it this way: Christ is a word for the macrocosm, Jesus is the microcosmic moment in time, and all else is the cosmos—including you and me. You inherently belong to Somebody that is going somewhere! This provides ultimate and deep meaning for human existence. It settles the mind, heart, and emotions.

Only God can hold both the joy and the pain of creation in us, because our little self is just not strong enough to hold that much together and make sense out of it. The lone individual is far too fragile to bear either “the weight of glory” or the “burden of sin.” The Church has wasted centuries trying to rescue individuals from hell and to save individuals for heaven. It just won’t work! But God in us, uniting us in One corporate Body, does it for us!

We eventually know that Someone Else is working through us, in us, for us, and in spite of us. After enlightenment, our life is not our own. Now we draw from the One Big Life, the Christ mystery, the Christ nature, the Christ source. We stop fretting about our smallness. The individual will never be fully worthy or correct, but that same individual can still remain utterly connected if it stops over-defending itself. Our yes deeply matters. The word for that yes and that connection is, quite simply, love.

Gateway to Silence:
In Christ, we become God’s Love.

Adapted from The Cosmic Christ (CD, MP3 download)

Image Credit: The Cosmic Christ (detail) by Sr. Nancy Earl, © 2008, CAC archives
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