Jesus: The Christ
Friday, March 27, 2015
There were clear statements in the New Testament giving a cosmic meaning to Christ (Colossians 1, Ephesians 1, John 1, 1 John 1, and Hebrews 1:1-4), and the schools of Paul and John were initially overwhelmed by the hope contained in this message. In the early Christian era, a few Eastern Fathers (such as Origen of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, and Maximus the Confessor) noticed that the Christ was clearly something older, larger, and different than Jesus himself. They mystically saw that Jesus is the union of human and divine in one person, and the Christ is the eternal union of matter and Spirit from the beginning of time. But the later centuries tended to lose this mystical element in favor of a more dualistic Christianity. We were all the losers. What we could not unite in Jesus, we could not unite in ourselves!
Christianity became another moralistic religion (which loved to be on top). It was overwhelmingly aligned with a very limited period of history (empire building through war) and a small piece of the planet (Europe), not the whole earth or any glorious destiny (Romans 8:18ff) for us all. Not surprisingly, many Christians ended up tragically fighting evolution—along with most early human rights struggles (such as women’s suffrage, rights for those on the margins, racism, classism, homophobia, earth care, and slavery)—because we had no evolutionary notion of Christ who was forever “groaning in one great act of giving birth” (Romans 8:22). Until the reforms of the 1960’s and the Second Vatican Council, Roman Catholic Christianity was overwhelmingly a tribal religion and hardly “catholic” at all.
We should have been at the forefront of all of these love and justice issues. The Christian religion was made-to-order—to grease the wheels of human consciousness toward love, nonviolence, justice, inclusivity, love of creation, and the universality of such a message. Mature religion serves as a conveyor belt for the evolution of human consciousness. Immature religion actually stalls people at very early stages of magical, mythic, and tribal consciousness, while they are convinced they are enlightened or “saved.” This is more a part of the problem than any kind of solution. Only the non-dual and mystical mind gets you all the way through.
Authentic mystical experience connects us and keeps connecting us at ever-newer levels, breadths, and depths, “until God is all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). Or as Paul also writes earlier in the same letter, “the world, life and death, the present and the future are all your servants, for you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23). Full salvation is finally universal belonging and universal connecting. Our word for that is “heaven.”
Gateway to Silence:
In Christ, we become God’s Love.
Adapted from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, pp. 218, 222-223, 226;