Jesus: The Christ
One Sacred World
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Many Christians considered Christ to be Jesus’ last name instead of realizing it was the description of his cosmic role in history and arguably in all world religions. I fully believe that there has never been a single soul that has not been possessed by the Christ, even in the ages before the human Incarnation in Jesus. And I believe well-studied Scripture and the Great Tradition will lead you to the same conclusion. Christ is eternal; Jesus was born in time. Jesus without Christ invariably becomes time- and culturally bound, which excludes much of humanity from Christ’s embrace. Christ without Jesus easily becomes an abstract metaphysics or a mere ideology without personal engagement or passion. Love always needs a direct object. We need them both and thus we rightly believe in both, Jesus and Christ, just as most Christians would verbally say.
Only in our time is a truly dynamic unity between human and divine, personified and cosmic, Jesus and Christ, being slowly recognized. Up to now, this was an alternative and, frankly, rare orthodoxy. With our much larger awareness of the universe, it is timely and even necessary if Christianity is to have any social or historical meaning. (If and when we discover life on other planets, much of our Jesus story will no longer make sense.)
“As in him, so also in us, and also in the whole universe” was meant to be our conclusion! What most religion treats as separate (matter and Spirit, humanity and divinity) has never been separate from the beginning: Spirit is forever captured in matter, and matter is the place where Spirit shows itself. It is one sacred world. As John Duns Scotus taught, “Christ was the first idea in the mind of God,” and then Teilhard de Chardin filled out the cosmic schema by calling Christ the final “Omega Point” for all of history! We were supposed to live safely between this cosmic Alpha and Omega, with history moving forward with clear meaning and direction. Without it, we have paddled desperately, aimlessly, and often angrily, in many different directions.
As a result, we now live in a postmodern and largely post-Christian world, which denies any “big story line” or ultimate meaning for history. Each is on their own. It is a major crisis and loss of deep or eternal significance for human civilization; existentially, it is experienced as a loss of hope or any real purpose. All the extravagances, technologies, and entertainments will never be able to fill such an enormous hole in the human psyche. In other words, most of the world, and even most of the Christian world, has yet to hear the full Gospel!
Gateway to silence:
In Christ, we become God’s Love.
Adapted from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, pp. 213-216