The Lord IS with you! (so what?)
Thoughts to help us, as we learn to love God
11 And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence! Exodus 24:11 NLT
23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! John 17:23-24 (NLT2)
The coming of Christ into our conscious lives is the ripe fruit of the Christmas-Epiphany Mystery. It presupposes a presence of Christ that is already within us waiting to be awakened. This might be called the fourth coming of Christ, except that it is not a coming in the strict sense since it is already here. The Christmas-Epiphany Mystery invites us to take possession of what is already ours. As Thomas Merton put it, we are “to become what we already are.” The Christmas-Epiphany Mystery, as the coming of Christ into our lives, makes us aware of the fact that he is already here as our true self—the deepest reality in us and in everyone else. Once God takes upon himself the human condition, everyone is potentially divine. Through the Incarnation of his Son, God floods the whole human family—past, present and to come—with his majesty, dignity and grace. Christ dwells in us in a mysterious but real way.
A recent book I read tried to put theological thoughts and processes against those that are spiritual. As if pastors, teachers, professors have to choose between being adept at theology, or practice spirituality.
I believe that division is utter nonsense… or for those who know a little Greek – taurus skubala.
A perfect case lies in the three readings form my devotions this morning. The goal of celebrating communion with my people is seen in them. I want my people to realize they are eating with Jesus, eating and drinking in His presence. (and that statement needs to be pondered…. for it works on multiple levels! It hit me, reading it this time, that this (in English) reads as if they are soaking in the reality of being in the presence of God…. it is less about a location reference as to what is happening.
“we are here, we aren’t dying… God is partying with us!”
THis is the communion that begins the community, the community that is that perfecct unity, where all are overwhelmed by God’s mercy and love – for this is what St. John is pointing to in his gospel. What an amazing theological truth! What an amazing thing to meditate upon for hours….
This is the incarnation happeining again! Or more precisely, it being revealed again. It is the children of God realizing in His presence, that they are his kids! His presence is our deepest reality, for Christ dwells in us – and that is who we are – compeltely defined by the fact that we are in Jesus.
The challenge we have is revealing that to people, and helping them “get it.”
Recently I thought about the lyrics from two songs from church – “O come, o come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel!” and “Lord I need you, oh, I need you! Every hour I need you!” They beg for the same thing – the cry for God’s presence and help is the same….and it is based in only a brief glimpse of what is promised,
It is what our communities need, it is what our people need….
To see revealed the presence of Jesus, whom we need, desperately need to be in our lives…
to know… The Lord is With You!
Thomas Keating, The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living: Excerpts from the Works of Father Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O., Sacred Scripture, and Other Spiritual Writings, ed. S. Stephanie Iachetta (New York; London; New Delhi; Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2009), 344.