I have known a few Christians who are subtly anti-life and seen some who are getting heaps out of life. The latter are scarcely religious in the normal sense; people who live entirely out of the Lord and who are very witty and full of laughs. “Laughter” flows from lived grace. But not only grace. It’s the effect of an abundance of life. And what is life? Largely spirit and love.
I read about a man, we’ll call him Jack, talking to Jesus in a vision. Jesus asked him what he thought he had accomplished with his life. Jack gave a rendition of his accomplishments as one might in presenting a resume. Jesus was amused. He laughed and said, ‘No that’s not it. I just wanted to know what you have been making of being Jack.’
Jesus suffered the cross and now lives to indwell you – so you can be the you who is the real you and a son/daughter of God.
‘Alive’ people will overflow with love and life. They will be possessed of a love for life and they will be spirited. Real life is largely spirit. Where ever Jesus went He irrigated that place with spirit and life. It is to be hoped that we love people enough and love ourselves enough not to leave them accommodating themselves to reduced forms of life and spirit - just because that mode is their expectation, their religion and their limitation.
‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10 NIV.
Genuinely spiritual people are the most alive, yet often the most affront to the religious mind. They are the least hung-up about Christian formalities and lauded externalities – much to the annoyance of those living in these ‘holy inhibitions’ - as though the inhibitions themselves were ‘life.’ There is of course, such a thing as sin. But we could well examine whether some sins are nothing more than middle class constraints or just plain religious humbug. If a community has a prohibition on something as joyful as dancing it is telling us something about its attitude to life.
‘For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit’ John 3.34 NIV.
Life is a thing in itself. Life is relationship. If we are related to life as it is, we will be filled with that life. Life came from life. It came from the life of the trinity to manifest as Jesus Christ. Jesus came to draw us into the life and love of God, there to live and flourish.
‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world’ John 6.51 NIV.
A MOROSE GOD?
A fundamentalist parent whose daughter I taught Bible became upset because I told the class that God rejoices when we enjoy a day in the sun and surf at the beach. Too many put God in seclusion and separation from life. The fact is God has incarnated Himself in the creation. When Jesus came among us this what God saying, ‘This is Me!’
The ordinary person is rightly unimpressed by the kind of God that the parent misrepresented. Life to the full is never a religious life. A genuinely full life is a life that is the sacrament of you = as you as the manifestation of God flourishing in the world.
The life of God as us, is not to be defined by rites, compartments in time, special clothes or anything that creates a division between sacred and secular. Such artificial divisions were an effect of the knowledge of good and evil. They have no place in the new creation and the life of the Believer whose life is Christ. In Jesus all things, everything in existence is drawn into the oneness of Himself, our Father and the Son. Since the cross, Wednesday is just as holy as Saturday and Narromine is just as sanctified as Jerusalem. You are the manifestation of the trinity.
‘And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth’ Eph 1.10 NLT.
The right time has been accomplished. Time was mended and creation was healed when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’ and the curtain was ripped from top to bottom. Your task is to assist Jesus to bring all things into the union with God that He has already established.
Jesus and King David before Him did not hold a high view of religiosity. He was not about to starve when there was temple bread to eat. David had a passion for God and enjoyed Him wherever he was. David worshipped Him in the fields. And was astute enough to worship Him in David’s Tent that was a type of what was to come following the cross and the incarnation.
Jesus was one with His Father, lived from His Father and revealed His Father by being Himself. And in so doing Jesus revealed who we are and who we are meant to be.
When Jesus walked the streets of Palestine God was where Jesus was. When you walk on your veranda or down the aisle of the supermarket, God is where you are. Today God is in you and with you. You are incarnated with the trinity. You are just as much with God as you stuff the washing into the washing machine as you are when engaged in praise and worship. Why? Worship is not something you do. Because you are interwoven with God – WORSHIP IS YOU!
Today you have what David tasted and what Jesus had. David had a close and enjoyable relationship with God. But you have more. There had been no Christ in David’s day. Today the Christ of God lives in you. You and our Father are one. You and the trinity are one. They live in your being on earth and you fellowship with them in heaven in Jesus. One of the trinity is a human being.
Jesus left us the Lord’s Table as the sign of our union with God. He warned that unless we drank His blood and ate His body we have no genuine spiritual life. He was speaking of the incarnation of Himself into our being. He comes by invitation and agreement. He is able to come fully when we dispense with substitutes for His presence and receive Him as Himself. Jesus is the bread who came down from heaven and the bread who lives in you. Eat Jesus and He becomes you. Eat Jesus and you are eating life. Richard Rohr writes,
“I did not go to Eucharistic communion most of that Lent; I instead learned to live in communion most of the hours of the day, which I think is the goal of any true sacrament or practice. This doesn’t take a lot of thinking. It doesn’t take a lot of theology. It doesn’t take a lot of education. It’s doesn’t even take a lot of morality. You just have to walk and breathe and receive and give, and—voilà!—you’re in the flow. And this cannot be done by just thinking about it. It’s like you’re in on the secret of the universe, and yet you can’t prove it to anybody.” (1). God is not less in you because you are playing monopoly or having a barbeque. God is no more with us on one day of the week than on any other. God is with us and in us.
This is what Paul meant by the words, ‘Christ your life.’ He is much more than our salvation. He is the alpha and omega of life itself and He lives in you. Because you are the expression of Him, you also are life itself, as yourself and wherever you are.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 1834-1839). SPCK. Kindle Edition.