When Christ is our life we are not just born again. Our life is a series of rebirths; a constant evolution of ‘born again-ness’ because we are always the growing effect of a life within. Like a yabby or a lobster we shed our skin periodically. Shed it, because what once was a new internalization becomes the exterior and the crust of an old externality. But we live not from externalities but from the heart. And not just any heart. A heart that is locked into the heart of God and a being that is ourselves, yet part of God. We are at one with the universe that is the expression of His life.
This is to say that our life in Christ is a series of adventures because we are always growing and casting of veils, ridding ourselves of false views of God and stepping confidently into enlarged views of ourselves and those with whom we mingle.
We must resist the temptation to remain within the egg in which we were first formed, if we are to become the eagles that we are. Trapped in the cocoon of the knowledge of good and evil in which we were all born, the whole can never be greater than the sum of the parts. This is because our life is seen as all parts, which we in our stifled vision, insist on mistaking for the whole.
We can live in continual expansion or in serial denial. Whenever our collection of glass boxes is challenged by a stone about the size of a man’s hand – we take refuge in definitions, proof texts, old saws and the cliché ridden responses that we have relied on to retain our truth in the face of God’s truth. We grow when we take our truth to the cross.
Fear or obstinate pride can keep us roiled in the security blanket of our parents beliefs. We become plodders, plodding in earnest steps around our mulberry bush, while we attempt to squeeze the last drops of milk from our baby’s bottle – the bottle that we might have abandoned at the start of our infancy.
We can exit from this self-imposed blindness if we choose. If we are prepared to have one husband rather than two or three. And if we have made Christ our life rather than trying to make Him fit our chosen identity as a member of a religious community.
THE VISION OF THE WHOLE
We can embrace a new birth as the reality it is in Christ. We can leave behind the husk of the notional rebirth we have sheltered in all our lives and be born again to begin our lives as a son of God. Now we are sons in spirit and in truth.
Richard Rohr writes, “When we celebrate New Year's Day, we celebrate the rebirth of time. We wait for our God to do new things. We wait for who we are. We wait for the coming of grace, for the revelation of God. We wait for the truth. We wait for the vision of the whole. … We keep praying that our illusions will fall away. God erodes them from many sides, hoping they will fall. But we often remain trapped in what we call normalcy, "the way things are." Life becomes problem - solving, fixing, explaining, and taking sides with winners and losers. It can be a pretty circular and even nonsensical existence.” *
We can retain ourselves in this notional and nonsensical existence to the end of our days and pass into the grave as one who had a theology but never the fullness of life that was hers – because she never had the courage to face the fact that she spent her entire life living in a delusion. _____ Richard Rohr is an apostolic teacher and writer.