The wonder of life is that life is a person. Paul equates the Christ of God with the law of the spirit of life. But He is more than the logos and its divine rationality. He is the zest of life itself. You may have notice that some non-religious people have a grace and love of life that escapes the fundamentalist or the ideologue. This is because God has incarnated Himself in all people – particularly in those who live in grace and the joy of life.
Yet Jesus is the infinite revelation of all that is peaceful yet exciting and comfortable yet ecstatic. Some who have had visions of heaven record that the inhabitants jubilantly praise and celebrate Jesus. Not only because He is a wonderful person but because He is life itself. In celebrating Jesus they are celebrating life. There are those who think that in citing a series of scriptures they are doing well. They can do better. In union with God as new covenant sons, we can disseminate the spirit and life that is Jesus Himself.
GOD IS WHERE LIFE IS LOVED
Many who do not know God by name exult and celebrate manifestations of life. I head this on The ABC in the voice of the presenter of Off Track. People were searching for and rediscovering the Night Parrot in Central Australia. It lives in the vicinity of mesa shaped hills and tunnels, under saltbushes where it rests during the day and comes out and to be a night parrot at night. There is a delight in life that comes from God and is God.
If we have been saturated in a Christian law culture it is possible that this delight and constant search for more life can be dulled. Arid fundamentalism can make us severe and inert to real life. Christ our life will produce a jolliness, good humour and joy that surpassed contrived rapture and pervades our souls in good time and bad.
There is nothing lively about the law. It’s more suited to the accountant than the adventurer. There’s a reason why Paul calls it the ‘law of sin and death.’ Because it is. It’s dead and is a dead albatross killed by mariners who are marooned in religion. In the coma of law we can even learn to fear truth and distrust life. I’ve known pastors who resent truth-tellers because they disturb their status quo – a kind of coma that is their ‘church life.’ This is a degree of godliness with0ut real life or vision. Treadmill religion is popular in institutionalism. Genuine vision and Godliness is a threat to it.
SANCTIFYING WHAT WE KNOW
We can make holiness our religion. But there’s more to life than living to pump up what we already believe. Life has no limits because God is unlimited. Karl Baath recognises this when he writes,
“Another kind of wonder assumes control over a man when he takes up the subject of theology. Certainly tainly this amazement also obliges a man to wonder and compels him to learn. But in theological wonder it is a sheer impossibility that he might one day finish his lessons, that the uncommon might become common, that the new might appear old and familiar, that the strange might ever become thoroughly domesticated. If a man could domesticate this wonder, he would not yet have taken the step into theology, or he would already have stepped out of it again. Man is never dismissed from the wonder that forms the sound root of theology.” (1)
If we are stuck in the law it’s possible that we died years ago. The advances we think we have made a flowers we put on the grave of the stagnated self. Theology is the knowledge of God and ourselves in that knowledge. This is a ‘knowledge’ that goes beyond marks on paper and positions to be maintained or legitimised. It’s the knowledge that is ours when we have our being in God – not near God but interwoven with Him in our inheritance of oneness.
When Christ is our life we are more than just human. We are part of God – son and daughters and woven into the Holy Family.
You can live as tree of life in a cycle of infinite growth. Then again you can be a bonsai because you have chosen live in what you know and find your identity in what you are not – a worker and a slave. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be willing to be lead all the way and forever open to new revelations of God and new wonders of life. Here we are growing trees and fruitful vines – profitable servants and sons who rightly divide the word of truth.
(1) Karl Barth. Evangelical Theology: An Introduction (Kindle Locations 709-713). Kindle Edition.
* Not talking pantheism here. Talking in incarnation.