There are levels of communion between people and different kinds of deep level communion with different personalities. Different people awaken different parts of the self that have been lying in wait, listening for an opportunity to spring to life when touched by the glory of some other person who is speaking from their real self. Speaking of this authentic self, Paul writes,
‘But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favour on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace’ 1 Cor 15.10 NLT. Here Paul is talking about Christ His life.
BORN AGAIN HAS DIFFERENT NAMES
Sensitivity to depths of life comes easily to us when we are who we actually are and not some construct of the self-made man. Such people of the latter kind can be dormant or boorish. The merely dormant are better placed to be reborn as who they are, than the boorish who are for the present season contained in the bubble of their self-importance, which ironically arises from the fact that they really do not feel that they are important enough. Some of these will seek an identity in their own accomplishments and others will seek an identity in a religious community, a sect or a cult.
We grow progressively into our real selves when Christ alone is our life.
It’s a palatable truth that we can find a deep communion with many people who are different to ourselves and others who are walking in the same part of the journey if we are living in God and not in the law. The law constructs layers around the real self. Christ in us undoes them revealing God to us and us to ourselves.
Jesus said, ‘All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ Matt 11.27 NIV.
We become privy to this knowing when Christ and not the law or religion is our life. Such knowing is both intimacy with God and union with God and ourselves. This is of course the source of genuine community. Just as there is a real self, so there is a real community of the saints that is not contrived. Its binding is not common beliefs but a genuine union with God.
The law is a relic of the alienated Adam who has been put to death in Christ so that we are made one with God in Christ, the result being that the Christ who was always one with God is one with us. Jesus is living this life in us as our life so that we are one with God.
The effect of this is that we are one with ourselves and one with all who are discovering their real self and living freely in the adventure of the exploration of their real identity. These are quite different to those who live in a constant repetition of themselves.
The effect of law based religion is that we will never have deep communion with ourselves or with friends who are still enclosed in law’s layers of religion. Cynthia Bourgeault touches on this as she writes,
“Of the torrents of words and feeling that passed between us, I can remember only one sentence—when he suddenly took both my hands in his and said, “It’s all so simple, so very simple…” But what remains with me vividly to this day is my recollection of a circle of light that shone out from Rafe and enfolded us both, and the deep sense of comfort and familiarity between us, as if we had somehow always known each other and were merely resuming a conversation that had gone on from eternity.” (1) This is not the province of saintliness. This is the inheritance of all who will take the risk of abandoning religion to live in God alone.
LIGHT AND LIFE
Simple it is, but as profound as Christ as you and as us, so that we enjoy together the kind of companionship and amity that is the fellowship of the trinity. We are one with them and they with us. The mystery of this life in God, which is not at all a life in religion, is that we are one with God, yet growing into the fullness and glory of ourselves which is so different to the repetitious reinvention and contraction of the self that occurs when the law has any effect on our life.
It is this community of real selves that are the sons and daughters of God in spirit and in truth: The church that Jesus builds without human hands.
(1) Bourgeault, Cynthia. Love is Stronger than Death (p. 3). Monkfish Book Publishing. Kindle Edition.