We can live a methodical life in a Belief System. We can live in the joy and the ecstasy of life as it is meant to be savoured when Jesus is our life. The mystery of life is that life is the person of Jesus. Jesus joins us to life, propels us into life and draws us into the joy of life. Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. Nothing pedestrian about our Lord. This wine wasn’t non-alcoholic. It was what it was – a drink of jubilation.
SONG AND DANCE Last year I enjoyed a wonderful musical about the life and work of Nelson Mandela. It was a joyous celebration of song, dance and humanity – a hymn to Freedom. I am too old now to run much and incapable of the joyous athleticism of the dancers I saw on the stage. But I can dance in my heart. I rejoice in the creation; I find nourishment in a landscape or an ancient tree. The play was a wonderful presentation of life in its own right. But it was also a parable of ‘setting captives free.’*
RELEASE FROM DARKNESS
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners’ Isa 61.1 NIV. Don’t expect much of the Spirit of the Lord, if what we are promoting retains people in the coma in which they have learned to live. In Adam all are dead. In Christ all are alive. This is a very strong affirmation of the new covenant.
We can invest much time and effort and propagating our false self. This is the self of externality, the self of the world that is not actually the real you. Jesus urged us not to be seduced into investing our efforts in this false self because this is the way to dull our spirit and lose our soul.
The unfortunate thing about this betrayal of ourselves is that in not really knowing life, we promote forms of the Christian life that are without spirit and life. Lacking spirit and life because the truth about us is that we cannot see. If Madiba The Musical tells us anything, it is that we will never find ourselves unless we are willing to die to all that we know ‘as us.’
SUCCESS IN BEING YOU
Jesus is less interested in what qualifications we have and the ‘success’ that might like to think we have gained and more interested in what He came to die for – and now lives for: To give us great success in being our real selves.
‘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.
The beauty of holiness is that it is not an agenda or a list. It is you. Well it is you since the cross and Pentecost. It is you since the reign of the knowledge of good and evil has been put to death and life has gained full reign in in you through Jesus Christ.
BRANCHES AND FRUIT OF THE VINE
Rites and religious motions are extraneous since the cross. The life of God becomes your life because Jesus lives in you and becomes you – which is what John meant by Christ come in your flesh. In a manner of speaking Christ has become every man, every woman. He has become us all. He is all and in all when we agree that He is our life. Through Jesus, God has incarnated Himself in us – so that as sons of God we are the manifestation of God as Peter and Ruth and Simone.
IT IS YOU
You can dull this life by living from religion, the law and any old covenant delineation of your relationship with God. The common fact of all these is SEPARATION – Separation that is not real but is imagined and lived in by neglect, religious obstinacy or just plain folly. As harmless as such doctrine might appear it’s held in place by false, teaching, brain-washing and the spirit of anti-christ.
When Christ is your life, you are the manifestation of His life. He’s not a stuffed shirt. If we are not experiencing a fair degree of joy, even in our bad seasons, what we have cannot be Him. Probably just a tare. The infinity of this Christ life as you and its total efficacy for you has been called the vicarious humanity of Jesus. This is to say that He is everything for us all. And He is in you. Richard Rohr reports,
TO BE IN JESUS IS TO BE YOU
“I was told personally by the leadership sisters in Calcutta that Mother Teresa never tried to convert a Muslim or a Hindu to Catholicism. She told the sisters that their job was not to talk about Jesus or even promote Jesus, but to be Jesus!” (1)
You can be this with Jesus as you. You will never be this in religion.
There are of course times to talk about Jesus and who He is for us as we are doing now. But the main fact is that in the Age of the Kingdom Jesus becomes us. It’s as bald as that. No, we are not clones of Jesus of Nazareth and we are not deity. (But we are sons of God). By His Spirit Jesus manifests as our flesh. That is, we give Jesus a face and a body that is us. This is Christ. multiplied and it is the way of the new creation. It is real because we have been joined to God.
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” John 14.20 NIV. This is the day we move from religion to sonship; from yearning to be a compilation of character traits to be a son/daughter because we are the manifestation of Jesus. We can have this now or bumble along in still-born forms of Christianity that hide what Jesus has achieved and degrade our real faces – faces that are really the expression of Jesus Christ.
* Some accuse Mandela of terrorism. Interesting that colonial powers killed thousands of people to maintain their empires, yet ‘terrorist’ is a label they apply to others and never to themselves.
(1) Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (p. 100). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.