Oct 292013
 

Grace is the outpouring of God’s unconditional love, literally without conditions, which is to say without requirements and without limits.  Beyond welcoming and accepting it, there is nothing anyone must do or not do, or believe or not believe, or profess or not profess to receive it.  It is as universal as the sun, moon, and stars that shine on all people, as ever-present as the earth beneath us all.  And, as with the air around us all, we can hold our breath as long as we wish, but it’s still there for us when we’re ready to breathe again.

The New Testament is commonly understood as telling the story that Jesus was born to be the one and only channel of Grace into this world.  Yet, if Jesus is the one and only channel of Divine Love, even if he is considered the most necessary channel among many others, then that love would no longer be unconditional.  Instead, we can understand the New Testament to tell a story about just how powerful Grace can be, with Jesus showing us the way to let Grace flow through us to others, and thus more fully realize our very lives as Grace in action.

With these understandings, the only meaningful questions about Divine Grace are about whether or not a person welcomes, accepts, and expresses it as freely, as unconditionally, as it is given.   Of course, none of us do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t grow in that direction, if we want to do so.

Agape

May 232012
 

(Some of us at ChristianMystics.com have recently been talking about Rev. Brian Robertson, who could be called the founder of our community.   I liked Brian’s forthright and unapologetic style, even if it was more confrontational than my own.  But I found myself inspired to write something that, somewhere along the line, caused me to chuckle as I realized I was reminding myself of Brian.  So, this one’s for you, Brian, wherever you are.)

That’s right, love is more important than Jesus.  Do you find that shocking?  Do you find it blasphemous?  I can understand if you do, but everything in my heart and mind tells me Jesus would agree.  Sure, there are words attributed to Jesus that make it sound like believing in him is the most important thing.  But what does it really mean to believe in him?  Does it mean to confess his name and praise him with our words and prayers?  Does believing in him mean going to church, tithing, and learning the Bible? Does it mean accepting particular theological doctrines about him as truths?

What does Jesus say it means to believe in him?  In my view, there should be no need to quote chapter and verse here.  It should be common knowledge among Christians that Jesus taught believing in him means doing as he did, loving as he loved.  When asked what the greatest law was, he didn’t talk about having historical knowledge or theological understandings of him; he simply and concisely talked about love.  When he talked about the judgment day, he didn’t say the sheep welcomed into Heaven’s fold would be those who called out his name and confessed him as savior; he said they would be those who genuinely, and thus actively, cared for others.

With all of this in mind, it makes sense to me that knowing the heart of Jesus, knowing the love that his followers said is God, is more important than knowing the story or name of Jesus of Nazareth.  Actually, in the deepest sense, love is his name and his story.  The extent to which our hearts are awakened to love is the extent to which we are one with the heart of Jesus; it is the extent to which his spirit lives in and through us, no matter what name we give to that spirit.  There is nothing about Christian mysticism more important to me than this.

Maranatha

Agape