The Other Side of the Cross Part 4
John R Gavazzoni
Thousand Oaks, CA
We refer to some people as "people persons." They are people who find their greatest fulfillment in interaction with others. Possessions, challenges, careers, hobbies, intellectual pursuits, ambition, all these and other things take a back seat for this type of individual. They are energized by human contact and relationship. Although there are neurotic forms of this personality type, by and large they are, in psychological terms, healthier and happier than most.
Our God is a people God. He is relationship-oriented. In fact, He is relational at the core of His Being. I dare to say that He is not simply a God disposed to cultivating relationships but He is relationship itself. He is relational because He is relationship. Why do we in the Christian tradition refer to His plurality as trinity rather than family? It is because we are disposed to de-personalize God.
Since all things are to be summed up in Christ (Eph 1:10), then all things are not really things; they are dimensions of Him who is the image of God (2Cor 4:4). Martha, Lazarus' sister, had this problem (John 11:1-44). She needed a revivification for her brother. She knew Christ could provide IT for her. When confronted by the statement of Christ that her brother "shall rise again" she retreats into her perception of reality by immediately affirming the orthodox belief that Lazarus would rise again in the resurrection on the last day.
Her mind thought in terms of someTHING Christ could do for her NOW, or second best, in the FUTURE EVENT known as the resurrection. To this Jesus responds in the magnificence of "I Am" and assures her that resurrection is at hand for He IS the resurrection and the life. He doesn't simply work resurrection miracles. He doesn't simply appear on the scene to raise a body from the dead. He IS resurrection.
In Him is not only revivification, He IS THE resurrection and THE life, and death has no power over Him or those in relationship with Him. Martha understood the "shall" of Jesus statement that her brother would rise again as indicative of what God would do in the future. Jesus understood the "shall" as expressive of the imperative that lay in the truth that His Father is the living God who gives life to all things.
In the proper use of language, indeed, "shall" may refer to something that will occur in the future, but from the perspective of God, on the other side of the cross, where we, having the mind of Christ, share in that perspective, God says, "It shall be because I AM and I AM in relationship with you and my relationship with you dictates and assures your relationship with me so that what I AM is not a matter of something available to you in the future, it's what IS, with US. I AM past, present and future NOW. What you have understood as my past accomplishments and things I will yet do are resident in Me in union with you NOW."
The Lord has been shaking the saints of late to shake off of them all their precious "bye and bye" sentiments and insisting that we repent and know Him as all in all NOW. But frankly, though we make some brave statements about this truth, this is new ground for us, strange new territory and the natural mind is in a state of complete frustration in trying to really comprehend such a thing.
My God, what would we do without our eschatological charts? We are finding ourselves experiencing intellectually intolerable upheavals within, as Christ replaces our mind with His, and declares His judgment that "some day" is no longer an acceptable consideration in our dialogue with the Eternal One.
Invariably, when we hope for what God will do for us some day, we turn inwardly (but not inwardly enough) to determine what changes must come to pass before God can fully work on our behalf and through us to others. We become spiritually ego-centric. God's work is perceived as dependent on the time necessary to effect the required changes in us.
Some would think to pass on the torch of that mentality, but it is a torch whose fire is nearly out, and when passed on, will shortly contain only cold embers. On the other side of the Cross, which is not the other side, but the side where we REALLY live, Jesus has completed us, having made us, in Himself, One New Man, a new creation with no loose ends left to be tied up. This is not a work done to us, it is our share in the work of the Father which Christ IS. We are complete in the One who is completeness.
You may protest that St. Paul and others definitely indicate a work in progress, that is yet to be complete, but my response to you is that, by some definition, scripture always speaks in a way that accommodates the cosmology of the day while teasing us with a peek at reality that goes beyond that adolescent cosmology.
While affirming an absolutely finished work in Christ, Paul relieves the pressure on our natural mind as we "look through a glass darkly" (1Cor 13:12), or better "in a cloudy mirror." He writes in a way that literally permits us to avoid, temporarily, the awful Presence of "I AM" within and among us, the "I AM," who ultimately allows for no sense of need or lack on the part of His sons and daughters.
Paul is acknowledging that even his inspired words are incomplete and lacking and that we should hitch our wagon to the implications found in his glorious statements concerning the state of being of the Christ, Head and Body, and repent of the ignorant stubbornness that insists, actually, that He, corporately, is not perfect, and that we must give diligence to do our part to make up the lack.
There is a parallel between the natural and the spiritual. A knowledge beyond us, as Einstein testified, is thrusting itself upon us demanding, with a demand that carries it's own grace of self fulfillment, that we discard our former childish way of thinking. We saints know something that Einstein didn't know. We totally agree that this supernal knowledge transcends us yet He, who is the Wisdom of God, indwells us sharing with us His very mind, the mind of Christ.
When I was a young man it was acknowledged that barely a half dozen men in the world understood the theories of Albert Einstein. Today, much of scientific pursuit and technology depend upon and proceed from his premises. Now, in the field of quantum physics, discoveries are coming forth that challenge even the conclusions of that remarkable man.
Where do we find a spiritual parallel? Here I can only speak in the broadest of terms, for I have absolutely no training that would qualify me to go into any detail. But I can say this. We have been led right up to and into the conclusion that
(1) time is certainly not what we have thought it to be,
(2) that God Himself not only created all things, but constitutes their existence and
(3) in the discovery of, what is to us, apparent chaos underlying all cosmic order,
we are beginning to see a perfect Unity that beckons us to recognize Him in His own Otherness, and nothing more.
If you will, give heed to the dreams and visions of your fellow saints and to the increasing mystical experiences of brothers and sisters in Christ who are seeing into this realm and who, if you are enabled to connect intuitively with them, are expressing in a much purer form what I have tried to say here.
Stay tuned for future serious, seminal samplings.
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John R Gavazzoni
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