O, it’s true, I needed a saviour. Who doesn’t, when one's own thoughts condemn them? Who among us loves to hear the one we love retract the affirmation we give them, recanting all we know to be true of them. Does it not break the heart and leave one bereft, grieving for the pain of another that would discount the beauty of their own humanity? Even the worst parent among us, if a child asked for bread, would give not a stone, but bread. Instinctively we desire to sustain each other, love each other. But, humans… built piles of stones, and put upon them: bread, and bulls, and rams, and birds, and in some cases, their own children. For what? To get the positive affirmation of the best of Fathers. To attempt connection outwardly with one who had already breathed connection into them: Breath that bound body and soul together in life energy, flowing in and out, uniting them with himself and all that is, animating, granting authority, bestowing beauty, splendour, character, the ability to love.
And be loved.
It’s the pivotal word in the story of us, really. We confuse it with like. A lot. Or being especially special. We think it always needs a reason. It can’t just be a deep seated understanding. A place of comfortable rest. A given. We also see the displeasure of another at our misunderstood actions and assume love has fled like a doe in the woods. But love is not so. Especially not that between parent and child. It says: You. Are. Mine. Divine declaration of personhood, that, because we do not yet know the personality of the individual. How can you? Their only language is silence and cries, and the ability to clutch and grip. A baby cannot create reasons for our affection, they just Are. Of. Us. Innately born into community, belonging. Set within family. How is it we think creation stopped mirroring the love of the Creator? Why do we think the gospel truth of our unique inception in one magnificent mind was somehow undoable by the strength of one man’s insecurity? All men mired for eternity. Cast aways desperately sending up flares, hoping to be rescued; mostly from each other, if we are honest. Scared of Love entering the room of our shame, in which we embrace self loathing and then wonder why it is so difficult to connect. We expect that everyone else, as they express their own insecurities through judgement, naturally sees us as we see ourselves.
Now we see through a glass, darkly. Shadows in a mirror. All of us donning the veil of mourning, grieving the loss of our humanity together, and yet independently, as if only we suffer. That too is a guilty pleasure, because we compare our pain to that of another, and realize it could be o, so much worse. We groan, we reach, blindly hoping in our darkness that light will dawn. And it does. The trouble is, we saw it like a halo behind us when we looked in a mirror, and rather than bursting forth from within, it was allowed to only illuminate our shadows. We were handed our birth certificate, pre printed with all of the details of our origin stamped with the approval of heaven. All of this in the person of Christ, made obvious to us by the groans and desires of our own prophecies… not of what the Father would put him through, but what our misunderstandings would lead us to do to him because he did not come to change our religion, but rather to render all religion in all time unnecessary, void, useless. If he had come to change our religion, the leaders might have followed him without needing to slay him. But he pointed out the futility of their office. He told people that the kingdom of God was within them. He took away the “special” status of the jews and made them one with everyone around them. He stole their victim status and their own class system. Anyone could be an active part of the family, even the unclean.
Jesus didn’t have to die to dismantle religion. He died because he did. To those under the law, a picture was needed to bring a system to a close. Law, and intellect require closure, sense, understanding by way of its own definitions. But to those never under the law, the crucifixion would actually have been optional. The birth of the tangible gift of love and grace would have been enough to see the One who is, the only glass which does not reflect us darkly, veiled by our own shame. I think this is why Paul can speak so glibly of the “unknown” God being the one they sought, without feeling the need to first correct their belief system, and why the gospel can be seen in creation, placed in the obvious view, for anyone with spirit eyes.
Humanity, in its inception, is good, connected, one. That has always been the perception of the Maker. In the Person of Jesus, we were given the opportunity to see our own potential. One prayer he prayed for us: that we would experience our oneness. Our unity. Our irrevocable In-being. In our origin is the very secret of life. All we need is there. My fears, my shame, my sorrow, my guilt; all garments, torn like a veil, allowing the light to pass through me. All I need for life and godliness. In endless supply. Even the first of us to manifest belonged. Perfectly fashioned of earth and heaven. Flawlessly imagined. Animated and then revealed, and given one to behold and affirm this beauty. Community.
One does not have to believe that the Way Christ pointed out was to believe his sacrifice was enough in the sense of penal substitution to have reason to celebrate Jesus. I don’t have to believe that the Maker orchestrated such a beautiful incarnation merely to appease his own temper. But to see those he loved returning his gaze, and meeting his eyes without the shame their religions insist they carry… for that he would allow us to do horrible things to the One who lived from the inside out. Never losing connection with Christ within… that Deep which calls to Deep in the roar of the waterfall. Christ our life. Putting to death that which stood between our perception and our true reality.
Honour the sacrifice this Christmas. Don’t change your religion. Lose it altogether. One cannot “get into a kingdom” they were born in. They simply are. Especially when the mighty Fortress the Maker is, is also the very force of Love that holds all that exists inside himself. The inescapable Christ Universal. Stop looking through the glass darkly, break it all together.