Sunday, August 23, 2009

Experiencing Jesus

The experience of Jesus in Christian worship and discipleship is not primarily 'spiritual'--whatever that means--but sensory, corporeal, bodily, tangible, enfleshed, incarnate, and immediate.

An overemphasis on so-called spiritual or heavenly aspects eviscerates the power and import of faith. It turns us inward and enforces purity of life or experience as condition for grace. It also demarcates what is of God and what is not in a way that belies the Biblical witness. Rob Bell famously says, "Everything is spiritual." The material things of life are used by God throughout the Old Testament, Jesus in the New, and the Spirit in history to convey grace and life.

To treat God--Father, Son, or Holy Spirit--as that which can only be apprehended internally denies the importance and validity of Incarnation and Crucifixion, as well as the goodness of the Creation. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writes, "By virtue of the Creation and, still more, of the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see." May the sacredness of all things created, redeemed, and sanctified by God lead us further into the grace of Jesus.

No comments: