Monday, June 3, 2019


Jesus prays that all of us may be one 
just like Jesus and the Father.
Obviously we are not the same.
We live in different bodies.
We have different stories,
different thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

But, underneath all the differences,
      might we be connected by something we have 
     down deep in common?
Might that matter for how we see each other
and treat each other?

Jesus says, he lives in us – all of us.
We all have the same Christ living inside.
This is a holy mystery.
But understanding even a small 
piece of it would be life-changing.

So: where do we find Christ inside ourselves?
In the midst of all the thoughts and feelings
            racing, chattering, and swirling in the chaos of myself,
                        where do I find Christ?

It’s John’s Gospel that says Christ lives in us;
            so let’s see how John describes Christ.
Then we’ll at least recognize who he is 
            if we catch a glimpse of him.
John draws us the wanted poster for Jesus. 

In John, our Lord isn’t an angry prophet.
He’s always the serene, balanced, observer,
the embodiment of wisdom.
 When they brought the adulterous woman
            and asked whether she should be stoned,
Jesus did not jump up and shout, You hypocrites.
He sat silently writing in the dust with his finger
            then without even looking up he said, 
Let the one . . . who is without sin
                        cast the first stone.

When the mob came to arrest him in the Garden,
Jesus went out to meet them and politely asked, 
            Who are you looking for?
Jesus, they answered. He said, You’ve found him.
 At his trial and crucifixion, Jesus remained balanced.
In John’s Gospel, Christ is the eye of the storm,
            as T. S. Eliot put it, the still point of the turning world.

There is something stable at the center of reality.
So much is constantly shifting and changing
            around us and inside us.
Things are always falling apart.
Yet 14 billion years after the Big Bang,
            we still have an orderly cosmos.

Something preserves a balance,
            holds things in order.
There’s a sanity inside the madness,
            a compassion inside the violence.
That’s what John means by Christ 
            – the Christ who became flesh in Jesus.

This serene center, this Christ-wisdom dwells in us
at a level deeper than our conscious minds.
Psychologist, John Firman, said that each of us contains
            a deeper source of wisdom and guidance,
             a source that operates beyond the control 
                        of the conscious personality. . .  .
He means our personal center 
which is so connected to the center of the universe
            that they are truly the same thing.
In the 14thCentury, Meister Eckhart, said,
            there is something in the soul so closely akin to God
                        that it is already one with him.

Parts of our personalities split away from our center.
We are not always true to ourselves.
That’s where we get into trouble.
 Firman said that our psychological distress
            comes from disregarding that deep wisdom 
                        we have inside.
But the central part of us
            is already one with Christ.
The wise serenity of Christ arises 
            from his capacity for a special kind of love.
We usually think of love as an emotionally intense approval
            of someone who is what we need them to be
                        or how we think they ought to be.
That kind of love can flip in the blink of an eye
            when the person does not live up to our expectations.

But Christ – both in the universe and in us – 
practices a different kind of love.
John’s word for it is Agape.
It means appreciating someone for just for being here.
It doesn’t judge. It just accepts.
That love is the force that keeps this world turning
and sustains our life.
There is such peace in that, such balance,
            to be rooted in a love that does not shift,
            in which, as it says in James, 
            there is no variableness, no shadow of turning.

We heard about such inner peace last Sunday.
This week our lessons take us further.
Christ does not live in us just
            to lower our Xanax expenses.
Paying disciplined attention to Christ in us
            changes our attitude and our actions
                        toward other people.
Because Christ lives in us, we can love his way
and that kind of love heals, redeems,
and transforms the world.

Yes, we can love people the world rejects,
            but more than that -- 
if we pay disciplined attention 
to  the still point in ourselves,
we can be the still point for each other. 

In Acts, after the earthquake,
            the jailer is about to kill himself,
Paul calls out, from the innermost cell,[i]
Calm down. We’re still here.
That’s the voice of Christ and we can say it to ourselves
            and to each other in any situation,
            Calm down. We’re still here.

When we are true to the core of our being,
            when we are true to Christ,
                        that’s precisely what we do.
 Oh, we forget more often than we remember.
We forget who we are, forget Our Lord.
We judge and condemn each other.

But Christ is still here at the center.
We can choose to remember,
            choose to look at ourselves and each other
                        through his eyes.
We can love the whole creation the way 
            the Father loves Christ, and Christ loves us –     
             unconditionally, just for being here.

On Sunday, we pray and sing together 
– eat one bread, drink one cup – 
      to remember Christ in us,
to remember that we all have Christ in us
and we are each members of his One Body.
We gather in that no-judgement love.

It is no coincidence that as Church attendance
            has declined our political life
            has descended into chaos 
with volleys of fanatical hatred and contempt
            as fear and loathing displace 
            facts and reason.

Might this be the time for Christians
            to say serenely but right out loud 
to a world gone mad,
                        Calm down. We are still here?

[i]Signifying the center of the self.