For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers … -- Hebrews 2:11
Friday, September 26, 2014
Ye Are Gods
St. Augustine, commenting on Psalm 2, said, "God makes of sons of men sons of God, because God hath made of the Son of God the Son of man."
Obviously, we need to have respect for God and not be presumptuous. At the same time, though, Scripture gives us reason to think that our God is a loving, caring, even playful Father. The phrase “have one origin” is often translated simply “of one”. Both Christ and man come of the same source and, in the Incarnation, God took on the nature of humanity. Moreover, from the very beginning man was made in the image and likeness of God, that is, man was given the same nature, only bound and finite as opposed to infinite. Adam was supreme in his sphere, under his Father.
The Fall corrupted us to the extent that God could no longer have communion or walk with man, except in the case of a few specifically chosen individuals. We are all, however, reconciled by the Cross wherein the fallen nature is nullified, the nature of Christ Himself is imparted to us, and we are accepted in Him.
Just thinking what comes next scares me because it traverses a very high, narrow and precarious path. The abyss that yawns at the edge of the trail calls constantly to the arrogant, appealing relentlessly to our innate hubris. You can be as gods, it says. Throw yourself off the top of the temple, it says. If, nonetheless, we overcome our spiritual vertigo and keep walking on this ledge, the reward is great.
Jesus could have had an earthly kingdom. He knew it. His disciples sensed it, and they kept expecting it and hounding Him about it. Right up to the end, the Lord could have said, Enough! He could have stepped out and taken over. A lot of people thought He should have done that, and even today, there are many who cannot seem to understand why He went through what He did. Jesus walked that ledge.
The world doesn’t have to be such a bad place – if we understand that it is temporary and transitory. It is the living edge of creativity. Life is meant to be poured out, not hoarded. There is no reason to live in fear. We don’t welcome suffering, but we can’t allow ourselves to be held back by it either. We don’t have to “make something of ourselves” or seek fame and fortune. We refuse to throw ourselves down and become magicians. Instead, we throw ourselves into the arms of the Lord; we abandon ourselves to God. We are no longer in bondage to the fear of death or anything else.
No matter how much of your life you pour out, the vessel is never going to be emptied. This jar of clay will be emptied, broken, and eventually left behind like the husk of a seed sown, but a new and more capacious receptacle awaits us.
If that all that is true, how do Christians “burn out”? It happens. It’s happened to me, and I can speak only for myself. I was pouring from the wrong source. I listened to the siren-song of the abyss, and I had a mighty rough landing. It’s a long, hard climb back up. It’s been made harder, perhaps, by the bombardment of media and popular culture and what we might call the Oprah-fication of the Church.
Despite all the difficulties, we are the children of God. He is our Father. As we surrender to Him, absolutely and unconditionally, the Lord Himself will lead us safely along that precipice to our place of rightful inheritance and authority. Accept no substitutes.