Thursday, July 17, 2008

Christ in all things...

Either you see the body of Christ everywhere or you don't see it. There are finally no divisions. But that is a mystical seeing that connects everything universally.

God is perfectly hidden in this material world. And for those who have learned how to see, God is perfectly revealed. God shines through all things. You want to kiss trees and honor what is.

You are even brought to tears sometimes by the least of the brothers and sisters because the divine image shines through so clearly.

Richard Rohr, from Creating Christian Community

To see Christ in all things seems both glorious and heartbreaking to me. If he is indeed in all things then he suffers in all things too. That is the terrible thing about the second half of Romans 8: the futility, the anguish of fallen creation is where Christ is. As Helen Waddell once pointed out, all the pain of the world is Christ's Cross; it wasn't just an event 2,000 or so years ago - it goes on.

Jesus is given to the world. He was chosen, blessed, and broken to be given. Jesus' life and death were a life and death for others. The Beloved Son of God, chosen from all eternity, was broken on the cross so that this one life could multiply and become food for people of all places and all times.

As God's beloved children we have to believe that our little lives, when lived as God's chosen and blessed children, are broken to be given to others. We too have to become bread for the world. When we live our brokenness under the blessing, our lives will continue to bear fruit from generation to generation. That is the story of the saints - they died, but they continue to be alive in the hearts of those who live after them - and it can be our story too...

Whenever we come together around the table, take bread, bless it, break it, and give it to one another saying: "The Body of Christ," we know that Jesus is among us. He is among us not as a vague memory of a person who lived long ago but as a real, life-giving presence that transforms us. By eating the Body of Christ, we become the living Christ and we are enabled to discover our own chosenness and blessedness, acknowledge our brokenness, and trust that all we live we live for others. Thus we, like Jesus himself, become food for the world.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

Christ in all things is Eucharist - his presence in the broken world is his presence in us. The Mass makes that manifest for each of us, makes him real, tangible, edible; and makes us able to be sent out into the world to live Christ, to ourselves be broken. I think this may be what Paul meant when he said so mysteriously that, "in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church." (Colossians 1.24)

Lord, if that is so, have mercy on us, for to live your life is to be crucified with you (Galatians 2.19) and that scares me, very much...


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Have you ever seen the 1950s movie On the Waterfront? It's about federal officials trying to break corruption in the Teamsters Union, and whether or not Marlon Brando will help them. Karl Malden plays a priest who gives a heart-breaking speech about crucifixion--that all the people suffering because of corruption and greed are another crucifixion. There is more to the speech, but that's the gist. It is an unusually insightful piece of theology to come out of Hollywood.

Seeing Christ's image in all of my brothers and sisters, well, that is an area where I am still growing.

Jan said...

This is so beautiful, Mike. I love where you wrote: "Christ in all things is Eucharist - his presence in the broken world is his presence in us."

Oh, to know this all the time!

St Edwards Blog said...

Mike we are on similar wavelengths. I posted on this today at the blog, same quote but slightly different take.

In the end it is all the same isn't it?

Either we see God or we do not.