PART OF THE WHOLE SHEBANG
The gospel of John differs from Matthew, Mark, and Luke in that it seeks to say more about the impact Jesus as "the Christ" than it does about the historical Jesus. Theology more than eye-witness accounting governs the way the author of John writes. That is evident right from the start:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was
God ... all things were made through the Word
and without that Word was not
anything made that was
made." (John 1:1-3)"... and the Word became flesh
(in Jesus)" (vs.14).
There is a resonance here that is picked up by Saint Paul when he lifts up phrases like:
"He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all
creation, and in him (
Christ) all things hold together".
Paul's big invitation is for believers to live into and grow into their new creation "in Christ". Both Paul and John present a cosmic Christ for whom the earthly Jesus serves as an icon. Jesus shows us human being lived fully in the image of God. All God's children are invited to become and destined to become anointed sons or daughters since "Christ" means "God's anointed". And as "all things" hold together in Christ, then we are meant to find our belonging and reason for being as part of the whole web of life we know as creation.
Other faith traditions offer believers a similar path and purpose. The first peoples to populate North America already knew this in their blood and being. They imbibed and lived a spirituality of "All My Relations". When human beings become self-centred and ego-driven, they lose track of this and fail to be what they are called to be. When they acknowledge it and seek to truly live into it they are enacting their divine destiny. Christ is our map for that journey. The psychologist Carl Jung made that affirmation.
While our culture acknowledges "Mothers' Day" this weekend, churches in North America
and around the world celebrate "Christian Family Sunday". We are gradually awakening to the realization that our embrace needs to become more expansive. Our family "in Christ" is much larger than only those who use the faith-tag "Christian". Our family "in Christ" encompasses all God's children for there is only one global family of God and that family is part and parcel of the whole web of life called creation. God be with us as we seek to expand our friendship and companionship circles to more fully include "all our relations".
Other aboriginal people have developed practices similar to one commonly used by the Chochtaw nation. They begin every day, every encounter with a greeting we will use this Sunday, but which I encourage to use or somehow adapt as many times as we might choose. They say: "Good morning. Good morning. Good morning. You are loved. You are cared for. You are needed. You are valued. If no one has told you that you are, let me tell you my relative that you are. This world is a better place because you are in it. Thank you for who you are. Keep up the good work and remember, you are loved."
How's that for one way of acknowledging how "in Christ", all things hold together!