Brian’s Reflection: Friday, August 19, 2011
You must descend from your head into your heart.
At present your thoughts of God are in your head.
And God Himself is, as it were, outside you, and
so your prayer and other spiritual exercises remain
exterior. Whilst you are still in your head, thoughts
will not easily be subdued but will always be whirling
about, like snow in winter or clouds of mosquitoes
Theopan the Recluse 1815-1894
I’ll be preaching about this on Sunday; the Gospel reading is about Jesus asking, “who do people say the Son of Man is?” And Peter’s response: “You are the Messiah, the Son of God”. I’ll be helping us to explore what all this means.
But I want to deal with a critical point here. And that is this: God cannot be “outside you” and be real.
There is no separation between the “God” of which human beings have conceived and ourselves. Jesus prayed that there would be Oneness between God and us, as there was between Him and His Heavenly Father; it is presented in the Gospel of John as Jesus’ deepest longing.
As long as God remains “outside”, God is not real. We know this when we stop “thinking” about God and we “connect” with God, become bonded with God.
But there is another more radical dimension to this, and it is this: God cannot be real until we understand that we and God are the same thing. God is given Life when any human being glimpses the truth that God is born when God is incarnated in any human heart. That is why Theophan says what he says about descending from our head into our heart ….. and why God must be, mythologically speaking, “born of the Virgin Mary”. God can only exist at the core of you and me.
God cannot manifest until we experience the moment Peter had: “You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”. This has nothing to do with church politics! - with the establishment of a church and a church hierarchy. Peter suddenly understood that Jesus was a full human being created in God’s image – and that so was he. Peter knew at that moment that Jesus had saved him from living a limited, truncated Life. And hence he saw Jesus as the Messiah, God’s Anointed Messenger. I think it is clear in the Scripture that if Jesus saw Himself as the “Messiah”, it was as this sort of Messiah, Saviour, a Giver of the Gift of Live and not a political or military one.
Jesus is You and I become whole. When we “see” that, we have the “keys of the kingdom”. In that Kingdom, we can unlock wholeness for all.