Dispatch One Hundred Sixty

Posted: August 5, 2015 in Thirty-Sixth Bundle
Tags: , , , , , , ,

JOHN 15:9-17

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

The mystical theology of the Fourth Gospel provides a valuable corrective to our normal tendency of thinking of God as some external being, up and away from the level of everyday ordinary experience. While there certainly is in this tradition an acknowledgment of divine otherness – that is to say, an awareness of God as neither reducible to the world nor essentially knowable by the categories of the mind – it is understood in terms of mystery, not distance and location.

This appreciation of the essential mystery of God, along with the sense of God as transcending local conditions of space, time, and language, was the New Testament expression of the revolution that had begun nearly a thousand years before.

In this tradition of early mystical Christianity, “Father” was a reference metaphor for the divine reality that underlies, creates, and encompasses existence itself. To abide in the Father as Jesus did, and to abide in the love of Jesus as his disciples were invited to do, was more than merely being in relationship with God.

To abide in God is to dwell in the divine life, to find rest for the soul, and to receive one’s existence in freshness and gratitude with every breath and pulse. Such an organic connection and deep identity of the believer with the Holy Spirit opens an unsuspected Aladdin cave of the spiritual life. There, deep within the wealth of grace and peace, we find strength and meaning and lasting joy.

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