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Meeting and Manifesting the Divine Within

By The Rev. Dr. James D. Findlay

James FindlayAlthough the Lectionary Texts in the coming weeks offer us strength and encouragement, especially the early church sermons in the Book of Acts and the admonitions in 1 Peter to persevere in suffering, I find that the familiar yet ever-fresh texts of John 14 and 17 offer opportunities for new and overflowing blessings.  For me, they provide us with words from Jesus’ mouth which guide us into deep and powerful communion with him and the Creator who sent him.

The constant theme of these texts is that, when we see Jesus, we see the Father (14:9).  As a human being, Jesus lived in complete union with God.  As he states so clearly, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (14:10, 11).  Some of us, like Philip, may have a hard time fathoming this (14:9).  But Jesus is, for us who follow him in faith, a window into the divine.  And though a human being claiming to be a god, psychologically speaking, verges on insanely inflated egoism or religious blasphemy, this is not what Jesus means.  Rather, he speaks of “in-dwelling,” of God being within him and he being inside God.  Most wondrously, this is a promise and a guide for us!  We, too, can dwell in God – and be blessed to be in Jesus, showing forth his glory (17:10).

Is this our own case of bloated self-importance?  No!  It does not come about through any single short-term experience.   Instead, it is the result of careful, constant, committed cultivation.  It is a deeply spiritual process, in which we are changed by how we live, pray, meditate, dream, and grow.  Oneness with the Divine through Christ only happens when we live a life of ongoing faithfulness, day after day, year after year, prayer upon prayer, punctuated with many times of claimed silence and contemplation.  We walk through the world, knowing that the least of our brothers and sisters are the Presence of Christ among us: God in our midst.  We work on ourselves, peeling back the ways of the world each day, so that the light of God can emerge from the deep darkness and nurturing ever-nearness of our souls.  And we savor, over and over, the ways God is manifested to us: in Creation, in the struggle for justice and peace, in trial and rejoicing, in community and solitude, in Word and Sacrament.  Each step of the Way, we discern more and more that Jesus is always present with us, whether or not we understand clearly the events in our lives or the world.  But we know he is on the Path ahead of us, and that He, as Incarnate Divine Love, is the Way (14:3, 6).

Jesus invites us to trust, to believe, to look for him, to know that we see him again and again, even when he most appears to be absent.  He prays for us.  And as we overhear him, and see his eyes lifted to heaven, we are deeply comforted: we belong to God, today and for all time (17:10-11).  Whatever situation we may face, we have an Advocate, a Defender, who will always bless us and keep us, stand with us and be within us (14:16).

May our spiritual lives become our whole lives.  May we constantly look inward – and see Jesus there, and through him our own Divine Nature, our Christ-Self.  Our Hindu brothers and sisters say in Sanskrit, “Tat Tvam Asi”: That You Are.  Jesus speaks us to of the same mystical Truth: “I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (14:20).
Note from author: Please feel free to contact me via e-mail at sleight_of_time@yahoo.com.  I wish to engender a conversation among us about how the Word and Spirit are active in our lives, and how we might nurture these gifts further. I also am happy to work with groups and individuals on how to nurture the Word and Spirit among us. Please visit my Facebook Page at   www.facebook.com/pages/Spiritual-Accompaniment-Services/219750211459838  as another way of being in this sacred conversation. I look forward to hearing from many of you soon!

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