22 Oct 2017
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger

15 Oct 2017
This Too Shall Pass

8 Oct 2017
The Simple Truth: Head, Heart and Hands

1 Oct 2017
Humility – Staying close to the ground

2 Jul 2017
Welcoming the Silence

25 Jun 2017
Always Uniting…

18 Jun 2017
Are you ready for harvest?

11 Jun 2017
Don’t Blame it on the Snake

4 Jun 2017
Words Beyond Words: Breath Beyond Breath

28 May 2017
Seeing with new eyes

14 May 2017
Grace, Gracious and Graceful

30 Apr 2017
A Time for war and a time for peace

23 Apr 2017
Faithful Doubting

16 Apr 2017
God became human so that we could become divine!

12 Mar 2017
Wind of the Spirit

12 Feb 2017
From the Mountainside: The Impossible Dream?

22 Jan 2017
Grounding our Life and Faith

25 Dec 2016
That Humanity should become Divine

11 Dec 2016
Joy is for Everyone

4 Dec 2016
The Mingling of Water and Spirit

27 Nov 2016
Living Fully in the Present Moment

16 Oct 2016
Persistence and Justice

9 Oct 2016
Gratitude and Thankfulness

2 Oct 2016
Standing in the Tragic Gap

25 Sep 2016
Rich Man, Poor Man

4 Sep 2016
The Gift of Freedom

21 Aug 2016
A Hidden Wholeness

14 Aug 2016
We all need wise words to live by

31 Jul 2016
When Less is More

24 Jul 2016
Developing Healthy Relationships

17 Jul 2016
Died Wise

10 Jul 2016
Meeting Strangers on the Road

3 Jul 2016
On the Road Again

29 May 2016
Faith is the Answer

22 May 2016
The Way of Wisdom

15 May 2016
Icons and Stained Glass Windows – Inner light

8 May 2016
Unity and Oneness

1 May 2016
A Hidden Wholeness

24 Apr 2016
Lest we forget: What?

17 Apr 2016
God became human so that we could become divine!

3 Apr 2016
Thank God for St Thomas!

27 Mar 2016
Living life’s great contradictions

20 Mar 2016
Message of Peace

13 Mar 2016
Living Fully, Loving Wastefully

6 Mar 2016
Come Home, all is forgiven

28 Feb 2016
Simply, leave it alone

21 Feb 2016
Why do we “kill” our prophets?

7 Feb 2016
Keeping your Head in the Clouds

Sermons

God became human so that we could become divine!

16 April, 2017 Easter Day 2017 By Rev Dr Christopher Page


"The Word of God became human so that we may learn from a man how
all humanity may become God." Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)

God became human so that we could become divine!
(Quote by Fr Athanasius 298–373)

 

God and Humanity
Part of the reason we stumble through life - or let me say part of the reason I stumble through life - is that I/we tend to live with the illusion that there is a perfect life somewhere out there that we can live. We can be filled with the ‘if only’s and the ‘what if’s of life. There is a passage in Matthew’s gospel that says in the King James Version of the Bible, “Be ye perfect as my Father who is in heaven is perfect.” 1

In my opinion, ‘perfect’ is an unfortunate word to use. The passage could be better translated, “Be ye complete as my father in heaven is complete.” Isn’t that what fullness and abundance is all about? To have lived a complete life, and let me say: I mean by that, that we have done right and wrong; good and bad; and been a saint and a sinner. I don’t think there is any life other than that kind of experience.

The second-century theologian St Irenaeus wrote, Gloria Dei est vivens homo! “The glory of God is [man] fully alive.” I have no problem with that because it fits with the central message of the gospel. And that is that God, the divine, is not separate from humankind; in fact, the human (and creation as well) flows through the divine and the divine flows through the human like the confluence of two great rivers becoming one.

It is interesting that until the fourth century many in the Christian faith held the view that the central purpose of Jesus’ teaching, his message and his life was to convince people that they were not separate from God.

  • "The Word of God became human so that we may learn from a man how all humanity may become God." ~Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)

  • “God became human so that we could become divine!” ~Fr Athanasius (298–373)

  • And to take a modern author who puts a different slant on it: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-10th April 1955)

But after the Council of Nicaea in 325AD, that language began to diminish and only Jesus the Christ could be referred to as both human and divine. And that is a great pity because when we are able to see ourselves as infused with the divine and embodying it in our humanity, we start to see ourselves and others very differently.

The story of the death and Resurrection of Jesus has been interpreted in many ways. Even within the 4 gospels and the writings of the Apostle Paul we can come up with a variety of ways of understanding it (if understanding is at all possible).

Unfortunately, in the hands of the philosophers and theologians (and particularly the early Greek philosophers) it has a very different outcome from that described by the poets and the mystics. Even the founder of Western Christianity, Augustine of Hippo, uses the language of love to describe the relationship between humanity and the divine: Deus intimior intimo meo, “God is more intimate to me than I am to myself.” This removes any separation between God and me. There is no longer a God out there who is trying to get in here!

Resurrection today
The Good Friday story is all about the body, the death and the cruelty of humanity. But the Easter story is all about the heart, the vision and imagination to see what can be. Marcus Borg, the biblical theologian, who sadly died recently and has had an enormous influence on contemporary faith, has attempted to give explanation to this transformation from Good Friday to Easter Day. This is what he says:

It is about the transformation of this world. Jesus was killed because of his passion for a different kind of world. Easter is about God’s “Yes” to what we see in Jesus. Easter is not about believing in a spectacular long ago event, but about participating in what we see in Jesus. Crucifixion and the tomb didn’t stop him. Easter is about saying “Yes” to the passion of Jesus. He’s still here and he is still recruiting."

And the poet and author Anaïs Nin wrote, “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are”. Those words echo even at the end of Mark’s story: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” Their heart, the centre of their being, had not yet grasped the vision.

The first followers of Jesus did not suddenly embrace this new message of transformation and new life. They needed to grieve the loss of the one they loved and then, as time passed, they saw a new way, not as they had seen it, but as they could now see it.

As with all changes and transformations, it has to do with me, not someone else and certainly not with those who have power in our world. Perhaps that was the greatest message Jesus gave:

  • Look at your own heart first. See the tight bud of possibility.

  • Imagine another way that the world could be and let that vision begin to flow through you.

  • And finally become that blossom which can emerge from the bud and spread its fragrance of love, joy and justice throughout the world.

The Human and the Divine together
So here comes the rub and perhaps the greatest turnabout since the fourth century AD. When I suffer, God suffers; when I am lonely and disillusioned, God participates in that with me; when my desire is forgiveness, compassion and reconciliation, the God in me reaches out to that divine presence in you. We are all connected not just through our humanity but through our divinity. And this is the great evolutionary process that is working its way throughout our beautiful and terrible world. And is there any other world in which we can live?

To live life fully is to both surrender to and embrace the beauty, the pain and the terror; and then strive toward a reconciliation of these apparent opposites.

I’ll finish with the words of the distinguished 20th-century palaeontologist and Catholic theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who wrote:

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.”

 

 _______________________________

1    Matthew 5:48

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