Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Commission

There is a web site which, ostensibly, exists to allow for respectful debate and the thoughtful exchange of experiences and opinions between believers of different faiths and philosophies. In reality, sadly, the owners of this site have allowed their personal bias to lean more and more heavily against traditional Christianity, and to a lesser extent against Judaism and Islam. This is a loss for the ideal of free discussion, but in context hardly surprising. If one believes the Bible, as I do, there is abundant evidence that those people who have a direct relationship with God live on lines completely alien to those who do not have such a relationship with God. What makes the matter all the more strange, is that once a person is aligned with God, they realize that we are made and meant to have contact with the Father, the more the better. And so human existence is a series of paradoxes; believers strongly desire to grow closer to God, and our natural lives get in the way, especially our selfish nature, while non-believers make their way with God’s help, unaware and therefore ungrateful for all He does, even though in many cases He does more for them than for those who seek Him in earnest.

The Commission of Christ is a mystery, and I do not pretend to understand it fully, except that I know that I know nothing, or near enough to nothing that it is hubris to think I am measurably further along the Way than anyone else I could think of for comparison. But I know this – the Commission is a personal covenant, one which carries great and sobering responsibility, yet also holds promises of breath-taking generosity by God, including the absolute assurance that we shall be neither lost nor forgotten. I understand that those who have not accepted the Way generally regard that assurance as a fable, which seems to me a coping mechanism; how anyone could or would refuse such a gift is baffling beyond my comprehension, except that they cannot imagine such Grace and Hope may exist in this world. That, or they imagine that humans can somehow become what we always dreamed, the collective evidence of History and human nature ignored.

I have been wrestling with the question of just why it matters that we should spread Christianity, if God makes Himself available to anyone who will seek Him. And it occurs to me that the heart of Christ’s teaching is indeed the heart; the doctrines, all the words and rituals, though they matter in certain ways and places, are secondary, far miniscule, next to the simple dedication of one’s heart – and there is no better service than to live in imitation and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For some, this is stating the obvious. For others, sheer madness or myth. For me, it’s just remembering who I am, and Whose.

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