More items from my 1988 Lenten journey


These are my personal thoughts; I am not trying to convert anyone.  I was, in 1988, trying to clarify my own beliefs; something like what the early Quacker, Isaac Pennington did when he wrote down his thoughts in The Inward Journey of Isaac Pennington.

8. The Gospels always insist on Jesus’ humanity. Christ is a deified man in whom God dwelt fully. The Holy Ghost descended at his baptism and remained with him throughout his brief mission. It is only in this sense that Christ’s last words have meaning: i.e. it is the Holy Ghost that he feels leaving him at the end.

"Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani" which means "My God, my God, why

hast thou forsaken me?"

Mark 15:34

"Eli, Eli lama sabachthani," that is "My God, my God, why hast

thou forsaken me?"

Matthew 27:46

"Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!"

Luke 23:46

"It is finished" and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

John

19:30

Christian mystics have long claimed that the soul may be lifted into a union with God (as Christ promised) so close and so complete that it is merged into the being of God and loses the sense of any separate existence. One such mystic describes it thus, "we can nevermore find any distinction between ourselves and God…we are one being and one life and one blessedness with God." This is what Christ achieved and what he means when he says "I and the Father are one." Christ is the first to achieve this, the pioneer. Christ’s human nature was so utterly bereft of self, and apart from all creatures, as no man’s ever was, and was nothing but a house and habitation of God. Christ did not begin as perfect; he was made perfect by God and then became one with God. The key to understanding this is in Hebrews 2:10:

"For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things

exist in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer

of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who

sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin.

That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren saying "I

will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the

congregation I will praise thee."

It is through the Word that Christ, on earth, was God: "the Word was with God and the Word was God." Jesus’ disciples recognized him as the Messiah, the anointed one. He himself, is not recorded to have used the word. The titles, Prophet and Rabbi also were applied to Jesus. (Which incidentally means he must have had some education or training in Hebrew tradition. The fact that James, has brother, became head of the Church in Jerusalem after the resurrection also indicates that the family must have been fairly well off and could afford to send the children to some sort of Hebrew school.) Jesus’ own enigmatic self-designation was "Son of Man" which refers to his suffering or to his further role as judge (Isaiah 53; Daniel 7:13).

Throughout the New Testament he is referred to as the "Son of God." The meaning of "Son of God," to the New Testament writers was "one who has a unique relationship to the Father, one who carries out the will and purpose of the Father, and who therefore has a unique and supreme revelatory function." All Jews of the period considered themselves to be "sons of God" as the chosen people of God. The New Testament writers do not equate the "Son" with the "Father;" in fact they consistently subordinate the Son to the Father. The most notable feature of Jesus’ spirituality was that, without in any way denying the Laws, he did not relate to God through the Law but directly as son to father. Jesus invited his hearers to share in the same relationship.

9. Christ, as a man, had to be prepared to receive God. This is made clear in Hebrews 5:7:

" In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and

supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able

to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear.

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he

suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of

eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God

a high priest after the order of Melchizedek."

I believe God became incarnate in the man Jesus at Jesus’ baptism. Jesus’ self- understanding of his mission, according to the Gospel of John, comes when he is baptized and a voice from heaven says, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." It after this that Jesus really begins his mission and becomes greater than John the Baptist. The Gospel of Mark understood the baptism of Jesus Christ as the adoption of the man Jesus Christ into the Sonship of God accomplished through the descent of the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel of John, the divinity of the person of Jesus is understood as the result of the descent of the divine Word, a pre-existent heavenly being, again, at the baptism by John in the Jordan. This is evident in John 1:30, John the Baptist is quoted as saying:

"I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with

water said to me, "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and

remain this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit."

Also Hebrews 1:3 shows that the writer understood that the Word was reflected in Christ:

"He [Jesus] reflects the glory of God and bears the very

stamps of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of

power."

The promise of the resurrection is that we will be united with God and with Christ as one. This is what Paul teaches. In Paul’s letters, the reoccurring phrase "in Christ," implies personal union, a participation in Christ’s suffering, resurrection and destiny. The Christ with whom Paul desires union is not the man Jesus (the one "after the flesh"): he is the resurrected Christ who has been exalted and glorified so that he is one with God and the Holy Ghost.

About thebows99krug

Hi, I am Eric, a retired librarian. I was born in St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto and raised in the downtown area north of the Art Gallery, south of the University of Toronto. I went to Orde Street Public School, Harbord C.I., University College at the UofT and the UofT's Faculty of Library and Information Science. I meet my wife Patricia at FLIS; our first date was on November 15, 1968. We were engaged February 14, 1969 and married on June 21, 1969. Our family includes son, James; daughter-in-law, Erin; (both writers), grand-daughters, Vivian and Eleanor; and Pooka, a small but fierce gray tabby. I would like to hear from any other class of '63 alumni of Harbord C.I. and class of '67 alumni of UofT's University College.
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