What To Do
Look! There is the Lamb of God … this is God’s chosen One
Lamb of God
A man we shall call “Roger” underwent major surgery after several years of blindness. The operation was a success to the extent that he could now see with the help of heavy lenses. When he arrived home from the hospital, he immediately set out to fulfill a longtime ambition: to stroll alone through the neighborhood. But after walking for just a few minutes he rushed back to the house, threw himself on his bed and buried his face in a pillow. His concerned wife asked what had gone wrong. He replied, “I couldn’t take anymore. The light hurt my eyes but it wasn’t that so much as the beauty. There was so much beauty that I could not take it all in a single dose: human forms; children’s faces; faces of old people, wise with the experience of the years; trees and flowers and birds and clouds and the sky. I couldn’t stand anymore. I couldn’t absorb so much light and so much beauty.”
Have you discovered how Jesus’ Gospel can give you that feeling: so much light and so much beauty and so much inspiration that you can’t seem to grasp it, absorb it, take it all in? To know that the Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe, from the beginning of time, has been present everywhere and to all peoples as the Christ Spirit; to know that the Christ Spirit is at the heart of Nature in all its beauty; to know that the Christ Spirit has been working through Abraham and Moses and all the prophets and other great spiritual leaders of all ages; to know that God, through Jesus, is confirming our humanity with all of its hurts and fears, its laughter and tears, its hopes and dreams, its temptations and failures; to know that God, through Jesus, is saying, “That is good, you will find your fulfillment in and through your humanity.” How can we grasp that?
We look at Jesus, and we see the light at its brightest and at its rarest. We see all of the goodness of God sharply focused in this Christ Spirit who became one of us to tell us that He loves us, and we are overwhelmed. We cry out with John the Baptist, in today’s Gospel Lesson, “Behold! Look! There is the Lamb of God!”–there is the Lamb of God who dazzles and comforts and heals and works miracles and takes away the sins of the world! But that is only the beginning. The next step toward a wider, fuller experience of the tremendous Mystery of Christ carries us beyond the talking stage. A young clergyman was asked to preach one Sunday to some severely disturbed patients in a large mental institution. It turned out to be a disastrous experience. When he arrived, one of the patients greeted him at the chapel door saying, “On behalf of everyone here I want to welcome you. We already feel like you are one of us.” Undaunted, however, the young preacher began his sermon, on the Incarnation of Christ. It was the sermon he had prepared, as a seminary Student, for his homiletics professor. Anyone who has had anything to do with the seminary knows that the sermon you prepare for your homiletics professor is never intended to be preached to real people. He preached it, nevertheless, taking those poor patients on a theological trip around the world. Suddenly, one of the patients stood up and said, “That’s all very pretty, reverend preacher, but what did you have in mind for us to do?” There was a stunned silence. The young preacher obviously hadn’t given a minute’s thought to what they were supposed to do. Quickly, he pronounced a benediction and headed for the nearest exit before any more embarrassing questions could be asked.
That would be a perfectly legitimate question to ask of me at this point: “Very pretty reverend, but what did you have in mind for us to do?”
What you need to do is to get hold of this reality in an intimate way. This Cosmic Christ, this Christ Spirit present to all peoples in all Ages, this Christ who is fully embodied in Jesus, this Christ is present in you. This Christ dwells in you! Right now, at this very moment, the Christ dwells in you. Your hope of glory is not that you will be able to live serenely, not that you will write books or invent machines and become famous, not that you will win a million dollar lottery. Your hope of glory is that you will be able to grasp, to experience, to embrace the Living Christ within you. To make contact, get in touch with the Living Christ: that is what you must do. What you must do is let the Christ Spirit within you be released so completely that it permeates your entire being: your mind, your emotions, your body, your soul. What you have to do is to let the Christ Spirit become more and more the center and the source of power and of light and of love in your life. What you have to do is let Christ shape your life from within and develop you into the beautiful, whole, fulfilled person a loving God intends you to be. What you must do is stop talking about the Christ long enough to begin experiencing, feeling, and responding to His real presence within you.
Our experience of the indwelling Christ Spirit inevitably evokes a certain response from us. In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul writes very beautifully and very movingly about the Christ Spirit being present to all peoples through all Ages from the beginning of time. He writes about the indwelling Christ Spirit: “God gave you new life in Company with Christ,” he says, (Col.2:13). And as we read on, we suddenly discover that he has been leading up to a grand climax in which he tells us how to respond: “…holy and beloved,” Paul writes, “clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another; forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. And above all these virtues, put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect” (Col.3:12-14).
There is a World War II story about a doctor who had a mysterious talent for naming the place a soldier was from on the basis of a brief physical examination only. As one ex-soldier remembered it, “I once saw more than 100 inductees stripped to the waist and lined up outside the dispensary waiting for their physicals. One-by-one they were ushered into the doctor’s presence. After making a routine examination, the doctor would say, “That’s all soldier. By the way, you’re from Missouri (or you’re from New Hampshire or you’re from Texas).’ It was a remarkable performance: the doctor was correct in every case, even though he had never seen any of his subjects before. It wasn’t until years later, when I happened to meet the doctor in civilian life, that I learned his secret. ‘How did you do it?’ I asked. ‘Was it by listening to the men’s accents?’ ‘No,’ the doctor replied, ‘it wasn’t by listening to their accents, it was by listening to their hearts. You see, when I put the stethoscope to a soldier’s chest I simply read the address on his dog tags hanging from his neck.'”
In today’s youth’s jargon, the phrase “Where are you coming from?” means “What motivates your life style? What’s the story behind the way you live, the way you act?” Do you know, really, where you are coming from? To be absolutely sure, get in touch with the Cosmic Christ in the world around you. Get in touch with the Indwelling Christ in the depths of your being, and you will know … you will know. And your family and friends and neighbors will know. And every perfect stranger will know, not because they have heard your accent or seen your identification. They will know where you are coming from because you have put on love. They will know that you are of Christ.
What are your thoughts on this?