Fr. Richard Rohr does some clearing thinking about Jesus and the Christ. This Sunday is the Reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday, setting us up for Advent. And the season of Advent, contrary to what most Christians believe they are celebrating, is not about waiting for the baby Jesus to be born on Christmas morning. It’s an anticipation of the coming of Christ.
Christ is our shortcut word for “The Body of God” or “God materialized.” This Christ is much bigger and older than either Jesus of Nazareth or the Christian religion, because the Christ is whenever the material and the divine co-exist–which is always and everywhere.
The birth of this Christ occurred at the Big Bang, or however our universe began. This is when the “primal anointing” of matter with Spirit—incarnation—emerged. The birth of Jesus of Nazareth, for Christians, epitomizes this convergence of spirit and matter in the human realm. But the cosmic Christ, the indwelling power and presence that draws all things into communion pervades the entire universe.
Advent is about the second coming of Christ, and the second coming of Christ is not about the end of the world. It’s about the end of the illusion of separation, when all will be awakened to the whole universe as a communion event.
Daniel uses the image he saw in a vision of the “coming of one like a human being” (Son of Man) who would reign over all creation. This is the “son of man” of Ezekiel, and it is the image that Jesus himself employed to describe his own mission. In him, the union of matter and spirit is revealed in the form of a human. He is the one who lives aligned with the truth of no separation. He knows himself to be the presence of the whole universe, in human form, gathered up and poured out as an offering of love, and this offering of love is none other than the primal attraction/communion/complexification dynamic suffusing all of creation.
What we wait for in the season of Advent, what we anticipate, is the coming of the Son of Man, or stated differently, the emergence of the New Human, prefigured in Jesus, the Cosmic Christ, enfleshed. We keenly anticipate in our prayers and deepest longings that we will arrive as the New Human, capable of containing this profound mystery revealed in Jesus. Not just with our minds, but in the way we live in community and upon our still beautiful planet.
In a sense, every time we taste into the glorious unity and unifying power of Love, we participate in the birthing (the conscious realization) of the Cosmic Christ. And when we come to the place of awareness that we want nothing else for ourselves, and when we are willing to let go of everything that is not this Love and that keeps us from incarnating this Love in the way we live, we join the great pilgrimage to Bethlehem, witnessing again and again the miracle that began with a Bang, took flesh again in Jesus, and is seeking completion in and through you. When we make of our lives a sincere offering to participate consciously in this completion project, the Christ truly reigns in our lives, or to use traditional language, Christ is King/Queen.
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
7:9 As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire.
7:10 A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
7:13 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him.
7:14 To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.
18:33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
18:34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”
18:35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?”
18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
18:37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”