Monday, April 14, 2008

abundant life

I didn't get around to posting last week--I apologize.  Things just got away from me.  

But, I'm gonna try to make it up to you by blogging AFTER I preach.  I figure: what the heck.  Maybe you're still thinking about these things.

I got caught this last week on the images from John's gospel, John 10:1-10.  Our passage ends with a line I treasure deeply: I come that you might have life, and have it abundantly.  This idea resonates so well with my experience of God's life--it is life-giving abundance, not just for me but for the world.

I struggle, though, with fitting this generous spirit together with Jesus' earlier descriptions of himself in the passage: he is the gatekeeper, and no one gets in but through him.  My experience has not been that God calls us to be a select few, secluded away.  Plus, I'm troubled by descriptions of salvation that flatten it into simply what happens in the afterlife--salvation is all the stuff of the abundant life that we get to experience now and forever.  So what's Jesus saying?

My contention (and you are welcome to help me out here) is that Jesus meant that he's the gatekeeper in the sense that, if we're going to be a part of his salvation, we're really going to have to be like him.  That Jesus being the gate--Jesus who is our Christ who makes us all a part of his body--means that we have to do the things he did in order to be a part of this new reality.  Which is both seclusion (on occasion) and a sending into the world (Jesus says he'll be with us for going out as for entering in).

So, then, Jesus is inviting us to an abundance that comes when we live like him--when we become little Christs in the world.  (Which, as I understand it, is just what "Christian" means.)

I shared a poem, too, and thought I'd give you a link in case you want to read it more carefully...  It's by Wendell Berry, and you can find it at the bottom of this speech.


Jeff Bushnell said...

Hi Molly,

Perfectly stated! I have always felt my spiritual and Christian goal was to do what I could to make it like heaven here on earth and not worry about what comes after.

Jeff Bushnell

fred said...

" ... Come into the dance of the community, joined in a circle, hand in hand, the dance of the eternal love of women and men for one another and of neighbors and friends for one another... " That is so perfect. Thanks for the insight into little Christians.