I experienced another happy convergence this morning. Our texts for the weekend are John 17:20-24, Acts 2:42, and Colossians 3:14-17. Our theme in this third week of A Deep Life is Growing Together. The Spiritual Journey is not a solo adventure. We are not lone rangers. We are created by the community of the Triune God to be in community with God, with each other, and with all of creation.
Jesus says some alarming words as he prays to the Father in John 17:
that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:21 (NRSV)
What does it mean to be one? What does it mean to be one with God? Do we get absorbed into the cosmic mind and lose our identity? That sounds horrifying to the Western, individualistic mind.
This morning I read Richard Rohr’s daily meditation titled The Self-in-God. He quotes Thomas Keating;
Since the Reformation, the Christian Tradition has been somewhat focused on doctrinal differences rather than on the spiritual journey itself and the transformation of being. This has given rise to an overemphasis on our activity [and an under-emphasis on the inner spiritual journey]. Of course, Christian Tradition has always had a concern about works and grace and how they relate, but an overemphasis on works has led to a dualistic view of God and self.
A way of explaining this might be the characterization of a Western Model of spirituality as seeing the self-outside-of-God. By contrast, earlier parts of the Tradition and throughout time in the experience of the great mystics, [are] about the self-in-God, and God-in-self, which may be called the Scriptural Model of Spirituality. This distinction has profound implications for the spiritual life. . . . The [Scriptural Model] supposes that we are to become a living sacrament by being always in the presence of God and in relation to God. . . .
God is not just with us, not just beside us, not just under us, not just over us, but within us, at the deepest level, and, in our inmost being, a step beyond the true Self. What is the self?
Science has looked everywhere for a self in the human organism. It cannot be found. So the self then is not an entity. . . . We do know that the self can keep on growing until it becomes a true Self in the image and likeness of God. . . . The movement is towards unity consciousness and experiencing the divine as our ultimate Self, in which case the false self has a happy death in God!
Just by living and growing in consciousness, we are becoming, growing in God’s Self, in God’s presence, in God-consciousness. The ultimate consciousness is total Oneness in which God is all in all.1
Unity in the bodyof Christ begins with unity within the self. When we can be a peace to know that God loves us, then we are free to love others in that same love.
May you experience oneness today.
- Thomas Keating, That We May Be One: Christian Non-Duality Reflection Booklet (Contemplative Outreach Ltd.: 2017), 7, 9, https://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/product/we-may-be-one-christian-non-duality-pdf-mp3 [↩]