In our reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, we hear of our being chosen and adopted by God, about our being given every spiritual blessing through Jesus Christ. The early church pushed all the boundaries. What does this mean? In our baptism, if we have been filled with all the fullness of Christ, made one with Christ, we have been “ingodded,” a union with God, what the early church called theosis. St. Irenaeus, 2nd century Bishop of what is now Lyons, said, “…our Lord Jesus Christ, through His overwhelming love [for us], became what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.”
In the beginning, we were created in the image of God. But this theosis pushes far beyond our being created in the image of God. This is an at-oneness with God in the here-and-now, a union, a communion with God in the here-and-now. We could well ask, what in the world does this mean? Two things: how we approach God, and how God approaches us.
We approach God “in Christ.” The founder of our community, Richard Meux Benson, says Christ prays to the merciful Father through our prayers, through the prayers of all the faithful who are baptized into his body. Christ’s voice does not appeal to God separately from ours; “[We] are . . . so many mouths to God; and as [we] pray . . . Christ’s voice fills [our] utterance with the authority and claim belonging to Himself.” The Father hears the voice of his beloved Son in our prayers and accepts them as Christ’s own. We are given authority in our prayer, and God gives ear to us as Christ, as Christ’s own voice.
And secondly, God approaches us with power. “Think what it is to know that we have all the power of God in our hands!” These are again the words of Richard Meux Benson: “Think what it is to know that we have all the power of God in our hands! To know that we have all the goodness of God pouring itself forth upon our hearts! To know that we have all the wisdom of God quickening our life!” Just think of it! Could this reality make us proud and pompous? Perhaps, but I think it more likely this understanding of God’s power and presence will put us in our place, as channels of the divine, to bear the beams of Christ’s merciful love to a world dying to know love. This is why we’ve been given life, why our life has been sustained into today: to bear the beams of Christ’s merciful love with great generosity as Christ’s own.
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