Jesus and the Christ, Part 2
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another. Romans 12:4
Last week I began describing what I understand to be the distinction between what we mean when we talk about Jesus of Nazareth and when we talk about the Christ of God. While the life and teachings of Jesus have touched many souls over many generations throughout the world, the Christ is an infinitely broad, inclusive, and universal expression of God. The Christ stands above, beyond, and within all of creation, preceding and transcending even the Christian religion itself. Buddhist author and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh once wrote, “Enlightenment is when the wave realizes it is the ocean.” This sort of enlightenment is what I believe occurred with Jesus at his baptism by John the Baptist – he realized his oneness with God, not in an exclusive way, but in a way that all of creation is one with God. All of creation, including non-Christians, is anointed, chosen, and loved by God, making it an integral part of the Christ. Jesus of Nazareth, being a part of creation, understood himself to be the Christ in the same way that the wave understands itself to be the ocean. They are expressions of something much larger, but they are one with the larger entity, being made of the same stuff. The wave is not the ocean, but the ocean abides within the wave. The wave and ocean are One.
Concurrent with Jesus’ realization of himself as the Christ of God was his realization that we, too, are the Christ of God, as is everything and everyone else in creation. Where Jesus was able to perceive his direct connection with and to God, most of the rest of us have blinders that keep us from perceiving, believing, or trusting that connection. We are blinded by our biases, our limited understandings, our poor self-image, and other ego-related hang-ups that prevent us from taking our place beside and with Jesus as the beloved of God. We fail to allow God to express through us in order to touch and heal ourselves and others. When Jesus healed and cast out demons and restored sight he was removing the blinders of those in his day so others could see their oneness with God, too. We are not the separate, isolated beings we believe ourselves to be. Rather, we are interconnected waves in the ocean that is Christ. We arise from God, and we fall back into God. This, then, is our salvation – that we recognize ourselves not as beings separated from God and each other, but as intimate pieces in the body of Christ, loved and chosen exactly as we are within that greater body. That Oneness is our security. By that we are saved, but we cannot know it in a conscious way until we awaken to it.
Whenever a person comes to this type of conscious realization of their Oneness with God – their Oneness with all that is – they are said to have attained Christ Consciousness. This is a term and a state of being that is not exclusive to, nor even commonly familiar to Christians or Christianity. It is much better known, understood, and taught in Eastern philosophical practices like Buddhism. It is a state of being we seek and work towards as we attempt to grow into the type of person we know we were created to become. It is the state Jesus became consciously aware of at his baptism. To attain Christ Consciousness is to live into our fully human and fully divine state of being. It is to understand that God’s Spirit clothed itself in earthly elements and became us. Jesus referred to persons attaining this state as the Son of Man, meaning a fully-realized, fully-matured human being, not simply in a physical sense but in a physical and spiritual sense. That is what makes us fully human – the conscious awareness of our earthly structure infused with and animated by the Spirit of God.
Jesus referred to himself as a Son of Man while others referred to him as the Son of God. To the unenlightened among us, Jesus appears infinitely above and apart from us. We neither understand nor accept that he invites us to realize our own worth and belovedness in God. Because we cannot see ourselves in Jesus, we attribute a divine status to him that we will not claim for ourselves – thus, calling him the Son of God, or the product of something unattainable to us. In that way we perpetuate the myth that we are separate from and not One with him.
This is the 18th in the series of Life Notes titled Churchianity vs Christianity. I invite your thoughts, insights, and feedback via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through my website, www.ContemplatingGrace.com. At the website, you can also sign up to have these reflections delivered to your Inbox every Thursday morning and browse the archives of my Life Notes, Podcasts, music, books, and other musings.
 https://flaxseedsandfairytales.com/inspirational-meditation-quotes-thich-nhat-hanh/#:~:text=4%29%20%E2%80%9CEnlightenment%20is%20when%20a%20wave%20realizes%20it,the%20ocean%E2%80%93%20you%20simply%20need%20to%20notice%20it. Accessed May 10, 2021.