In Matthew 6.13-16, Jesus Christ speaks of our being salt and light. This occurs in the Sermon on the Mount, a post-Jesus collection of sayings by Matthew editors to show Jesus as the New Moses giving the New Law, or New Teaching.
Of course, this was an evangelical appeal to Jews, as well as to Gentiles. Here we have the New Moses, the New Teaching, and the New Mount.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
There is a Third Coming of Christ Jesus. The First Coming was in the 1st Century ~ Jesus of Nazareth. The Second Coming was at Pentecost, as the Word manifested as the Holy Spirit. The Third coming is not the end of historical time, but the end of time in time. This Third Coming is the arising of God Consciousness in each of us who surrender to the universal ~ "beyond-religion" and "beyond-sect" ~ Wisdom of Jesus Christ.
The concept of the Second Coming at the end of time as we know it, as confirmed by Deepak Chopra, in The Third Jesus, has done much harm to the tradition of the Jesus Way. Why? "It," Chopra writes, "postpones what needs to happen now."
The Gospel and Church tradition, as well as liturgy and rite, worship and spiritual community ~ indeed, the whole life of the true, spiritual Church, with its teachings on Spiritual Means of Grace ~ are graces to actualize the Third Coming of Christ within us each and now.
The Third Coming, beyond space and time but within space and time, initiates the disciples of Christ in a surrender to inner transformation of memory, will, and understanding ~ what the contemplative tradition speaks of as "conversion of life" and Wesleyans speak of as growing toward "perfection" and the Orthodox churches speak of as "deification" or "theosis" ~ being union with the Divine Nature.
Jesus had called himself the light of the world on more than one occasion (see John 8.12). But he, also, calls his disciples the light of the world. How is this?
We are not simply vowing faith in Christ, or in a religion, creed, or confession of faith. We are becoming the Presence of Christ, totally that Presence. Or, we could say, Christ is coming a third time within you and me. There is no way to this Third Coming apart from an inner transformation, an inward dying and being reborn, that even transcends all of what we call Christian, faith, and belief.
When one becomes one with the Divine, a miracle occurs in and through him or her. The person becomes what Christ is. As Christ is the light of the world, one has become that light through a union of Love with the Inner Christ. We could say that the mystic has lost all his or her light, even that most worthy of commendation, to be infused with another Light, the Light of God and, thus, a death of his or her light, a most painful one to even the virtuous and religious light. The disciple passes through a birthing-death, emulating the passion and resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus, that opens to the most interior, harmonious, godlike, and beautiful Light of Blessing.
Could it be that the so-called end time Jesus often referred to was meant to refer to a fact that he ushered in the so-called Second Coming with his initial coming. This would be what theologians call realized eschatology. I prefer to speak, however, of the above three comings, with the end time being, at least principally, an inner experience of consciousness-transformation, a conversion into Godness, and that this is an inner experience ultimately to participate in the "new heaven and new earth," or the deification, or conversion, of all Nature.
Possibly, early and later Second Coming teachings was a failure to see that the end time is always happening, Christ effected and effects it, and the Christian life is the conversion slowly into the transformation of that eschatology ushered in by Jesus Christ already. If so, this realization must be at core contemplative, or mystical. I agree; thus, we find much of the failure of the historical Church to lead Christians to transformation into Christ-likeness and meditation of his very light into the world and cosmos.
Possibly, no Christian other than the German Dominican nondual theologian Meister Eckhart did such justice to this topic of the union with the Light.
"Whoever possesses God in their being, has him in a divine manner, and he shines out to them in all things; for them all things taste of God and in all things it is God's image that they see."
This is the Christoform, the God-ing, every person is called to in Christ. Every Christian is called to enter a final spiritualization of his or her individual being in the Great Being, a participation in which the self is taken into the Source, or God, and enriches the Divine by being divinized through the Grace of Contemplative Love. What goes for love among humans is not this Love, but an inferior reflection, at best, and a mirror of the longing for our lost Paradise.
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*Brian K. Wilcox lives with his wife, Rocio, their two dogs, St. Francis and Bandit Ty, and their fish, Hope, in Southwest Florida. Brian is vowed at Greenbough House of Prayer, a contemplative Christian community in Georgia. He lives a contemplative life and inspires others to experience a deeper relationship with Christ. He advocates for a spiritually-focused Christianity and the renewal of the focus of the Church on addressing the deeper spiritual needs and longings of persons and empathic relating with diverse spiritual traditions, East and West. Brian has an independent writing, workshop, and retreat ministry, for all spiritual seekers.
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