Continued reflections on my brief answers to the question “who is Jesus Christ to you?”
6) The gateway through which the Holy Spirit enters the world
This assertion is biblically based, and less so in personal experience, in the sense that Christ is the Word which existed before creation and by which the world was created. You might say that I see Jesus Christ as the vehicle by which God enters the world, for Christians at least, and that what God does in the world is through the Holy Spirit. In this sense, the Holy Spirit manifests outward from Christ, perhaps.
In another sense, I think that after the crucifixion and resurrection, something new entered the world, or perhaps something was reiterated in a new way vis our experience of it. That new thing was manifested at Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit came, not arbitrarily, but into a community which was committed to following and emulating Christ.
7) The idea of being to which we are to aspire as Christians and
On reflection, this is just a reiteration of (2)
8) into which we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit over the course of eternity
This is in reference to the impossibility (I would say apparent impossibility) of actually transforming ourselves into Christ and is part of my concept of salvation history and the eschaton. A world of Christs is a world of humanity fully reconciled to God, and I believe part of this is human effort (I know, not Reformed) and the rest of this is God’s effort.
To put it another way, Christ is absolutely, or infinitely, reconciled to God (who is, for lack of a better term, infinite). Like an infinite limit in mathematics, we can add to our own reconciliation, but only in finite terms. That is, we can increase and increase in Christ-like-ness by our own effort, and these increases are meaningful, but no matter how far we increase, we are still infinitely far from the infinite limit. We cannot reach it by our own finite means. This means that our efforts are in fact meaningful, but not necessary, in the sense that either way God has an infinite job to do in reaching out to us.
This is what occurs over the course of eternity, or the whole of salvation history. We are lifted up the infinite distance to God.
9) The source of hope and life for the oppressed, the weak, the sick, the outcast, the unclean, the pariah, etc.
If you are reading this, that means you have access to a computer and the internet, which means that, to a certain degree, Christ is not on your side. We are the beneficiaries of a system of oppression and evil that is so massive and deeply entrenched that it appears unassailable. We have the privilige of doing things like blogging because while I am writing this a few dozen people starved to death in some place I’ll never see.
It lends a weight to our words, I think, and also issues a judgment over them. They are so minuscule – our best ideas are absolutely garbage if they do nothing to change what is.
If Christ is with those who suffer the most, as I believe he is, then Christ is sometimes against me. Maybe often, or mostly against me. That’s just how it is if Christ is Christ. This makes me supremely uncomfortable about almost everything I do, deep down, but I also accept it and think furthermore that it is right. I need to preach Christ against me at least as much as I preach Christ for me, and live the same way. Like Christ, I need to be present for and with those who suffer, and always put their concerns at the forefront as much as I can.
Among other things, in the Cross, Christ says “This is where I choose to be.”
10) The source of judgement for the rich, the strong, the comfortable, the confident, the popular, the accepted, the righteous, the healthy, particularly when they assume their gifts are earned and they do not use them in the service of others.
See above. We cannot serve two masters. Where our treasure is, our heart is there also. What does it profit us to gain the whole world but lose ourselves? To find your life, you have to lose it.