Today’s Gospel reading is very short, which is a good thing, since it is jammed with vital information. In it we are told that the Spirit, the Advocate, dwells with us, always available, and that in our love of Jesus we are one with God, alive as Christ is alive.
The thing that strikes me about this, today, is that the instrument I need in order to perceive the truth about God and Christ, my position in the cosmos, and my right relationships in the world is not my mind but my heart. Love is the lens through which I must gaze at reality. My mind can help me discern what to name things, how to do things, and how to relate them one to another, but it cannot tell me what is true. It cannot perceive the Spirit.
Seeing through the lens of love, I am in communion with all beings. Christ, who dwells within them, draws me to delight in them and appreciate how awesome they are — even the lethal ones, like rattlesnakes, which I try to keep at a distance. Loving them, I feel Christ’s love pour through me. And I’m in the mix too, valued and cherished.
Like most Episcopalians these days, I have been forced to fast from the Eucharist. I find in myself a deep hunger for the sacrament that symbolically binds me to all the people of God. It’s forcing me to become far more aware than I ever have been of what I was doing when sharing the body and blood of Christ with others. It was a symbolic reminder, a profound affirmation. We belong to one another and are built to cherish one another. In the Eucharist I experience the world through the lens of love.
The essence of the Eucharist is the celebration of Christ’s willingness to commune with us. We focus on that awareness and allow it to inform us. We learn through the lens of love that Christ is in God and we are in Christ and Christ is in us. This is a change of awareness that takes us out of “the world” and puts us ever at odds with ordinary thinking.
So I wonder. What gestures can we make, here in this time of fasting, that remind us of and ground us in this reality? Because we sure need them. At least, I do.