Eastertide ~ Week 5
“I am the Alpha and the Omega . . .”
Eastertide ~ Week 5
Spirituality is popular. If you’ve wondered about this, go to a book store and look at how much shelf space is dedicated to spirituality. There is a lot and you’ll notice quickly that much of it isn’t rooted in the Christian story. Not only that, but much of it is an admixture of various forms of spirituality. One can find Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan and earth-keeping spiritualities. There are secular spiritualities too, none of which rely upon God, religion, or traditional metaphysics for source material. Instead, they look to a variety of theories of personality to promote a form of spiritual wellness that is naturalistic.
Hopefully, it is no surprise to you that the spirituality of Wheatland is decidedly Christian. It is focused upon the person of Jesus Christ, from Nazareth, born of the Virgin Mary. Two of our readings for this week stress this Christ-centeredness in profound ways. John 13:31-35 introduces Jesus’ new commandment to his disciples, they are to “love one another.” In the run up to this command Jesus makes it clear that the Son of Man, Jesus himself, is a conduit for the glory of God, the creator of all things. God is in Jesus and Jesus is in God. The mutual indwelling of Jesus with the Father highlights Jesus’ equality with God. His equality as God.
Revelation 21:3 does something similar. Jesus is first highlighted as the location where humans and God meet:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them . . .
Then, in vv. 6, Jesus proclaims that unity with God, that continuity with YHWH of the Old Testament, when he says:
"It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
Similar to Colossians 1 and John 1, this passage makes clear the connection between the God of the Old Testament, the creator of all things, and Jesus of Nazareth. The human being who is the unique “Son of God”. While there may be many things that remain a mystery, the Bible is not mysterious about the identity of Jesus. Christian tradition and history concur. Jesus is the focal point of Christian life, Christians spirituality, and worship.
One challenge to Christian spirituality is the sheer number of spiritual options that are available to us today. This can result in a slow erosion of a faith that is uniquely focused upon Christ. It can result in a spirituality that is, for lack of a better term, watered down and tepid. The Christian tradition of spirituality is a deep, deep well with inexhaustible resources for living the “with God life” in Jesus Christ. The collect for this week highlights this most important fact.
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unit of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.