Jesus and Nazareth

The primary significance of this story for me is the metaphoric dimension. We may dwell on the actuality or factuality or historicity of the story, but the meaning is spiritual rather than materialistic.

The N.T. has redefined life and death. Death is living without God, and life is being in Christ. You will find these two words juxtaposed innumerable times in the epistles, representing the life of the primitive church.

Lazarus was in Christ and death could not hold him. That is the essence of the story, and that is pretty much what I want to focus on. Are you in Christ? Are you alive?

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6 responses

  1. Larry’s Question:That is the essence of the story, and that is pretty much what I want to focus on. Are you in Christ? Are you alive?David’s Answer:Sometimes but not always. More often than I have been. Not as often as I might be.Which is why I have to believe in grace.

  2. David, I certainly agree that it is only through grace that we ever reach these states: in Christ and spiritual life are states of grace.

  3. Larry writes that the essence of the story was that “Lazarus was in Christ and death could not hold him.” This feels right to me, too, even though I cannot find words to explain what being “in Christ” means. What does it mean to you?

  4. Meredith, well we should start by checking out the 35 references to the term in the epistles in order to get the full meaning of the writers. Then we can begin to form our own ideas about it. The traditionalists may ask “are you saved”, or “have you been born again”. Both of these imply a process, not by crossing a line, but a life long affair.The good book says “we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved” (at various places). And also you must be born again, and again, and again. Both of these processes seem to fall under the general category of being in christ. I have been born again, but I hope for at least several more rebirths; the same goes for ‘salvation’. Putting all that together I hope to be (more and more) in Christ, particularly to the degree that I love God and my neighbor (and myself!).Now give us the benefit of your experience.

  5. Dear Larry,I sincerely hope I am not annoying you with my illiteracy… This is the first time I have tried to read the Bible, and it is joyfully challenging me. I greatly appreciate your teachings here, as I consider you very versed in the verse, so to speak. I honor that you have opened your heart to the deep truths embedded within. I want to thank you for sharing with all of us so generously!As to your question about my experience of being “In Christ:”When Christians have asked me, “Are you a Christian?” wondering if I have been saved or born again, I feel I must answer, “No.” But really, I think it is likely an interpretive difference. In my heart, I love Christ. I love Christ wisdom teachings – the great truths and the great compassion that Jesus embodied to as he spoke and lived mirroring his own Divinity. My actual experience has been more akin to awakening. Gradually I have become soft, open, receptive, more awake to a ‘Graceful Presence’ in our midst… emanating from each of our very hearts, and from the very pulse of the earth, indeed, the universe. I feel wide-awake to this amazing yet mysterious experience of life, and a growing awareness of God within. It has been a phenomenal difference to be more fully alive in each moment! It is as though heaven is truly here, right here, right now. I love my life so completely. Though my lifestyle is very simple, living feels so very rich in texture, color, and experience. Everything I do, and everything in nature seems more vivid and pleasurable to me. Silence feels deeply peaceful, though at times I feel rather ecstatic, I can barely contain my enthusiasm. Most days I feel a calm and peaceful trust that all is well. Though I am not without sorrow, my sorrows feel profound in a tender, sad, and universal way. This has led to an outpouring of a feeling of connection with others and with all things, deeper compassion, brimming gratitude, and an over-riding feeling of loving energy. I feel very awake and alive to the presence of God, nearly every moment. This is my experience. *** PS Larry, I think you might find Dale’s post titled ‘Unfolded’ on his blog, MOLE, interesting. Al was wondering what your response to Dale might be.http://koshtra.blogspot.com/

  6. Meredith, Your experience inspires and thrills me very much. I do have one problem with your comment, your reply to the question “Are you a Christian?”. You are a Christian, Meredith, and you should own it. You are not the narrow kind of Christian that so many are who might ask that question. But you do harm to them and to yourself by ceding the term to them. There are all kinds of Christians: buddhist Christian, hindu Christians, you name it. Christian is a universal. I frequently tell Jewish patients that most of the Jews I know are better Christians than the ‘Christians’ I know. Being a Christian is not a matter of believing anything; it’s a matter of doing something, like loving God and your neighbor.

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