It seems to me these letters offer us a wealth of christological material. They each present a Christ who is someone somewhat different for each community addressed yet at the same time One.
- holds the stars of the seven lampstands in his hand. The spirits that animate the churches are under his authority.
- is the Alpha and the Omega; the One dead now made alive. He is the first fruits of our own resurrection. The empty tomb is affirmed.
- a sharp two-edged sword comes from his mouth; he is the God who speaks (difficult) truths to us and we hear.
- has eyes of flame and feet of bronze. He sees what we do even in the dark. The things he sees are revealed by an inner light from within.
- holds the key of David, what he opens cannot be shut and what he shuts cannot be opened. He has authority in the palace. He grants access to the King.
- is the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the First of God’s creation. Christ is the Cosmic Christ. Christ Pantokrator as the Greek say.
Is this what Christ is for me? There was a time when I could witness Christ speaking things to me and I hear. The Voice seems less clear now and I seek it in other places than before. The empty tomb is not at the heart of my spirituality.
This Cosmic Christ is also, in these letters, one who warns, who promises, who enters into communion with us. Perhaps I’m passing through dry straw times. But this doesn’t really speak to my experiences either.
This doesn’t feel like a cuddly me and Jesus kinda spirituality behind these writings. This doesn’t feel like the mysticism of quiet contemplation, or of waiting worship. I’d wager the early Friends knew this Jesus. This is the Jesus Rudolph Otto witnesses to in the Idea of the Holy. A Jesus disappearing form Christian culture. One that draws us to him, and scares the heck out of us at the same time. It is a mysticism of storms in the mountains, earthquakes and whirlwinds not still small voices or gentle breezes.