Hebrews 12.1-2 (CEB)
So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter.
Hebrews is written in the style of Paul for Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem sometime just before the Temple is destroyed around 70 CE. It is highly likely this letter was written by Priscilla, Paul’s confidante, probably his benefactor, and perhaps his greatest pupil.
While often classified as a letter, it lacks any traits of typical Hellenistic epistles, such as a preamble. Hebrews is more of a rhetorical essay. It’s meant to encourage Jewish followers of Jesus to persevere in their faith, to stay on this new path to God Jesus introduced.
When Hebrewswas written in the 60s, Romans were prosecuting members of The Way (the original Jesus movement) while fellow Jews were persecuting them. The stress of being outcast by both strangers and family exacerbated their confusion and distress over Jesus’ death.
Jewish people had expected a Messiah of war and retribution, not one who taught turning the other cheek and peaceful non-compliance. They definitely didn’t expect a Messiah that could die like any other human. Consequently, many were returning to the synagogue and their older, more comfortable path to God.
The author of Hebrews encourages Jesus’ people to hold fast to this new teaching, to this new way of being human in the world. Yes, new spiritual paradigms are difficult and scary, but using Jesus as an example, the author of Hebrews pleads with us to understand that this new spiritual journey is worth taking, even in the face of death.
At The Current, we spend a lot of time talking about new spiritual journeys. We understand that even as we gather in community, each of us is on a unique path to interconnection with God, and through God with each other.
Yet, while our journeys might often be solitary, they are never selfish. We quest for more profound communion with God because we intuitively sense that living a God-connected life changes the world for the better. Consciously tuning into God--through prayer, meditation, service, and study (for example), moves us individually to use our gifts for the good of all things, from people to planets. Then, we are moved in community to affirm and challenge each other, always pushing toward love unconditional.
Some of us may come to a spiritual journey through Jesus, just like our Jewish ancestors. Some might discover new paths to God through Buddha, Mohammed, Ram Das, a next-door neighbor, a lover, or even a chance meeting in line at the grocer.
In a single lifetime, a spiritual journey might (and I would suggest should) take many paths, through many religions and philosophies, diverging in different directions like river tributaries, yet ultimately all pointing toward love. Unconditional. Hebrews encourages us to follow those diverse wisdom branches without fear.
Jesus shows that this journey—the experience of living and dying as a human being is what’s important. Why? Because every life is a God-connected life. Every path we take is a path to God. Every experience is connected to all other human experiences, and all the adventures non-humans in other galaxies and dimensions are having, and it’s all connected to God, feeding data directly into the beingof a God with an unquenchable appetite to be everything.
That means every noble quest we have in our lives is a spiritual adventure that’s part and parcel of the fabric of the universe.
Can you imagine that? Have you thought about that? When you go to the beach, you are the nerve endings in the fingertips of God. You are God’s cosmic connection feeling the oddly pleasant sting of the ocean spray as waves crash onto shore, smelling the suntan scents, trying to translate the screeches of lazily drifting Gulls.
When you climb a mountain, God embraces you with cloud-wet air, supports you with muddy clay, reminds you of your connection to the planet with the dirt left under your fingertips.
When you hold a newborn baby or bury a loved one, God experiences the heights of our joy and the depths of our sorrow. Everything in our lives, from our most extraordinary adventures to our most mundane moments, adds to the ever-growing wisdom and spiritual evolution of the entire universe. And that universe exists within us as much as we exist within it.
We are God-components, and we have a straightforward task: to live. To “run the race that is laid out before us,” as Priscilla wrote so long ago.
I think realizing that life is a God journey can help us avoid ruts, or getting stuck in one religious paradigm or another for too long. But that's only half the story.
Our existence is part of an endless loop into and from God. What does Paul write in Romans? From God, through God, to God, all are things. Our life experiences are processed by God as part of the evolutionary process of the universe. Being—existing, having material form, is part of an infinite loop of loving, creative consciousness.
In the beginning God, in a moment of cosmic self-awareness, explodes into multiple universes, galaxies, planets, and creatures, including us. These things evolve over trillions of years, adding experiences to God, who ceaselessly reconstructs and retransmits new things based on those experiences, and so on, and so on, in an infinite loop of loving, imaginative inventiveness. God lives in us, not just figuratively. God is within us because God is us, and we are God.
So, let’s live our lives in God, in Christ Conscious, Buddha-aware joy, laughter and love. Fearlessly go on new adventures. Take up new hobbies, eat different foods, and talk to people with dissimilar lifestyles and beliefs. Send a little more love into the cosmos, and see if, together, with intent, we can't tip the balance of this current reality out of fearful fists and instead into loving embrace.
Let’s recognize every moment of every life as a moment in God that connects us all and weaves us together from and into one consciousness. Let’s fill our lives with a glorious collection of experiences, always remembering that we are participants in God’s infinite creative feedback loop. Feed wisely.
Question:How might looking at your life as a collector of experiences for God change your outlook?