“Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11.28
In the Christian Scriptures, the concern does not appear at first glance to be one of evolution of consciousness or development of inner being to a higher level. The concern seems to be that human beings are brought into fellowship with God, through union with Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Of course, that is theological language.
However, what that theological expression is trying to convey, perhaps, is the psycho-spiritual experience of inner development: a movement from less conscious states to more conscious states; a movement from separation to increasing union; from narrow perspectives to expanding inclusivity; from self-centered love to self-giving love. The hallmark biblical expression of this quality of interior movement is that “Christ might be all in all” (Colossians 3.11).
In light of these ideas, we also need to hear the above scripture quotation from Jesus as being related to the labor of our interior work, the burden of the process of transformation grounded in spiritual practices. While we must “work out our salvation” there is a deep rest available to us when we simply say Yes to being in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is the rest from our striving. It is the rest that comes from letting go of effort and surrendering into the state of being loved, of being in relationship, of being known, of being in communion with the life-giving energies of God’s relationality especially conveyed to us through Eucharist and Silence.
The primacy of love is THE Christian contribution to the DNA of religious evolution on planet earth. When we begin to see that the Christmas story is essentially an enactment of love embodied and played out on the stage of human history for us to understand and participate in the process, it expands our perspective on what Christianity is.
Love is a desiring union, particularly the union of the human and the divine – in both of their totalities. That is to say, a true union. Not a partial sharing. Union born of love is the scandal of Christianity – that the Divine desires, indeed loves so deeply it pursues human nature into a state of union, first in Mary, then in Jesus, and now in us. Of course in Mary, the result of the union is known by its technical term, incarnation, and its colloquial term, Jesus of Nazareth. It is this Union of love that interrelates two natures, human and divine, into one Being, and it is this Being who speaks, acts and invites us even at this moment all in into the surrender of rest, and the freedom of unloading all that is within us burnt out on striving.