“Thus says the Lord GOD: I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me…” – Malachi 3.1
John the Baptist represents the first stage of our spiritual development: the foundational level of the Written Word of God. It’s summation as the Law of God teaches us to listen for God’s wisdom and instruction and invites us to obey and thus flourish (Psalm 1). John represents this first step of spiritual growth, which is a kind of faith toward the Written Word of God, a phase many new converts experience as one of zealousness and literalism: for example Saul’s zealousness for the Law of God which led him to justify killing some who disagreed with him (Acts 7).
Like Saul who became Paul, the foundational level is not our destination though. It is our foundation, from which we grow and develop. And that next level of development is what Jesus represents: the Living Word of God embodied. Christ is our destination. The Written Word of God is moving into the Living Word of God as you and as me and as all who consent, with Mary, to be ongoing locations for the Word’s Incarnation.
In this way, Jesus shows us the Way. Whereas Jesus the Christ was this Living Word of God in his Essence, we partake in and through faith with that Essence by means of the Energies of God through the Spirit, receiving a share of the Living Word into our lives, and because of the Nature of the Living Word of God, it can’t help but to transform, heal and yes, save us – in the literal sense: making us whole and completing us.
The preparation that occurs is interior. We are to let the Written Word of God dwell abundantly in us, so that our minds are renewed to the point that we are “born again” as sons and daughters of God, co-heirs with and by the Living Word of God, which is Christ, the Union of the Divine and Human.
Yes, the Union was established in Jesus the Christ. But it may continue in you and me. Jesus and Christmas are not just for the historical celebration remembering what has been; a shrine or museum just for Mary, Jospeph and Jesus. They are historical pointers to what also might be in the future: to what the Divine Love is wishing for humankind, which seems to be the consummation of Life into Love. Such a process takes time. Thankfully, God’s patience is time-less. God’s plan is developmental, one stage unfolding to the next, like petals opening on a beautiful Rose.
Thus, be brief in wandering beyond prudence and long in enduring time’s abuses. The Law and The Gospel are wed in John and Jesus for our birth as New Ark’s of the Covenant; Temples of the Spirit; continuing incarnations; a living community of Christmases. This Miracle must be prepared for. Wait. Consent to the Presence underneath the Written Word. Listen for the Hidden Word beyond the page – the first Word of God is Silent Love.
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