Wednesday, June 27, 2018
For God so loved the world that God gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
I suspect this is one of the most famous quotations in scripture. I have heard it all my life. I have had it etched into my soul. But now in my maturity … I believe so many may have distorted in its actual meaning. And they did so not out of ill-intent but out of the theological scheme in which they were immersed and colored their reading.
So many people mentally change one of the words and that word is “gave”. They subconsciously translate it to mean “sacrificed the life”. They assume this verse speaks of the sacrificial atonement of Christ. But the verse does not read to sacrifice His Son’s life but to give to the world His Son’s Life.
The gift to the world … the life of Christ, to learn from words, to learn from His example, to learn from the mission He undertook. But there is more. This gift to the world also includes the Life of Christ that continued on in the lives of those who dared trust His words and His ways. The Church, the essential Church, is the living out of this gift of Christ’s very life in our own lives together. We are the ongoing earthly Life of Christ living on with the “genetics” of the Lord’s Spirit within us and among us. We are the ongoing voicing of Christ’s words and Christ’s stories. We are essence of the Divine in the experience of the human, as was Christ in His incarnation of the Love and Concern of God.
Many will say that we are saved by the sacrifice of Christ, and that would be in certain ways would be true. But I am one who believes that we are to a greater degree are saved by the life that He lived and His way of life now lived through us. We will be saved, not merely me but oh so many … by the living out of His ways, His words, His compassion, His quality of spirit, His priority of values, His mission and His method.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz