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Emmanuel: God Within—Within God

Now we celebrate the coming of Emmanuel, not just God with us, but God within us. See what I mean in this week’s edition of “Beyond Ironic”.

At this time of the year, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the coming of the Christ into the world. It has been explained in many ways, perceived in many ways. Perhaps we can perceive it this way.

Jesus has many names and titles. At Christmas, we remember the name Emmanuel, which means, “God is with us”. But He is not simply a companion who walks alongside us. God is within us, and we are within God. God is as close as our breathing. It is God who breathes life into us. And there is nowhere we can go where God is not. It is, “in God that we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:28).

We can also recall the words of Jesus, “The Father and I are One,” (Jn 10:30) and “What I have done, you will do also,” (Jn 14:12). Even though some Christians may be scandalized by the idea, we can perceive our relationship with God this way: There is only One Son of God, and we are It.

Let me back up for a minute. I often say the Bible is like an onion. An onion has many layers, each one having slight differences in thickness, texture, moisture, etc. Everyone has experienced separating the layers of an onion and noting these amazing differences. The outer, dryer layers are somewhat distasteful to eat, and we usually throw them away. Each layer is unique. One might ask, “Which layer is the real onion?” Of course, every layer is the real onion, even though each is different. The real onion is all the layers.

So it is with the Bible. You have, no doubt, encountered various interpretations of many passages and events from the Bible. Was the Exodus an historical event or a spiritual experience? Was Jesus’ exhortation to Nicodemus that he must be “born again” a metaphor or a literal instruction? And a thousand other examples. The answer is, yes to all. Every interpretation is correct (within reason). There are not correct and incorrect understandings or perceptions. They are all levels of understanding, or levels of perception. One of the great joys of reading the Bible and hearing new preachers is the new shades of meaning and depths of understanding that each evokes. With that perspective, let us unveil another “onion layer” to Emmanuel.

Each human (and every thing in creation) is a physical expression of God—God expressing Himself in materiality—even in people and things that do not seem to you “godlike”. Think of it this way. Can you express love in a song, in a poem, in a painting, in a gesture, in an action? Yes to all. And love in each form has its own beauty and uniqueness, its own joy of form. Yet all are one in their expression of the One reality that is love, that is, God.

In a similar way, each person is God expressing in materiality, a slightly different, unique, and seemingly separate individuation of the Oneness—the One Reality that is, “I Am that I Am.”

The message of the Christ is that We Are the Christ. The Son of God is One and We are It. As the great physicist, Erwin Schrödinger, observed, "The total number of minds in the universe is one."

As we celebrate the coming of the Emmanuel into materiality, may all of us recognize our Oneness as the Son of God, and our Oneness with God. Let your Divine Light shine forth into the world and be the Oneness!

Peace Be With You!

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