Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From "The Shack"

I am currently reading the popular book The Shack. About half way through. Not sure yet if I would recommend it, but it certainly has got me thinking. Here's a passage that I think is fascinating to think about in regards to Jesus. The main character Mack is talking to God the Father in this passage (who appears as a large black woman), called "Papa" about the nature of Jesus.

Mack said, "You're talking about Jesus, right? Is this going to be a let's-try-to-understand-the-Trinity sort of thing?"

She chuckled, "Sort of, but this isn't sunday School. This is a flying lesson. Mackenzie, as you might imagine, there are some advantages to being God. By nature I am completely unlimited, without bounds. I have always known fullness. I live in a state of perpetual satisfaction as my normal state of existence," she said, quite pleased. "Just one of the perks of Me being Me...We created you to share in that. But then Adam chose to go it on his own, as we knew he would, and everything got messed up. But instead of scrapping the whole Creation we rolled up our sleeves and entered into the middle of the mess - that's what we have done in Jesus."

"When we three spoke ourselves into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed. Even though we have always been present in this created universe, we now became flesh and blood. It would be like this bird, whose nature it is to fly, choosing only to walk and remain grounded. He doesn't stop being the bird, but it does alter his experience of life signifcantly."

"Although he is by nature fully God, Jesus is fully human and lives as such. While never losing the innate ability to fly, he chooses moment-by-moment to remain grounded. That is why his name is Immanuel, God with us, or God with you, to be more precise."

Mack asked, "But what about all the miracles? The healings? Raising people from the dead? Doesn't that prove that Jesus was God - you know, more than human?"

"No, it proves that Jesus is truly human."

"What?"

"Mackenzie, I can fly, but humans can't. Jesus is fully human. Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being. He is just the first to do it to the uttermost - the first to absolutely trust my life within him, the first to believe in my love and my goodness without regard for appearance or consequence."

"So, when he healed the blind?"

"He did so as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone."

That came as a chock to Mack's religious system.

"Only as he rested in his relationship with me, and in our communion - our co-union - could he express my heart and will itno any given circumstance. So, when you look at Jesus and it appears that he's flying, he really is...flying. But what you are actually seeing is me; my life in him. That's how he lives and acts as a true human, how every human is designed to live - out of my life."

"A bird's not defined by being grounded but by his ability to fly. Remember this, humans are not defined by their limitations, but by the intentions that I have for them; not by what they seem to be, but by everything it means to be created in my image."

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