Encountering Christ Within Your Unique Shape

Master PotterLast time, I spoke about the Cosmic Christ as the One alluded to in Psalm 139, as the all-embracing presence of God and of love that both surrounds our lives and fills them. Because of this we can look at wherever we go to, whatever we experience, as including Christ’s presence. In Psalm 139, this all-embracing presence also shapes who we are and who we become.
Our uniqueness – from our appearance, our gender, our skin color and ability, our sexuality – is thus also a manifestation of the Christ presence. For in and through God as present as the Cosmic Christ we can see God as knitting us together in our mother’s wombs as the Psalmist describes, working in and through the natural processes in her body to give us life and birth us into the world.
diversity and disabilityOur unique personalities, too, are shaped in part by this same creative presence which gives us life, so even within our unique personalities there lies a reflection of Christ, shaped by the Cosmic Christ.
For me at least this is a stunning and amazing idea. We each are so different. Those of us who work with our hands, who might find the book learning or studies of the scholar overwhelming, might sometimes feel less for not being as them. Those of us who feel alive opening up books and in the written page, writing and reflecting alone, might feel less than those working with their hands, competing in sports, or who are more outgoing.
I remember in my studies to be a chaplain studying the enneagram during clinical pastoral education. The enneagram is a way of looking at and categorizing different types of personality types, including looking at both their strengths and potential pitfalls. It has some parallels with the Meyers-Briggs test, but goes back to ancient sufi mystics. I remember learning mine and thinking “drat. How can that be? If only I was one of these others, I could do so much good in the world”.
Later I was shocked that many, many other people in learning both their enneagram type and their Meyers-Briggs personality types, concluded that “If only I could be” some other personality type “I could do so much good in the world”.
It is easy to see who we are as broken, damaged, or wrong.
YouAreNotBroken_bSadly often Christianity has sent this message in the West in reiterating Augustine’s idea of original sin, that somehow we inherit a brokenness and guilt from our original ancestors that damns us to a life falling short of God’s best. Yet even without that piece of bad theology we can fall into looking at ourselves as damaged.
How many of us can remember, even as a child, being compared whether to our siblings or the child next door.
“Why can’t you be more like Johnny? Why aren’t you more like Janie?”
Such questions, early on, teach us an inadequacy, that whomever we are is not enough.
But you are enough, according to the Psalmist. This message of our enough-ness has always been beautifully pictured to me by the words of Christian author Marianne Williamson, when she writes:
Youre-Not-Broken“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
I don’t know if I can truly say my deepest fear is that I am powerful. But the way Williamson calls us to acknowledge our beauty, power, and giftedness as a reality and source of spiritual strength and vitality truly does reflect the message that you and I are surrounded, shaped, and guided by the Cosmic Christ through whom each of us can in our uniqueness shine the light of Christ in different ways.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
Micah

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