An extrapolation of my previous post eventually places me in a position that many may find strange; a point I freely admit. In fact, I feel compelled to say that I may be way, way wrong here. And in the back of my head is the voiceover of an announcer saying, “Don’t try this at home.” And actually, this present post predates the previous post as far as my own spiritual journey has gone. I wouldn’t have been able to write the last post honestly unless I had already reached the point this present post is going to share: simply, I don’t think my personal salvation is the important part of my spiritual journey. I’m not even convinced it’s the biggest part of the Jesus Story.
I don’t remember the day it dawned on me, but there must have been a moment when my heart recognized something and my brain interpreted it kind of like this: “I am so in love with God, I am so convinced that my life is so much about God, that I can’t even say I care what happens to me in the end. I only care that while I’m here, I love God above all things.” And I remember thinking that if the metaphor plays out where I actually stand, so to speak, in front of God on a judgment day, I don’t care what God does with me. All I want is to kneel in front of God, and look upon God’s face, and weep, and say, “My Lord and my God. Oh how I have longed to look upon your face.” And I remember thinking that such a moment would be so grand and glorious that nothing else would ever, ever matter. That is how much I love God. I love God more than my own soul.
Now, I realize that sounds crazy. I know some people would talk about how horrible God would appear to the one God was about to condemn. I know some would say that that moment would make condemnation worse, because I would truly know the glory from which I was to be eternally separated. I know. I can intellectualize that. I know.
But on the other hand, doesn’t it in some way seem that this is right? That this strange and backwards view seems to align so very well with the way of Christ? When Jesus said that the one who wants to save his life will lose it, but he who loses it for Jesus’ sake will find it, I’m sure he was talking about things more down to earth. But could it be that far of a stretch to imagine that if we step beyond the bounds of human finitude, it might also be true that to fully find ourselves in God we must let go even of the concern for salvation?
It seems to me that the part of the Jesus Story that does focus upon salvation is somehow wrapped up in the idea that we needn’t worry about it anymore. And by this I don’t mean that as long as we do everything basically right, and as long as we follow in just the right way, and if God doesn’t surprise us in the end with a rule we never heard about or got right, then we’ll be saved because Jesus made it “possible.” No. I don’t mean that at all. What I mean is that Jesus said “it is finished,” and it was done. Over. Complete. Grand problem of cosmic proportions signed and sealed. One last sacrifice. One last shedding of blood. Done deal. Am I a good enough? Am I faithful enough? Do I trust enough? Get over it. It is done, and it no longer matters. All that matters is that I love as God loves. Could it be that the gift of Jesus was this complete?
From a certain perspective, I can see no other answer that makes any sense, but simply, “yes.”
Come to think of it, if I simply say that for me the point of Christianity is not to get myself to Heaven, but to love God and to bring God’s love to other people, well… like I say, maybe I’m wrong, but this version of the Story makes much more sense to me. And more than that, it feels right—way down deep inside of me.
Here on my desk is an old photo of myself kneeling down in the snow with two of my daughters when they were very young. I am smiling and I am happy in that moment. The thing is, when I look at that photo I don’t think, “There is a man who is saved.” Rather, I think, “There’s a dude that really loves God.” And to be honest, I tend to think that the latter is what the former truly means.