I was fed up being ripped off at motorway service stations. I found the price of ‘tea’ appalling and it invariably tasted like coffee-coloured dishwater. So I bought two12 volt kettles at a sale and decided to make my own tea in the car. The good news was that it worked. The bad news was that the water took three hours to boil. I was so frustrated that when I returned home I plugged the kettle into the mains for a quick cup of tea. There was a flash, a puff of smoke, followed by the smell of burning and my poor kettle gave up the ghost. I had learnt my lesson – 240 volts into 12 volts will not go. It was the same in the Old Testament, the infinite love of God simply would not go into finite human beings. That’s why nobody could even see God and live, and the very thought of his infinite love entering into our finite human being was therefore total inconceivable.
God may well have been referred to as a Father in the Old Testament, thirteen times to be precise, but he was only called Father in so far as he was the creator. He wasn’t the sort of Father who would embrace us with his love, never mind enter into us. He was a Father, in the same way as we call Hippocrates the father of Medicine, or Michelangelo as the father of his statue, David, or Charlemagne as the father of Europe. That’s why Jesus completely shocked his listeners when he said God is far more than just that, – ‘he wants to be our Dad’. It is for this reason that he created us and for this reason that Jesus came amongst us.
After a life given up to loving the God who was his Father, he was finally filled to overflowing with his love, in such a way that he could return to him at the Ascension. Although, he returned to his Father to be enveloped once more in the love that he had experienced with him from all eternity, there was something different that had not happened before. He had returned whence he had come, but with a human mind and heart and body too. Now it was possible for God to do what had never been able to do before. He was able to do something that I had never quite understood before, that is before I’d plugged my kettle into the mains and realised that I needed a transformer. God needed a transformer too, a supernatural transformer and that transformer was Jesus, who had both a divine and a human nature. Now God was able to communicate his infinite love through the human love of Jesus to other human beings, who had not been able to receive it before.
Now, through Jesus, the whole of humanity could have access to the infinite love of God to the end of time. It was this love that was destined to bring about a whole new world order that did not depend on man-made power, but on the God given love that Jesus had first called the Kingdom. It was a Kingdom of love. However nowhere in the Gospels did Jesus say that the Kingdom had come, but only that it was coming. It finally came when, in the immediate aftermath of the Ascension, the infinite loving of the Father, that would constitute the Kingdom, was sent out. It was sent out through Jesus, so that after the Apostles, every Tom, Dick or Harry could receive it, if they had the inner receptivity of heart and mind that many thousand did on that first Pentecost day. This could never have happened before, even the greatest of the patriarchs, prophets and priests in the Old Testament, never received what was open to the humblest human beings thanks again to the transformed and transfigured human nature of Jesus. That’s why Jesus himself had once said that no man born of a woman was greater than John the Baptist, but even the humblest in the kingdom of God’s love was greater than he.
Every possible form of human love that we can experience here on earth, is but an infinitesimal example or spark of the infinite love that flames in God. We all know what, at best, a dad’s love is like on earth, that’s why Jesus was able to tell us what God’s love for us is like, but infinitely more perfect than that of any human dad. In the Old Testament God is sometimes called a mother, as well as a father. The Fathers of the Church referred to the masculine and the feminine in God – what they called the ‘anima’ and the ‘animus. In other words motherly as well as fatherly love is to be found to perfection in God. When the son of God was made flesh then, you find in Jesus the perfection of God’s love, the masculine and the feminine, not just embodied in who he was, but in what he did. Re-read the Gospels again with this in mind and you will see that the way in which he relates to and loves others, transcends gender. He loves as a father and a mother, and as a brother and a sister too. At least, read just one of the Gospels again, and you will see what I mean.
Now when Jesus was glorified it does not mean that his human nature had been abandoned, far from it, for it means that it has been brought to perfection. In other words, in receiving the love of God through the Holy Spirit, the recipients were not just receiving the fatherly and motherly love that reached out to them through Jesus, but the brotherly and sisterly love of Jesus too, the love that he showed for others on earth, but as it has now been brought to perfection in heaven. It is terribly important for us to realise that if, for instance Jesus was caring and compassionate for others before his resurrection, then he is even more so now that these human qualities have been perfected by the divine. There is however something further, for whilst on earth he was limited in what he could do for others by his physical body, this is no longer the case. Now, however, he had a ‘spiritual body’, but a body nevertheless. This enables his presence and the love that radiates from that presence to penetrate all who would receive it, at any time, at any place, past present and to come.
There is another form of love that we find on earth that has its perfection in God. It is the love that draws a man to a woman and vice versa. There is an important difference between this form of love and all the other forms of love that I have mentioned. A fatherly or a motherly love, a brotherly of a sisterly love, are of immeasurable importance for the completion and the perfection of any family, but they aren’t enough to complete the ‘mystical’ family that God wants to flourish.
This love that is crucial to his plan is mirrored here on earth by the love that yearns for union, the deep penetrating and all-embracing union that finds its completion in this life, in marriage. He not only wants to be our father and our mother, with Jesus as our brother and sister, but he wants something further. He wants to become our lover in the strict, but supra sexual, sense of the word. In short, by using his love sent through Jesus he wants to draw us up into himself and into the mystical maelstrom of loving that unites him with his Son. Then for us, with all those whom we have loved and held dear in this life, to go on and on into eternity experiencing to an ever deepening depth and intensity the ecstatic bliss of being ever more fully alive through love.
This is only possible because the infinite loving of our Father continually widens and deepens our capacity to receive more and more love. The mystical journey has a beginning but no end. The journey can only go on and on, but we can only go on and on because the love that we receive is still transmitted to us through the human nature of Jesus, in whom we will always continue to live and move and have our being. The infinite love of God is, and will always be, transferred to us through the human but glorified body of Jesus, that’s why he called himself – ‘The Way the Truth and The Life. And that’s what he is and always will be to us, from here to eternity.’