“I don’t think I got but this one thing: that I should get more—should always be getting more Christ—His righteousness.”
v11-12: to get righteousness from God IS to get running after more righteousness. Receiving this type of righteousness—true righteousness—is bound up with the pursuit of it. It is not, however, getting any other type of righteousness—which is false righteousness; which is the righteousness of law; or any system, phrase or three step doctrine through which one which gets something—even if the thing is what many call righteousness. As if opening the door of Salvation is the goal when Salvation unto righteousness is the place one begins to live when he walks beyond it. The other is inherently a kind of self-righteousness because the moment one gets it, he got what he wanted—he has it and so has the luxury to pause and go to lunch, or go back, or go anywhere else but back there. But the moment one has Christ’s righteousness, he doesn’t have something as if he has a thing—he has something rather like he has a beautiful motion or a golden horizon—the righteousness of Christ beckons to him, calls him forth because it is alive; as alive as Christ is alive; because Christ’s righteousness is Christ himself. It speaks to his soul. It is something he may have freely because (and only because) he must have more! Any other kind of thing one calls righteousness—if it ends at the beginning, stops where it starts, allows for catching even a breath of unrighteousness; for a time of “study” and pursuit of other things; for lazily wandering around denominations; for taking his soul out for an occasional weekend 5K the seminarian calls Sanctification, but at a pace only the most lazy, inexperienced, or false could believe is an actual race—is not the righteousness from God. It is not what Jesus Christ was up to. Jesus was running a dead-sprint of goodness.
Once anyone has a thing as boring as a doctrine he never intends to keep; the fire he warms himself by he soon forgets.
Jesus says it just like that!
“You don’t have to be wrong anymore. Now go.”
Everything; all the failures of the universe—of man and men—of their life and lives. All their great darknesses and swift demons and Mamons and Molechs and asherah’s and short-sighted visions and shallow gigantisms and legendary weaknesses; all the forces of hell itself arrayed in splendor all, all, all—all of these and more banished with a word; a great and simple kindness. An earnest thing; not advice; not a parable; not a miracle; far more difficult than a miracle—a truth. A truth he believed. Not only that, but one he believed man could believe—if only he would!
The essential question is not man’s question to Jesus: “Good Teacher, what must I do?”
This I claim by the two-footed logic that the question is man’s and it is practical. For Man is always questioning what is his practice when what he means to ask is what is his essence; confusing what is essential to his nature with what is practical in his environment; confusing what is behaving with what is being.
Whatever is essential cannot be practical. The essence of anything is as impractical as a hug on a horse. Yet it is precisely because it is impractical, that a mother’s hug is no less than absolutely necessary to a child--either at home, on a horse, or in a hailstorm. The practicality of a thing comes out of the essence of a thing. Not the reverse. In practice, being attempts to return to its essence. As when hugging, mother and child attempt to return to, which is to say remember, which is to say practice, that love is oneness. The practical may reveal and call back to the essential, but it does not cause nor does it give birth to the essence of a thing. Because essence has no cause—can have no cause. It is a thing’s origin. It is the solid ground that action crawls, then stands, then walks upon. And because man is eternally confused of his essential need, it is never met.
It is not practical.
Man’s essence, therefore his essential need, is goodness.
It is never essential that man have the answer to what he must do, but instead what he must be.
The essential question rather is Jesus’ singular one to man, “Why did you call me good?”
Jesus’ answer is the question. He asks man to consider how it was he knew goodness when he saw it.
Dude. Digging Galatians. Besides the fact that Paul seems to be like, “Cephas? What Cephas? What do I care that he is highly regarded? I met him a few times and besides getting a friend in Christ didn’t get much out of it—certainly not any improvement of my gospel—because I had met Christ.
So besides shrugging at the “pillars” once he surveys them, he says this amazingly cool thing at 3:22—this crazy beautiful image of sin and law and promise:
The promises of God are not locked inside the Law. The promises of God are locked inside Sin.
“…., so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.”
Everything is locked up inside Sin: law, promises, Jesus, ourself: our Jesus-self; our only true self; the child-self I am always meant to be.
These are the same. To have Jesus, to receive him, is to have them all.
Using the law to get at righteousness—which IS lawfulness; which IS obedience to the law of God; which IS believing in the Jesus who best loved God’s laws—is like using wheat to harvest wheat, or using a silo built of last years’s seed to store this year’s. It is inherently inefficient and breaks what it was meant to keep.
Laws do not rid anyone or any world of wrong. Laws, in fact, increase them.
A child who knows no laws, knows no wrong. Because what he does or does not do is not based and bathed in conscious morality. He indeed has an unconscious morality—one below his intellect in a land flowing with milk and honey; a land without reason but full of sense; a land free of logic or concepts or doctrine or theology or philosophy but full of love--therefore truly free. What the child ignorant of law does is bathed and based in a great mystery. A child smiling at a flower and bringing the little blossom-thought of God to his mother to look into somehow, without knowing it, knows goodness. As soon as he becomes aware that he may break the laws in his kingdom and chooses thus—he somehow shuts his eyes.
Life is this:
You start in a room with only two doors. You choose one and go in—not out. The room you go in is bigger than the one you left and has more doors. You choose one and go in. This room is even larger with even more doors. You choose again and again. You continue on this way: into larger rooms with more doors, at first enjoying the look of so many doors, until at last you are in a vast room of infinite doors. And suddenly you realize the room is not at all vast with infinite doors. Rather it is that you, being divided by infinity, have merely become very small. Many rooms and “in’s” ago, there was a door. The one in the first room. But you can no longer find it among all these doors. It went to a place with no doors at all. It is a door you must not choose, in order to find it—to go out and go home. It is the door of faith.
The mediator as law. The law as not one.
There is no mediator. No interface. No ego. No I. That guy is Wrong. There is no Individual possible in the form of a mediator between Self and God. The individual is only brought forth by Jesus—not by thinking about Jesus. To think about Jesus is to play mediator between One God and oneself. The thinker thinks. He things. This is not being. Jesus stands on both sides of the door; waiting to receive; waiting to be received. He sits on both sides of the bench. He is on the side of Self and the side of Thy Neighbor; on the side of Job and the side of God. He is for both; supremely interested and vested in both. He only desires the closed ring; the merry dance in the green meadow; the embrace of the family of God.
But the pure mediator must be for neither; only for justice itself; only for mediation between two parties that can not or will not be one of themselves. Two parties might agree on mediation, but as soon as they do, they do not Love. Thus a mediator is double-blind: blind to both what is and what could be; blind to both man and God; as useless to one as to the other; as useless to the creature as to his creator. He is like that hapless trinity of Eliphaz, Bildaz, and Zophar; those sharp thinkers of the dullest thoughts about the justice of God and the guilt of man; counsel scorned by both the righteous man and his righteous God; counsel scorned by both the plaintiff and the Judge; counsel scorned by both Father and child.
What God hides is Jesus; who is love in plain sight, so to speak.
What man hides rather is himself. He hides himself from himself which requires nearly the same technique as hiding oneself from God: which is disobedience; which is unbelief.
Yet in all things God is greater and better: he hides himself in our hiddenness; sees and speaks right through the shrubbery we bravely crouch behind.
Man is the answer to his own mystery. Yet being in his nature a greater sloth than sleuth—for even though man is in fact a great sleuth, he is eternally sleuthing out ways to be a greater sloth—he solves the great secret by secreting his life away; by hiding it in his sock drawer; forgetting it; placing it in the one place where one day he must return and find it.
“But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”
Whatsoever is manifest is truth; made so by truth.
If something has been exposed, whatever has done it, was light.
Jesus is light.
It is his nature to make manifest; to reveal.
It is very difficult to know this; admit this; sense and feel this as a child of darkness; because, at the merest touch of light, the child of darkness feels pain. In the light, of which he is at first and last afraid, his sufferings turn into something shameful, naked, and enraging. In the light, the child of darkness sees himself as he really is, not as he imagines. In the light, he first knows what is darkness.
Darkness is done in secret.
Secrets are works done in darkness.
The secret self is the shameful self. The secret self is the I; the “I am my own shepherd and I shall want and want and want;” the man behind the curtain. The secret self is Golum in the black cavern. Darkness hides. This is shame.
Sunlight hurts this creature; causes revulsion and blindness and a scurrying away further into darkness. The child of darkness sees only with his mind. He is so far beyond feeling, that he feels nothing but what he likes. He does not nor will see with his heart—because he has no heart—thus does not see at all. He thinks. He thinks. And broods. And judges. And contemplates. And compares and considers. And lusts. And wants. But he does not see. He can not. He does not see light as light. He sees it as a treachery against what he calls his life. Much and long, dangerous journey and magic it takes for this monstrous creature to be made new.
Into a child of light.
In every salvation there is a perishing. Yea, a perishing of death. As in every find there is a losing. Indeed, the losing of loss itself.
And the divine aroma rising from that happening—that place—that burning alter— is the aroma of Christ in us. And it is God’s pleasure.
Man’s every encounter with Christ is a saving of his life and a perishing of his death—an encounter with the judge of both the living and the dead. If it is not, then there was not an encounter between a man and his Christ—there was not an encounter at all. But only an avoidance; a wandering of man through everything else—which is everything he expects but the truth. If it is not, then it is only man and his living death.
(2 Corinthians 2:15)
St. Paul is not merely talking about how to have or not have supper at Church. Not at all! He is talking about a spiritual problem and psychological problem—of which, as the Church, is ours alone—with how to meet together with Christ in the upper room. When we go, we should not go hungry for what we want. Because some of us will get it and be full and drunk, and some of us will not and therefore be left wanting. We are to leave what we want--our likes and dislikes--at the door! We are to leave them at our home! We should only want what Christ wants! Which is to be broken and poured out and received; shared so that one may eat and drink only of Him; one’s life and joy and only satisfaction! “That we may partake of the sacrifice” and “share in the alter.”
Only like what Christ likes! Be unified in this!
When we go to church we go to a feast! Where God is the Host. Not only is He the Host, but also is He the Host of Hosts because (and solely because!) He himself is the feast. What He offers, only and always, is Himself, so that His body may disintegrate into us and we then integrate into His body. He is the Good Shepherd of lost sheep because He is also the worthy lamb that is slain.
To come and to sit, rather, as little judges, approving or disapproving—which is getting what we want or not getting what we want—is to either come hungry and eat and drink our own meal or to come hungry and be unsatisfied. Both extremes of the satiated and the hungry are wrong because they judge when they should be doing anything but; they should be remembering! And when they remember, they proclaim! And what they proclaim is Christ’s leaving until He arrives! His going away, only so that He may come again!
Worse, the tiny judges, drink and eat judgement on themselves. And they fall asleep.