Union

When it comes to true sex, skin gets in the way…

I was thinking about that the other day. I don’t have much experience with sex. I’ve never had sex at all, strictly speaking. But I have had moments in my life, especially recently, when I think to myself “skin gets in the way.” It’s like you can’t be close enough to that other person. It’s not enough to be next to them, holding them, talking to them, listening to them… It’s like you want so badly to melt into the other person, to be so one with them that you can’t tell where they end and you begin. You don’t just want to know what they think, you want to think their thoughts. You don’t want to just be with them, you want to be them. But not in a way where you are rejecting you, or who you are, or your own identity. More like you want your self to absorb  into theirs, to where it doesn’t matter what is “your” identity anymore. It’s really beautiful, and quite possibly what relationship is all about…Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about union. About our relationship with God. About how Jesus says that he came to bring us into union with Him:

He’s the vine, we’re the branches.

He’s in God, we’re in Him.I no longer live,

but Christ in me.More and more, I started seeing connections:

“For this reason, the man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, and the two become one flesh.  (Ephesians 5:31)  For what reason?

Union. Being so lost in the other person that you don’t know where you end and they begin. That desperate desire to share the sam
Then comes verse 32:e skin.

“This mystery is great, but I’m speaking about Christ and the Church.”

So this is really about that. And here’s what’s crazier. It’s already that right now.

The Union that we read about in the Bible is not a future thing. It’s a now thing. The cross accomplished the union. We live in this strange tension of being already in union and not yet experiencing it. We get tastes, glimpses, and progressively live more and more from that place of union, but it’s a process. Jesus saw that skin gets in the way, so he decided to go ahead and live inside you. He knew that the old you was too seperate to ever be one with Him, so he crucified you and gave you a new you. One that was no longer you living, but Christ living in you. It’s wild. You are now fully you, yet completely Christ at the same time. When the blood and water flowed mingled down, you melted right into Him…

Now, you don’t just listen to His thoughts, you have His mind. (1 Cor 2:16) You’re not just with Him, you are one body IN HIM. (John 17, Eph 5, Phil 2) Although Christ is progressively opening your eyes to this revelation (Eph 1:17-19), the union is already complete in the cross and ressurection. Jesus’ sacrifice really was enough. You are absorbed into the vine.

So what does this mean now? For me it means I’m not actually a part of this culture anymore. I’m actually living in two realities right now, even if I don’t realize it, even when I don’t feel like it. I’m in union with the universal creator of all humanity. I’m in union with the one who transcends every culture, every philosophy, every religion, and yet is found within all of them. (See my note at the end of this post for more clarity on what I mean here) I sometimes think about how seperate I feel from other cultures, other ways of thinking. In my less glorious moments, I even think that my Western culture is somehow better than other cultures, as if Capitalism and Democracy are somehow inherently Godly. I forget to remember that the Union Jesus gave me is a union he gave to every person on the planet if they want it. It’s a union that allows every culture to tap into the universal truths that God Himself set into motion, to feel what it means to be truly human, and to be fully alive. I forget that while I may not know how to interact with the tough questions of Athiests, or the broken cries of homosexuals that wonder why “Christians” hate them so much, I’m in total union with someone who does know. He loves, and He transcends all of my shortcomings and ignorance. The point is relationship with Him, and He is really good at bringing people to Him.

When you are enjoying union with another person long enough, you start to talk like them. Your mannerisms rub off on each other. Studies have even shown that your DNA makes minor adjustments to where you both begin to LOOK like each other! We are in union with a person named Jesus, and we are becoming more and more like him every day. The more we enjoy this union, and drink in the love of God, the more we manifest that union. In the process though, my goal is to be so transparent that you can see Jesus through me. The more honest I am about how I don’t have all the answers, only an incredible relationship, the more people will see Him and be drawn to Him. I don’t have to be perfect, or mister Evangelist, I just have to be honest.

I have the ultimate Union. That means that when I’m real, transparent, honest, the vine starts bearing fruit, and fruit of that union feeds a starving world effortlessly.

*****************************

(Let me tell you what I’m not saying. I’m not saying all religions are true. I’m not saying that all roads lead to Jesus. I’m not saying that those who follow other Gods are following the truth. I’m saying that God is the Logos (John 1). He is within all things (Col 1:17). Even wrong religions have a hint of Him, which is why people grab onto them. They taste a bit of truth, and they hunger for more. It is our job as Christians not to try to disprove every religion, but to reveal that the thing they value as true and alive in their religion is actually just a small bit of Jesus surrounded by a lot of not-Jesus. Christianity never claimed to be the only place to find truth, only to be the entire truth. For more on this, see C.S. Lewis’ writings on hell, salvation, and the afterlife. I specifically reccommend the Great Divorce, Mere Christianity, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume III, and Aslan’s dialogue with Emeth in The Last Battle.)

(Some of the concepts in this post are building on or borrowing from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and Sex.God. by Rob Bell. They are my original thoughts, but both these authors discuss some of these topics, and I feel I owe them a mention. If you haven’t read these books, I recommend them. )


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