I finished with a small group that have journeyed through the four books on ‘Explorations in Theology’. I always benefit a lot, and as a result began to think about the Jesus’ phrase ‘where two or three are gathered together in his name then he is present between them’. Given that the first book was on Humanising the Divine, thus emphasising the similarity of God and humanity, that God was fully present in the muman manifestation of Jesus, then maybe we can explore something…
If two people who do not profess faith in God genuinely meet each other and ‘see’ each other then what manifests is something that approximates to true humanity. If in their coming together they objectify / dehumanise the other then what manifests is that which we term ‘demonic’.
If we were able to facilitate in the current climate a Palestinian and a Jew meeting and truly meeting so that hopes, fears and story can be heard by each other then in the space in between humanity would be manifest – the image of God not simply being indivdual but corporate (make ‘them’ in the image of God). That is how close we are to genuine transformation… and why we are so far from it.
While we were enemies of God (‘love your enemy’ not simply being a command but a way of life that God has manifest since the beginning) God sat ‘opposite’ us – not objectifying us but seeing us… we however, unable to see God (eyes of our heart blinded) there was no reconciliation. So God, in Christ, becomes human and incorporates us in Christ through the cross, swallowing up all death, sin and the powers.
If we meet into (eis) his name, come toward his name, representing / manifesting Jesus, to the extent we can do that is the extent that Jesus is manifest. This is much more than a prayer ‘we meet in the name of Jesus’ for we can meet and proclaim that but not manifest the name / character of Jesus… and conversely those without faith could meet, not proclaim any such thing, but there be a manifestation of humanity, Jesus being the fullness and trueness of humanity. This concept of Jesus as the fullness / trueness seems a sensible way to go… loving friends is a genuinely good thing, the fullness is loving one’s enemy; not committing adultery / murder is a genuinely good way to go, the fullness is the total humanising of the other, seeing the other (I-Thou of Martin Buber), not obejcitfying them.
So trying to summarise my babble… all genuine relationships manifest something of what it is to be humanity. Where that which is expressed is not genuine the space is created for the demonic to manifest. We should encourage all relationships to move toward being genuine (not all that is expressed by humanity is unclean and as filthy rags – the ‘righteousness’ provoked by religion is that which is ‘as filthy rags’). Then if we claim to have been reconciled to the Father through the Son the huge challenge is to move into the very character of Jesus (to gather into his name) for humanity will be manifest in that space, but not simply humanity as we know it, but humanity as expressed in Jesus; the fullness and trueness of what it means to be humanity.