Christ Is On the Cross… Right NOWDan Doyle
I went to a national convention for Christian youths a number of years ago in Los Angeles. It was a wonderful gathering of Youth Ministers and others who work with young Christians that was full of life and unbounded energy and love for God. There were great speakers and countless workshops addressing the needs of young people in the Church and ways to meet them. Many were the typical, high energy, ‘fun,’ ways to get young people to think about and relate to Christ, but there were also some very challenging addresses given by brilliant and effective thinkers, writers and teachers in the field.
One of the keynote speakers, I remember, gave a talk on God’s understanding of time. The speaker prefaced his remarks by saying that we really can’t explain such a mystery, even with the rich power of language and vocabulary that is available to us. So we can only approach the subject through analogies, parables, or poetic metaphors that give us a ‘hint,’ of a way to understand it.
This speaker then went on to try to explain God’s sense of time using an analogy from a very popular television series at the time, Star Trek. He asked us to think about the way the TV series implied that the space ship was moving into “warp speed,” or in other words, reaching the speed of light. When the characters looked out at the stars in their infinite numbers before them and the order to go to warp speed was given, the points of light that were individual stars became long streaks of light at first, then all joined together into a single mass of white light. That was to imply that they had entered the speed at which light travels, 186,282 miles per second. That’s fast!
It is so fast that, according to physics, the closer you get to the speed of light the less relevant time becomes. At the speed of light, in other words, time, as we understand it, no longer exists; there is no past, no future, all is encompassed in the present moment. Everything is Now.
The speaker then said, “Maybe this is the sense of time that God has.” For God, the Ground of Being, all time is known at once. All of the past, all of the future, whatever that is, for God is NOW. God is NOW-present at all time.
The implication of this was then brought out by this speaker. He asked us to contemplate with him what that might mean. He got the crowd to imagine that if, for God, all time is the present, then that means that at this very moment He is saying “Yes” and creating all that is. He is also giving Moses his marching orders from the burning bush on the dry slopes of Mount Sinai. Right now, He is inspiring David to write the Psalms.
Of course that would mean that the Resurrection is present in this Now moment too. It would mean that he is ascending into Heaven Now too. It would mean that the end of time is present in the Now too.
But what really struck me like a fist-in-the-chest was when the speaker asked us to think that, if God sees all things in the present, the NOW, then Jesus, is right now, in this very moment, suspended on the Cross, suffering for all of the sins of the world, from the time of Adam and Eve, to the end of time as we humans conceive it. It would imply that at this very moment, right now, Jesus is nailed to the Cross, suspended there between the rejection of earth and the silence of Heaven, looking directly into my own eyes, into YOUR own eyes, and He is saying with His own suffering eyes, “Look at me. I hang here on this Cross right now, for your sins. I am doing this out of my unconditional love love for you. I forgive you.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. What a stunning thought..
Now, as the speaker says, this is not a matter of doctrine, or Christian dogma. We can’t really know God’s Mind so well as to explain it in simple words, or concepts. But this analogy is a way of trying to understand how God holds us, all of us, in the palm of his hands, at all times. His eyes are upon us in every moment in every age. His eyes are upon us, not just in the generic sense, but on the individual ME, the singular YOU, right NOW, intimately, warmly, lovingly, personally, and uniquely. What a thought indeed. God IS with us, now and always, and in every place. We are never alone. He sees us in our good and in our bad moments, and never stops loving us, never stops offering us his loving forgiveness, or challenging us to ‘go and sin no more.’
It is a great thing to know that we are so personally loved. It is a great thing to know that He is always present to us. We are always in His mind, perfectly. Dear God! How great thou art!