Christ Means “Anointed”

April 7th, 2019 by Dave Leave a reply »

Christened Reality
Sunday, April 7, 2019

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he had reached a certain place he passed the night there, since the sun had set. Taking one of the stones to be found at that place, he made it his pillow and lay down where he was. He had a dream: a ladder was there, standing on the ground with its top reaching to heaven; and there were angels of God going up it and coming down. And YHWH was there, standing over him, saying, 

“I am YHWH, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. I will give to you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. . . . Be sure that I am with you; I will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this land, for I will not desert you before I have done all that I have promised you.” 

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Truly, God is in this place and I, I did not know.” He was afraid and said, “How awe-inspiring this place is! This is nothing less than a house of God, this is the gate of heaven!” 

Rising early in the morning, Jacob took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up as a monument, pouring oil over the top of it. He named the place Bethel. —Genesis 28:10-19

I believe the Scriptures say that reality was christened or anointed from the very beginning, from the first moment of its inception. The Hebrew text describes the ritual of anointing, pouring oil over something to reveal its sacredness, starting with the Stone of Jacob, Beth El: “This is the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Throughout the Bible we see a growing recognition of God’s all- pervasive, ever-invading Presence. Reality is soaked with Presence from the first meeting of Spirit and matter in the first line of the Bible (Genesis 1:1). The anointing oil doesn’t make anything sacred as such; it simply reminds both the anointer and the anointed of what was already the case.

The trouble is that many Christians have limited that anointing to the unique person of Jesus. Saying God’s presence is only here and not there, deciding what is anointed and what is not, is not our call to make. This entire world is soaked through and through with Christ, with divinity, like an electron planted in every atom. As Paul writes, “Creation retains the hope of being freed . . . to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. . . . We are all groaning in one great act of giving birth” (Romans 8:21-22). Unfortunately, most of us were not taught to see it that way. We thought we could torture animals, pollute the earth, kill people who we deemed not Christ-soaked because we thought it was up to us to decide: “She’s got the anointing and he doesn’t.” Only God decides what to anoint—which, thank God, is all of creation and all of humanity from the beginning. No exceptions. Our Christian word for all anointed reality is “Christ.”

We Are All Anointed by Spirit
Monday, April 8, 2019

Remember that it is God who assures us all, and you, of our sure place in Christ and has anointed us, marked us with God’s seal, giving us the pledge, the Spirit, that we carry in our hearts. —2 Corinthians 1:21-22

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because God anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. —Luke 4:18-19

We all know respect when we see it (re-spect = to see a second time). We all know reverence because it softens our gaze. Any object that calls forth respect or reverence is the “Christ” or the anointed one for us at that moment, even though the conduit might just look like a committed research scientist, an old man cleaning up the beach, a woman going the extra mile for her neighbor, an earnest, eager dog licking your face, or an ascent of pigeons across the plaza.

All people who see with that second kind of contemplative gaze, all who look at the world with respect, even if they are not formally religious, are en Cristo, or in Christ. For them, as Thomas Merton says, “the gate of heaven is everywhere” [1] because of their freedom to respect what is right in front of them—all the time.

The Christ Mystery anoints all physical matter with eternal purpose from the very beginning. We should not be surprised that the word translated from the Greek as “Christ” comes from the Hebrew word mesach, meaning “the anointed” one or Messiah. Christ reveals that all is anointed, not just him.

Many Christians are still praying and waiting for something that has already been given to us three times: first in creation; second in Jesus, “so that we could hear him, see him with our eyes, watch him, and touch him with our hands, the Word who is life” (see 1 John 1–2); and third, in the ongoing beloved community (what Christians call the unfolding Body of Christ or the Parousia—Growing Fullness), which is slowly evolving throughout all of human history (Romans 8:18). How can we participate in this Flow?

As Reverend Jacqui Lewis asks:

What if every human being is anointed, Messiahed, Christ? What if the most fundamental aspect of our identity is that we are each anointed and appointed by The Holy One, by Spirit—to preach good news to the poor, liberty to the captive, and sight to the blind? What if we take seriously being the Body of the Christ—that we are the hands, feet, and heartbeat of the Living God? What if we are Word made flesh, Love made flesh, Light made flesh? [2]


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