Identifying With the Christ That Lives Within Us

by Mark Votava

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Sometimes in my life my perceptions of God actually keep me from an awareness of God within myself.  I have a longing in my soul, “God save me from God.”  I have to unlearn so many things that I thought I understood.  As I am getting older, I am becoming more and more what I call an ordinary mystic; one who listens deeply beyond the intellect into the imagination of the soul.

  • A crisis of communion

We are at a crisis when it comes to our communion with God.  Most of what we know of God is all about information, facts, propositions, ideas and English language.  It seems we don’t have a very experiential, mystical, reflective, interior connection with our own souls anymore.

  • Our inner and outer worlds are divided

Our inner and outer worlds are divided from one another.  There is not an integration of the two.  We will need to cultivate the mystical imagination within us for an integration to occur.  The parish has a lot to teach us about the role of our imagination toward God and one another.

  • The Imagination as something that helps us to experience truth

Gregory A. Boyd says, “We have come to identify imagination as something that takes us away from truth rather than something that can be useful, and indeed necessary, to enable us to experience truth.”

  • The imagination can unleash beauty into the world

The imagination is a powerful human faculty that can unleash beauty into the world in ways that we cannot always understand.  Imagination helps us to experience the truth of life, not carry us away from it into fantasies and illusions.  We must be attentive to the mystical imagination within us in the midst of everyday life because it is our source of sanity in a culture that is so fragmented and disembodied.

  • The imagination of the empire has no sympathy for our being

Without embodying the mystical imagination we will be swept up by the imagination of the empire and left for dead.  The empire has no sympathy for our souls.  We need to have some capacity within our souls to defend ourselves from the imagination of the empire.  The mystical imagination will give us the strength to be grounded in our being.

  • Finding deserts of survival

The mystical imagination will help us to find deserts of survival that will replenish our souls in everyday life together.  The mystical imagination cannot be contained within words.  It encompasses the depths of our bodies and the living rhythms of our everyday lives.  It connects us to the communal and the parish dimensions of our countercultural expression.

  • Christ lives within us through the mystical imagination

The mystical imagination is connected to the resurrection of Christ.  Christ is alive within us and not dead to our imaginations.  Christ is alive today through his body in everyday life.  The mystical imagination identifies with the Christ that lives within us.

How can we embody the mystical imagination that lives within us?