Getting on with living...
2 Corinthians 5:6-17 is the focus for this week. Paul's words to the Christian community gathered at Corinth are, as usual, speaking on several levels. They are a reflection on and affirmation of Paul's work as an apostle and evangelist. They provide motivation to all Christians, giving us reasons to remain faithful, confident and, most importantly, filled with hope. But for me, what spoke the loudest was that Paul here is wrestling with the question: "Where do I find Jesus?"
Within the church at Corinth were those who believed that God was only interested in their souls and spiritual life and the physical body and physical life were of no account or value. Consequently, despite their expressions of faith, some people within the church were openly living in direct contradiction, some would say rebellion, to the teachings of Jesus. Others were simply looking for that great spiritual experience and divorcing themselves from all things earthly to the detriment of their families and communities. The message of Jesus and the good news of God's love was suffering as a result. Paul attempts to bring them, and us, back to earth.
He speaks about the difficulty of living here and knowing that we are still living away from our true home. But instead of focusing on the longing to be there Paul uses this to remind us that this is the very reason why what we do in our lives at this point in time is so important. He encourages us to look for Jesus within our everyday lives as humans rather than trying to exit this life in order to find him. There is much about the incarnation here. The Word made flesh. God become man in and through his Son, Jesus Christ. Just as God chose to come and dwell among people as one of us, so we are reminded that this is also our role. We are called to live in this world. As individuals or as part of the wider community of Christians we are the physical presence of our gracious God. Our voices must proclaim this grace. Our actions give it life. Our attitudes, shaped by grace, lead to compassion, forgiveness, community, peace. The love of Jesus "compels" us, writes Paul. This love is the driving force, the life force, within us for we are "new creations" here and now, not later.
This brings me back to the original question: "Where do I find Jesus?"
For me, Jesus is wherever I am and wherever the church is gathered.