Is God within US?

Jan 14 2018


We may wonder why Jesus called essentially non-educated men to be his disciples. We may wonder even more if we consider this morning’s Gospel lesson in which Nathanael is downright nasty and then immediately changes his mind when he perceives that Jesus has special powers. Was that what convinced him to follow Jesus? Is it that we perceive God as having special powers and could intervene in human lives that calls us to believe in god?

Neither Philip nor Nathanael believed or understood the full power and ramification of their calling. None of the disciples did. Yet in the section just before this one, John was talking about Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit. So we are again faced with trying to explain just what John meant and what this Holy Spirit ought to be to us. Perhaps this story might help.

“According to an ancient Hindu legend there was a time when all human beings were gods. However, they treated their divinity with such disrespect that Brahma, the chief god decided that their god-image should be taken away from them, and hidden in a place where it could never again be found. The question arose, "Where to hide it?"

Brahma consulted with all the lesser gods on the problem. One lesser god said, "Let us bury man's divinity deep in the earth." But Brahma said, "That will not do. Man will dig into the earth and find it."

Then another lesser god said, "Let us take man's divinity and deposit it into the deepest sea." Brahma replied, "That will not do either. Man will penetrate the deepest waters and will find it on the ocean bed."

Then a third lesser god said, "Let us hide man's divinity on the highest mountain peak." But Brahma again disagreed. "Man will surely climb up all of earth's mountains and someday will find it."

The lesser gods were discouraged. It seemed there was no place on land or sea that man would not eventually reach. Then Brahma said, "We will hide man's divinity deep within man himself. He will never look for it there."

And ever since then, the legend concludes, man has been climbing, digging, diving, exploring, searching for that which is already within himself.

It has been said that two thousand years ago a Man named Jesus found it, but in the movement that sprang up in His name, the divinity in man has remained the best-kept secret of the ages.

One of the great failures of humankind seems to be not to know and experience the Spirit of God that lies deep within every individual human being. But Jesus looks us squarely in the eyes as he speaks to us, until we see reflected there the image of the person we were meant to be.”

What does it mean to have God’s Spirit within us. According to Paul it means that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit so we ought to be very careful what we do with them and what we put into them. But that is a very elementary concept – much different from realizing that God is within us every step we take every day of our lives. It is a very different concept to take steps to be careful what we do or put into our bodies to keep some strange God-like presence from being aware of what we do every minute of our lives, and keeping that presence from  punishing us if we mess up, from the concept that a portion of God is actually within us and a part of us.

That ought to give us peace, but we forget God is present. That ought to give us a feeling that we are never alone, but because we cannot see God, we think that God is not present. That ought to give us a feeling of courage and strength, but when our lives are falling down around us, when we are in the midst of tragedy, natural calamity, or death, we feel everything but courageous or strong.

I cannot give or fully explain the miracle of God’s Spirit within us; I can only tell you that it is. How we each access that Spirit of God within us, how we each finally come to know and believe that God really is with us, how we begin to live our lives knowing that whatever befalls us God is with us is something that we must each do on our own.

Jesus was the Christ Spirit of God in the flesh. In our own little ways, we carry the Christ Spirit within us and are expected to be a Christ to others.

There is a simple explanation to the Hindu greeting of "namaskar."  It is the word of greeting accompanied by praying hands and a bow at the waist. It means, “The god in me salutes the god in you.”

What a wonderful reminder each time a person greets another, “The god in me salutes the god in you.” And so it goes. Jesus asks us only to recognize that there is a portion of God’s Spirit that resides in every living being calling that person to faith, to hope, to love and to salvation – true freedom. How many of us really take the time to recognize and address the Christ in us, much less the Christ in those around us?  Amen.