God within


It was a crowded church in Singapore, and a young priest was talking about a recent first communion.

A little girl had run back to her parents, shouting, “I just ate Jesus!”

Later, the child asked her mother, “How does Jesus get from our stomach to our heart?”

The mother replied, “Jesus can do anything.”

That is simple truth.

Our memory tends to become a library of special events, and mine has kept the details of that day.

Jesus was in the radiant face of the priest.

Jesus was also in the warm laughter of the congregation.

He was in the child’s statement, her question and the mother’s answer.

Age brings us back to the simplicity of childhood, we look at the hills and valleys of life, and say Amen to everything that has happened to us.

We know that we grew with Jesus.

His birthday was the biggest event of the year. As wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus, so are his birthday gifts given to us.

We learned that Jesus loved children. He told his grumpy disciples that children were like the angels in Heaven.

Then, through Holy Communion, we knew that Jesus was within us, even though we didn’t understand how that worked.

We felt different.

Growing up was difficult at times.

It was difficult for Jesus, too.

Did he die for our sins?

Well, that’s how they thought in those days – sacrifice for atonement.

But with Jesus, something much bigger was going on.

Resurrection was bigger than crucifixion.

The holy man of Galilee died to be available to the world.

That’s what the little girl in Singapore was celebrating.

That was the truth spoken by the mother.

It is also the truth of our lives with Jesus Christ.

Growth comes through our own crucifixions and resurrections, and Jesus is always with us.

The beauty of this relationship is expressed in the writing of Simeon the New Theologian (9099-1022). The following is translated from the original Greek by Stephen Mitchell.

We waken in Christ’s body as Christ wakens our bodies, and my poor hand is Christ’s.

He enters my foot and is infinitely me.

I move my hand, and wonderfully, my hand becomes Christ’s, becomes all of Him ( for God is invisibly whole, seamless in His Godhead.)

I move my foot, and at once, He appears like a flash of lightning.

Do my words seem blasphemous?

Then open your heart to them and let yourself receive the One who is opening to you so deeply. For if we genuinely love Him, we wake up inside Christ’s body, where our body, all over, every most hidden part of him, is realised in joy as Him, and He makes us utterly real.

And everything that is hurt, everything that seemed to us dark, harsh, ugly, irreparably damaged, is in Him transformed and realised as whole, lovely and radiant in His light, He wakens as the beloved in every last part of our body.

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator. Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.
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