What do you think about Jesus? Some people believe that Jesus was just a human legend, another good guy. Jesus could not work miracles nor tell the future and did not have divine power. Others have underplayed the humanity of Jesus, emphasizing his divinity with all its powers. In the minds of many, Jesus and God are one and the same. The emphasis of one or the other aspect of Jesus can be a detriment to a true understandable belief in Jesus Christ. The traditional Christian teaching has been that Jesus is truly human and truly divine at the same time. Jesus Christ is the full authentic expression of the divinity in an individual human. The object of Christian faith is Jesus Christ. We find the authentic expression of Jesus Christ in Scripture. The interpretation of Jesus Christ can be found in a Christian Church, since there have been various interpretations about Jesus Christ’s saving role.
Christian sacraments have the power to enact what they symbolize. These are outward signs instituted by Christ to be efficacious, to do what they symbolize. The power of a ritual is more than the actual physical baptismal or sharing of the bread and wine event. We remember and enact the experience of Jesus Christ. This is not magic. We do not need to be like a sports fan (fanatic) at a sporting event that goes crazy into the event. Yet our involvement demands an expressing and deepening of the sense and experience of the mystery of God, as expressed in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the sacrament of God. His Christian Church is the sacrament of Jesus. The individual Christian sacraments are the expression of Jesus and his Christian community. The sacramental symbols of the Christian churches effect what they symbolize. They do what they say they are doing in a special graced filled moment.
There are material dimensions to our life. We are flesh, not just a spiritual soul. We know about physical beauty and wealth. If you are wealthy and the right race, does that prove that God loves you? In reality, the physical world is morally neutral and can be an asset or a liability. A disability can lead either to self-pity or courage. Sex can either be an act of love or manipulation. Wealth can be a power to help others or a path to greed. We have to accept ourselves and who we are. Thus, we have to let God shine through us. We must bring our senses of touch, smell, and hearing into our faith. We have to appreciate the beauty in the world around us. Christians believe in an incarnation theology. Jesus was truly in this world. Do not fear the body, imagination or the aesthetic sense. Your imagination uses myths and images to help you describe God, whether it be in music, art, or literature.
Sunday worship on the Sabbath is the key Christian ritual, with special emphasis on the Easter and Christmas ceremonies. Sunday is the day of worship rather than Saturday because Sunday is the day of the Lord’s resurrection. Thus, every Sunday is a little Easter celebration. Worship centers on Bible readings and their interpretation with sermons and testimonials. Prayers, hymns, chants and the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharistic meal, remain a mainstay of most Christian worship services. The various Christian symbolic actions or sacraments grow out of a Trinitarian baptism based on a belief in Jesus Christ.
A Christian is not without contact with God. Prayer in its various forms is the normal contact with the transcendent reality, whatever name we place on it. The ceremony of all religions is the point of contact with the divine. Prayer can and should be both personal and public. Thus, the Christian never forgets the admonition to pray always. He or she remembers the great prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.” The importance of prayer is like good communication. Take time to pray. Develop a personal prayer life. Faith without prayer is impossible. Request, give honor, praise, thank, listen, and share verbal and non-verbal prayer. Prayer is the breath of the Christian spiritual life. If we stop praying, it is like as if we stop breathing. Your spiritual life will die without prayer.
We are all called to Christian spirituality. Spirituality is not a monastic reality only. The contemplative must be down to earth. You need spirituality in your work. The need for spiritual nourishment goes with a dynamic, growing and changing relationship with God. You need to read scripture, do personal study, attend retreats and renewal experiences within small faith communities. Our spiritual life, our interior life, our very existence needs the life-giving element of prayer.
The gospel code of love and the beatitudes are prevalent. The Jewish Hebrew Ten Commandments remain as the basic tenets of most Christian Churches. However, nearly every Christian Church has laws or directives that are specific to their denomination or to their particular local Church. Creation is good, and man is responsible for the earth, so that there is a need for justice and love.