Matter, spirit, “Christ,” and women

Richard Rohr, OFM had a great line today in his daily meditation. (They are awesome – you can check them out here!)

“The Christ never died—or can die—because he is the eternal mystery of matter and Spirit as one.”

I’ll forgive him the “he” because this idea is so thrilling. “The eternal mystery of matter and Spirit as one!”

I’ve been wanting a good definition of the word “Christ” for a while now. Literally, the Latin christus means the “anointed” or chosen one of God. But theologically, the “Christ” is understood to be something larger than Jesus, something which he embodied. Feminist theology speaks of Christ-Sophia as the Wisdom of God, the creative agency of God that formed the world and remains in and with creation, and that became human in the man Jesus of Nazareth. Christ is present in the “body of Christ,” the Church, and the “body of Christ,” the Eucharist – both of which go far beyond the physical person of Jesus. Feminist theologians claim that women can participate in “Christ” as fully as men precisely because “Christ” is not restricted to the person of Jesus; it is something larger that we all can be part of.

“The eternal mystery of matter and Spirit as one.” – This interpretation claims that ALL matter, of EVERY kind, is the dwelling place of God/dess! Trees, rocks, water, birds, worms, platypuses (platypi?), children, men, women, flowers, earth – ALL exist as part of the great “I AM.” We cannot find ANY PHYSICAL THING in this world, in which the Divine does not reside! And this indwelling itself is the meaning of “Christ.”

Imagine what this understanding of Christ would do for helping Christians appreciate the sacredness of women, of all things “feminine” – as well as of all people and all of creation!

What if we looked at a pregnant woman (an image one of my students very agitatedly told me “should not go together” with God!) and saw the Christ – the indwelling of the divine in her physical being? What if we looked at each and every girl and boy and saw ALL of them as the body of God/dess?

I believe we are called to this kind of seeing as the way to break down structures of oppression and violence in our world. We cannot do harm to one whom we truly perceive as holy, as sacred. What would it take to help us realize that “Christ” resides in every atom of every body in the universe?

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