Searching for the City of Light

SONY DSCA Jewish fable tells the story of a man who left his own home to seek a great “City of Light” far away:

He walked and walked all day. Just before sunset, he stopped and found a likely place to camp for the night. Before going to bed, he carefully placed his shoes on the ground, facing in the direction he was headed. That way, he figured, he would set out in the right direction the next morning.

In the middle of the night, something happened. A stranger came along and turned the man’s shoes around. In the morning the man awoke, put on his shoes and set out on his journey again. Thinking he was headed for the “City of Light,” he walked and walked all day.

Just before sunset, he looked down the road and saw a city that looked rather familiar to him. He entered through the city gate, and found a neighborhood that also looked rather familiar to him. He entered the neighborhood, and came to a house that looked rather familiar to him. He entered into the house. And there he lived happily ever after.

The moral of the story is that the journey of faith is actually a journey homeward.

One of the most beautiful and truly astounding things I have learned from Trinitarian theology has been that when Jesus took on and bound himself to humanity it was for good. He made his home with us just as he secured our home with him.

For so many years, I thought that his humanity ended at the Cross, and that he left, triumphant, for his real home to return on a distant day, when he would gather the faithful and transport them (and only them) to that distant home. The great City of Light.

But oh, the real story is so much better. In an interview, C. Baxter Kruger put it this way:

“We are accustomed to hearing preachers talk about praying to receive Jesus into our lives. For me that is a singular disaster. I think I know what they intend, but there is something very wrong in the vision of Jesus Christ that lies behind the wording. How can we receive someone into our lives in whom we live and move and have our being? That would be like me asking my daughter to receive me into her life. We’ve got it exactly backward. The gospel is not the news that we can receive an absent Jesus into our lives, as if we have life at all without him. The gospel is the news that Jesus Christ has received us into his life. We don’t make Jesus part of our world; he has made us part of his, part of his life and relationship with his Father, part of his anointing in the Spirit, part of his relationship with his creation. It is this reality that summons us to faith and repentance.”

Yet how often are we just like the man in the Jewish fable? — looking for truth outside of ourselves, not knowing that we already possess inside, in the person of Jesus Christ, everything we could ever want or need. 

For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28

Not unlike a fetus. We are quite literally wrapped up, inside and out, in God.

The earth-shattering real story is that Jesus didn’t shed his humanity at the Cross, and he never will. Our humanity is still as much a part of him today — and he of it — as it was then. His union with humanity is for all time and will not end. The Cross showed that humanity can sling and spew its very worst at him, and he won’t let us go. 

Because he is here, we are home — though of course we have yet to see the fulfillment of it. There is no distant City of Light to seek.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (John 1:9-11)

It seems to me that not a lot has changed in more than 2,000 years! But every time we witness or experience love, beauty or grace, within or without, it is him. By just raising our consciousness to this regularly, we recognize him, we receive him, we acknowledge him. In so doing, we can make a warmer home for him right now in our world.

It’s hard to imagine Jesus needing anything. But because he has chosen to be in relationship with us, it matters. He wants to feel at home with and in us today. Baxter Kruger noted in his interview that “when one member of the Triune God weeps, the other tastes salt. ” Because Jesus took on our humanity and drew us into his relationship with Father and Spirit, it’s the same with us. When we weep, they taste salt.

When he weeps, do you taste salt?

You can. Wake up. Be aware of him every day. Notice him in places you never have before. By doing so, you make a home for him, and your world will change. More and more, it will be revealed to be the City of Light that it is all because he is here.

~ by Jeannine Buntrock

1 comment so far

  1. Craig Kuhlman on


    Sweet reminder that whether it’s hiking boots, or the ruby slippers that Dorothy wore, there’s no place like home, and we find it without necessity for travel.

    Loving regards,

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