I’ve been thinking lately, of just how does one go about communicating to a largely disbelieving and skeptical world one’s relationship with Christ, which, as Christians, is our utmost way of knowledge; that is–our personal relationship with him. And I think I have a little insight into doing just that. I think I would ask any questioner when seeking to understand the reality of Christian experience, to think about their own experiences of personal friendship, on all of what passes as or in friendship, all that is felt and experienced, which by nature are real, tangible, and yet mostly indefinable things.
You can communicate the reality and nature of your friendship to someone else, describe it even, explain aspects of it, but in the end, because it’s a metaphysical* experience between two persons, that person being told of the relationship has to experience a similar relationship for his or her self, and even then it will be a unique experience between that person and the one newly known to him or her. He or she may relate to your communicating of your particular friendship by using his or her own experiences as a gauge, but until he or she actually takes the step of making contact, of developing a relationship, of making friendship, he or she will never actually know.
It’s really the same with knowing Christ. And so when thought of in this way, it isn’t all that strange, or it shouldn’t be all that strange that this same dynamic plays out or exists on a spiritual level when dealing with relationship between a human being and God.
In such a relationship, there is the reality once again of metaphysical experience and union, with all the inherent wonders, intricacies and intimacy involved, just as occurs between two humans. Now, others may or may not be aware of such relationship, nevertheless, even if they don’t, it doesn’t take away from or negate it.
I stop and challenge you right now as reader, before continuing with this article, to think about just one of your closest friendships or perhaps, love affairs. Think for a bit of the various qualities that make it a friendship or love affair? What are the things that pass between you as friends/lovers that you both value and cherish and that in turn continues to enliven and perpetuate that relationship? Are they things mostly known by others or rather just between the two of you? And if others do or do not know, understand or approve of the realities, the intimacies, the benefits of that friendship, does it really alter, affect or detract from the quality, depth and reality of that relationship? I think you will readily see that it does not. And so why should it not be so with spiritual relationship between a human being and God?
I think by attempting this little exercise it may help you to realize the possibility and reality of experience that may lay outside what can be tangibly or intellectually grasped. And, again, this buttresses with what is known of Christ; that He is a person, a personality and as such we can relate to him. As believers, we do not relate to a theory, precept or concept of God. That is impossible. We may hold such things, but we do not hold relationship with them.
As has been succinctly said: ‘Christianity isn’t’ knowing ‘about’ God, it’s knowing God’.’ And we can do so in a rather down-to-earth, easily-relatable manner, just as we would carry on any other relationship, only this one puts us in relationship with what is and who is divine. Indeed, if scripture is about anything, it is about relationship, relationship with others AND God.
* of or relating to things that are thought to exist but that cannot be seen.