...but Christ who lives in me [Galatians 2: 20]
This cropped up in yesterday's lectionary readings (which meant that my evangelical brothers and sisters missed it) and it is a phrase that rather evocative. Incidentally, this post is dedicated to my brother in Christ, The Revd Tim Treanor - who recited this line of scripture ad nausiam all through College!
It is evocative for good and ill - a misreading of this line could evoke images of The Borg, the Collective from Star Trek. Their strap-line is 'resitance is futile' - not a happy association for this rather electrifying line from yer Bible. Rather than some Asimovian idea of Gaia, or the Star Warsian idea of the Force, we have something presented as rather arbitary, something rather 'we are are coming to get you, so don't even bother running away'.
My own 'image' for this is that of a prism. In itself it is a lump of glass, inert, inactive - but with some potential. That is how I regard humankind without God - 'as having some potential'. Then take Jesus 'I am the Light of the World' Christ, and we have a very different proposition. Shine a light through a prism and we see a glorious array of the spectrum of colours that form the light, but are only brought to life through the prism's intervention. Put another way, I regard God as a light so dazzlingly bright that all we would see is white retina-scorching intensity. Through God's relationship with humankind, we see the wonder of the composite colours, tones and hues. The light doesn't need the prism or the prism the light, but what a combination. Taken a step further, it is clear that a prism in and of itself is a wonderful object, but it not in any way dependent upon light for its existence. However, how pointless would it be to be a prism in the darkness. How pointless it would be to have the capacity to love God, to refract the light, and not be granted the opportunity to do so. I believe fully that God is augmented in His/Her relationship with us, as to love in a void is also pointless - like being a light that reveals nothing.