The essence of the Christian mystery is a revelation of divine love. It's less about rules or forms of religious expression and more about the incarnation of love and how you and I can also be transformed by this universal and unconditional love.
Sometimes "Christians" are not always the best advertisement for the faith. The book of John is a mystical treatise on love. John 14 is often quoted in an attempt to persuade and convert people. It reads, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." At first, this might appear exclusionary. However, when we reflect on this passage deeply, a more universal meaning is revealed. Taoism and Buddhism refer to the spiritual journey as "The Way". The word "Truth" is a universal term used in all of the Great Traditions, as is the word "Life". What if the Way, the Truth and the Life referred to in John 14 are all pointing to the same reality? The reality that "God is Love."
At the heart of all the great traditions rests the mystical or contemplative dimension of that tradition. All are formed by some great revelation or mystery, and so by their very nature, are all mystical. They all have practices such as prayer, meditation, movement, art, music, poetry, an oral and written tradition. They all share a common heritage of contemplative practices. As humans, we are all contemplative. We all have an inner life and ultimately exist and persist in a great and awesome mystery. Spirituality is ultimately less about doctrine and theology and more about the fruits that come through practice, community, and grace.
To quote another Christian passage from Matthew 7:16. "By their fruit, you will recognize them." If the fruit of one's life, practice, and community look like compassion, love, mercy, forgiveness, joy, peace, justice, understanding..., then regardless of the form of their spirituality and practice, they are growing on the same tree of divine love. These are the true contemplatives, the true Christians, the true practitioners. Just as there are many paths that lead to the summit of a mountain, there are many paths that lead to love. We can easily recognize our sisters and brothers on the journey by the fruits of their practice. LOVE!
Author: Jeff Genung