There are flickering moments where I think that I finally understand, but it is those moments that I realize the limit of my understanding. The pride of the moment I grasp something new is quickly dimmed by the looming sadness that I know nothing at all.
I started a new course tonight, Prison Epistles. The course author, in analysis of of Colossians 1:15-20, presents the reader with Paul’s expression to the church in Colosse of the supremacy of Christ.
It is verse 19 that caught my attention (as in clotheslined me…):
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him…”
It is moments like this that one can almost feel synapses in the brain firing, connecting several things that should have come together much longer ago.
I think of the moments when I have felt God’s presence the strongest. Times when I felt I could not take a deep breath because of the crushing and yet delicate sensation of the presence of God. Moments when my spirit begged the mechanics of my eyes to open, yet my body knew too well that if I were to see something it would be too much to take in. There have been times when I have grasped the reason that God only allowed Moses to see His back – even without seeing that much, I have felt as though the frail skin that holds me together will split and my soul will burst forth if only to get an inch closer. Those moments when it came like a crashing wave, inconvenient and clumsy, and I sat at a desk seeping tears or stepped back from a microphone unable to sing another word.
And then I read this verse.
Christ, in his feeble and finite human form, held within Himself the fullness of God. I have tasted the presence, but I truly believe that to have the fullness of God dwelling within me would quickly kill me. But for Jesus to walk this earth, with its limitations, defects, and restrictions after spending millenia in perfect holiness… To go from the sacred and holy environment that is heaven and to enter this world, being trapped in by space and time, not to mention to be limited by skin, by fatigue, by a human mind a body.
The fullness of God…
Dwelling within a human body…
The image of the invisible God…the creator of the universe compressed into a body, the same size and shape as any other man’s. How did He remain within this skin? How did the weight of holiness not crush the very bones that held Him up?
Funny that I have never thought of it this way before. And yes, for that spark of an instant, I thought, “Ah, that is it. Now I understand.” And just as quickly it is as if the spark gave way to a momentary flame to illuminate the vastness of this truth.
And if I walk this road and study and commit all my time to understanding this theology, there will be something else. And something after that, and another after that. The only thing that I have understood is that I have understood nothing at all.