Patricia Hofer

Unity with Christ is intimately and infinitely personal.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus perceived or read the minds of those around him—not only the thoughts of his disciples but the thoughts of his enemies (Matt. 9:4; 12:25. Luke 9:47). This fulfilled Simeon’s prophesy, that the child Jesus was destined to “expose the secret thoughts of many hearts” (Phillips, Luke 2:34).

And isn’t that where our individuality lives, in the “secret thoughts” of our heart? Even Albert Einstein believed that “it is only to the individual that a soul is given.” …But Einstein also rejected “the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events” (28). For him and many others, the creator God of the Old Testament is just too personal and too improbable. …

As I see it, Jesus Christ walked the earth to show us that the personal and improbable does indeed happen. In sending His Son, God reflects to us His Person, the Abba, Father, that Jesus prayed to in Gethsemane, the One for whom “all things are possible” (Mark 14:36). The most amazing part of my conversion experience was encountering the individuality of Christ’s presence.

I found out that unity with Christ isn’t impersonal but intimately and infinitely personal. As CS Lewis wrote, “union exists only between distincts.” And then he continued: “Once, before creation, it would have been true to say that everything was God. But God created: He caused things to be other than Himself that, being distinct, they might learn to love Him, and achieve union instead of sameness” (The Problem of Pain 155-156).

Jesus Christ’s compassion and struggle and personhood reaffirm our distinctness of individuality, the spirit of who we are inside. Embracing and nurturing each one of us in our “secret thoughts,” Christ loves us and sustains us, now and for always. (Living Large, chapter 32)

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