Transcendent Living – by Bill Volkman
First published in 1998 in Union Life Magazine
An important beginning point for transcendent living is found in an understanding of the well-known — but little experienced — Scriptural phrase: "This mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). The surrounding verses emphasize that our only hope of experiencing glory (heavenly bliss and splendor) in this temporal world is in experiencing the reality of the indwelling Spirit of Love.
There is no greater mystery than the truth that Deity has chosen to take up residence in the hearts of all faith persons. Imagine: Christ living in you and in me! We gulp at the thought. But we must not allow our feelings of human weakness and unworthiness to cause us to deny the reality of our spiritual oneness with the Trinity. Our continuing awareness of this oneness will ultimately convince us that, not only are we unconditionally loved by the Father, but that His unconditional love is for all humanity.
Our destiny is to be conformed to the image of Christ — that is, to be a lover of all people, just as Christ is a lover of all people. As we experience His unconditional love for us, it becomes clear that our love for ourselves, for God and for others is not an option, but an imperative. We must love, and will love, because He first loved us.
As God enlightens us and gifts us with a greater measure of awareness of His unconditional love, we will be transformed in our souls, and we will see others with the single eye of love. And how does this awakening come about? II Corinthians 3:18 makes it crystal clear: "And we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory."
As we come in humility (with unveiled faces — dropping our masks), turning our eyes on Jesus (beholding the Lord), we are being transformed into the image of Christ. In other words, as we rest in silence in His presence, we are changed.
"Come to Me," Jesus said, "and you will find rest for your soul." And where is He? He is both transcendent and immanent. But, most importantly for everyday living, He's within, at the core of our being, where our human spirit and His indwelling Spirit are one. As faith persons, we do no greater favor to ourselves than to make it a daily practice to turn within in a prayer of silence (contemplative prayer), responding with love to the One who first loved us, beholding His presence, and anticipating the transformation that comes to all as they recognize their oneness with Christ.
As we open ourselves to the Lord daily in solitude and silence, we will experience the rivers of His love flow through us to our hurting and expectant world. This is transcendent living.