These weeks from Easter to Pentecost memorialize the calling forth and sending out of Jesus' witnesses. At one time considered the "season of the church," the texts give us glimpses into what it means to be brought into the life of God.
The idea of being divinized, or Christed, is still a bit shocking to my Western Protestant ears, and yet it is a basic implication of the Christian gospel. To be justified—to be brought into right relationship with God—means taking on the image and likeness of the God who creates and redeems us. The biblical depiction of this salvation is wonderfully earthy. Despite what sounds to us like an awfully high christology in the gospel of John, or an anti-fleshiness in Paul, these authors assumed that the redeemed state—that eternal life itself—was and is encountered and experienced in the here-and-now.
The change-in-identity this life in Jesus effects, however, will ruin your so-called life. Entrance into the heart of God is entrance into the one who suffers alongside of, and stands with, the crucified and the outcast. It is to feel in marrow and sinew a fractional portion of what God feels toward this world God so loves.
Kari Jo Verhulst, a Sojourners contributing writer, is an M.Div. student at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.