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    a detail of a earth-toned mosaic

    Look at Me and Live

    The new life Jesus brings is contagious. Expose yourself to this contagion.

    By Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

    July 13, 2021
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    From the chapter “The Living Christ” in the book The Gospel of God’s Reign: Living for the Kingdom of God, this week’s free ebook.

    Most people do not really live. They are tired. They trudge through life on a wrong basis and are thus not genuine about who they are. They are insincere – both in their happiness and in their sadness, in their poverty and in their piety. How refreshing it is to meet someone who is simply himself, even if he seems somewhat rough and unrefined in his ways.

    Jesus lives. He says, “I live! In me you can see an example of life.” This word alone has an enlivening effect. Just looking at someone who is truly alive gives one strength for life. Just to see a doctor who is full of confidence can help a sick person. Jesus tells us: “I live. Look at me. Look until you are satisfied. For you, too, must live – that is why I am in the world.”

    Life itself has something infectious about it. Just as disease-bearing germs spread, so do miracles of life, especially those wrought by the Spirit. This is why Jesus can turn the world upside down. He is light in his very person, and contact with him is contagious. Expose yourself to this conta­gion. Become alive! Jesus does not require arduous intellectual effort – no, a creative power emanates from him that renews us. He wants to be more than a unique example. In other words, he doesn’t want us to be mere hangers-on, clinging to him like leeches. We must become alive ourselves.

    a mosaic of Jesus healing a blind man

    Fr Marko Rupnik SJ, Jesus healing the Blind Man Photograph by Lawrence OP

    Jesus always remained himself, whether he was with tax collectors or with Pharisees. He had true life within him. Therefore, society did not infect him, rather he infected society. And we, too, should be alive like that: people with life, who are sent into the world. When we are alive we can determine whether something is genuine or not. A person who is alive sees the truth; he somehow knows whether or not to get involved with this or that situation. He has sharp eyes and ears and possesses a fine sensitivity for things that are not worthwhile, taking no part in them. He can distinguish between God and mere material influences.

    If we wish to make an impact on the world, we must be alive. Unless we are inwardly awakened, our theology is useless. It is our life alone that makes any lasting impact. When we are alive, people take notice and say, “Yes, there’s something living in him!” Only then do we have a right to go to people and be a witness.

    Of course, all this requires a certain renunciation. We must let go of the things that appear to have life but in reality do not – customs, traditions, institutions that are held in respect but are dead. I do not mean renunciation in the monastic sense. Jesus does not turn his back on the world, as if the blessings of this earth were evil. He simply wants us to find the life that is in him and then spread it to others.

    Contributed By ChristophFriedrichBlumhardt2 Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

    A German pastor and religious socialist, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt influenced theologians such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eberhard Arnold, Emil Brunner, Oscar Cullman, and Karl Barth.

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