2 Cor 5:7
"For we walk by faith, not by sight."
Paul was talking about how to live “at home in the body [but] absent from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6). Absent from his bodily presence.
Jesus had walked, talked, and lived with many of them - they still had a visceral memory of Jesus and all that he had done. But Jesus had ascended into heaven, his physical form leaving the earth. For those of us reading this story hundreds of years on, and for some there at the time, it seems that there was once again a separation between God and man. The teaching and understanding around Jesus living in hearts was still very new. Paul was encouraging those gathered at Corinth to walk out this New Way by faith - believing that while Jesus was not physically and tangibly with them, he was still very present and at work in their lives. They didn’t need to sacrifice or perform, but they were at one with Christ.
It's a grand mystery.
After his ascension, Jesus was still present in the earth. Perhaps even more so. As his blood trickled down that cross, and his sweat and tears fell to the ground and mingled with the dirt, he was once again sown into the earth. Buried like a seed. Wrapped and placed in a tomb, left to decay and return to dust.
John 1, in the Passion Translation, says, "In the very beginning God was already there. And before his face was his Living Expression. And this “Living Expression” was with God, yet fully God. They were together — face to face, in the very beginning. And through his creative inspiration this “Living Expression” made all things. For nothing has existence apart from him! Life came into being because of him, for his life is light for all humanity... And so the Living Expression became a man and lived among us!” (verses 1-14)
To dust, he did not return; he drank it in and rose from it, overcoming the laws and reality of this physical and natural world; breathing in death, exhaling life. Rising from it, into and above it. Permeating all things with himself, as he did in the beginning.
Paul had never seen or spoken with human Jesus, but he knew him, he walked with him. They were joined by something more real than the dust on his feet; faith. Although Jesus is not with us in body, he is more present here on earth than ever.
He is the dirt under our feet, the wind that sways and surrounds us, the air in our lungs, the oceans deep, the sands on the shore, the sun's warmth and the winters crisp cold... he is music, he is poetry, he is the newborn's first breath and the final sigh of a dying soul. He is in all things and through all things - he created it all and holds it all together. We look beyond the material and into the heart of life and by faith find Jesus right there in the thick of it. Not through ritual, not through perfection or performance. Faith.
It's this faith; the spiritual vibration felt in the undertones of living, which connects us all… that crimson thread weaved through lives built on Jesus across all times past, present and future.
Walk out your life step by step, day by day, by faith; the conviction that your hope lies not in what is seen with the human eye, but in the power of Jesus. And allow your faith to take you deeper, through challenging terrain, mountain top precipices, the hard spaces and beautiful views of life. Ask questions, dig deep, let faith drive you into the heart and soul of this beautiful, crazy God-soaked life.