This morning as my son was leaving to return to his apartment, he stunned me by asking, “Do you worship Jesus?” Perhaps I should have said “yes,” but if I had, I would have given a thoroughly inadequate answer. Such a seemingly simple question should be easily answered by someone who was once a candidate for ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church and who is currently active as a Roman Catholic. But the question is not as simple as it appears. If I answered “yes,” would I be making man into God, thus denying the full humanity of Jesus? After all, Jesus did not refer to himself as God; rather, he talked about God as his Father, saying, “The Father is greater than I (John 14:28)” and surrendering his spirit to God when he died on the cross. If I answered “no,” would I be denying the particular realization of God in Jesus and denying the claim, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:31)?
Perhaps studying for a Masters of Divinity degree, a second masters in religious studies, and a doctorate in liturgical studies has only served to raise my awareness of the complexity of the question and made it impossible for me to answer. However, I am more inclined to believe that language itself is the source of the complexity since on the one hand, it points to the Mystery of God and to the revelation of God in Jesus without fully disclosing the Divine Reality. Language about God is always inadequate. Linguistic formulas express human understanding of God and of Jesus but cannot confine the reality of the Divine. However much language is needed in order to talk about God, even more can it mislead men and women into forgetting that God always transcends linguistic formulations and human concepts.
Some people might say these comments about the inadequacy of language for talking about God are simply an attempt to avoid answering the question “Do you worship Jesus?” Indeed, I will avoid the specific question. I worship God as “God” is disclosed by the Holy Spirit in Jesus. I believe that in Jesus, God has realized Godself within a human being without in the least bit taking away the humanity of Jesus who points to God and invites me to trust myself to Divine Mystery as he did when he said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 33:46).
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