With my New Testament open, and with Pentecost just around the corner, I’ve been thinking again about the difference that Christ and the Spirit make to our cultural-ethnic boundaries, and it seems to me that what is being championed in Galatians, 1 Corinthians, and elsewhere is not that humanity has been liberated from religious boundaries in order to take up residence as a citizen of a secular, desacralized world, but rather that those baptized into Christ are now to live in the reality of Christ as both the boundary and centre of their existence, a boundary which includes all humanity in our cultural/ethnic/gendered/social/historical particularities. Christ’s kenotic community therefore must not violate the divine-human solidarity announced and secured in the hypostatic union by placing boundaries between itself and the world. But this is not all, for the radical solidarity created in the incarnation also creates a dissonance between that which depends upon arrangements which are passing away and those which depend upon and point to the coming reign of God. Put otherwise, and to borrow language from Ray Anderson, the incarnation and Pentecost announce that ‘historical precedence must give way to eschatological preference’. John Zizioulas makes this point even more radically explicit when he insists that even Jesus must be liberated from his past history in order to bring to the present history of the church his eschatological presence and power:
Now if becoming history is the particularity of the Son in the economy, what is the contribution of the Spirit? Well, precisely the opposite: it is to liberate the Son and the economy from the bondage of history. If the Son dies on the cross, thus succumbing to the bondage of historical existence, it is the Spirit that raises him from the dead. The Spirit is the beyond history, and when he acts in history he does so in order to bring into history the last days, the eschaton.
[Image: Bryan Reyna, ‘Apokalupsis Eschaton’]