“It is in this covenantal tradition that Christians have understood their relationship with Christ as a new covenant. George Fox proclaimed that Friends were entering into the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah. For Fox this covenant was the fulfillment of all that went before. In this new covenant God’s law was not to be written on tablets of stone:
I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts;...And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor..., for they shall all know me, …; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:33-34, Revised Standard Version)
For early Friends the new covenant was Christ Jesus and their living relationship with Christ...”.
(imagine, if you will, a car...slowly...coming. to. a. halt. Only not a car. Me.)
Christ? Christ Jesus? What? What does that mean? I tried to continue reading the pamphlet but each time, I’d be drawn back to that paragraph, perplexed and frustrated. I was good with the idea of an historical Jesus, the deliverer of the Sermon on the Mount, the man who taught that we are to love God and love one another. The message Jesus taught is why I consider myself a Christian. Jesus as the teacher, guiding us to open our eyes and see we are with God right now. Jesus as a human who was more in touch with That of God than most people. But Jesus Christ? Jesus the Divine? Jesus Christ, which is often followed by our Lord and Savior? Uh...I’m sorry but I can’t go there. I can’t accept Virgin Birth, Resurrection,etc. In touch with God, yes, but not God incarnate. Sorry but it just didn’t speak to me and no matter how I looked at it, I wasn’t able to find meaning in it.
What could I do with the agitation I felt around that last sentence? After rereading it fifty-eleven times and confronting Mark about it repeatedly, I resentfully set the pamphlet down and walked away from it thinking “we’re just going to have to agree to disagree”.
But then something happened. I can’t tell you when exactly but my heart opened and what I came to understand and accept is that God is the universal and Christ is the personal. God is what unifies us and Christ is God communicating to each of us. Individual names for different aspects of the divine but still one God. I’ve had a blossoming around Christ since then. I embrace my understanding of God’s relationship with me as being through Christ. I would even say that I find peace, joy and delight in Christ in my life. I feel comfort and security in the concept of Christ: God is so big and ultimately unknowable as to be sometimes overwhelming (awe-some, fear-some) but Christ is intimate, knowing and encouraging, whether firmly directing or gently nurturing, with love.
I struggled with this for so long last summer that it became a thing for me. Mark would ask me what I was reading and I’d sullenly reply, “I’m still Cronking”. Once I “got it”, cronkin’ became a good thing. I was just accepting into the School of the Spirit Spiritual Nurturer class #9. Sandra Cronk was one of the founders of SotS so for the next two years I will be cronkin’ hard.