Too much 'buddy' Jesus?

As a Christian, I often use the language of personal relationship and intimacy with Jesus Christ to describe what my faith is and means. I have, however, often wondered if in doing so, I may fail to communicate the other dimensions of my relationship to God, like my wretchedness in the face of his eternal majesty.

I have known people to schedule dates for 'coffee with Jesus' and other cute spiritual events. While I certainly know it is healthy to attend to your relationship and intimacy with God, I also am concerned that we don't misunderstand just who this is we are talking about.

The ubiquity of 'personal relationship' language often makes me think of St. John 'the Divine' who fell on his face 'as though dead' when he saw Jesus Christ in his splendor (Rev. 1:17), especially when I consider that the tradition holds that this is the same John who was one of Jesus' closest friends during his earthly ministry.

The early Church (A.D. 300s) sang a wonderful communion hymn that reminds us how they saw Jesus in the midst of their worship services as they made their oath, their sacramentum, in the sharing of the bread and cup at the table:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence
And with fear and trembling stand.
Ponder nothing earthly minded
For with blessing in his hand
Christ, our God, to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.

The mystery is, as the Orthodox Christians say, that he is of all things both closest to us and farthest from us. This is indeed part of the challenge of the Incarnation, that he is 'both and.'

Here is the article that got me thinking in this direction, that further examines some of these questions: http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110007133

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