29 Q. Why is the Son of God called “Jesus,”
A. Because he saves us from our sins,^1
and because salvation should not be sought
and cannot be found in anyone else.^2
^1 Matt. 1:21; Heb. 7:25
^2 Acts 4:12
30 Q. Do those who look for
their salvation in saints,
in themselves, or elsewhere
really believe in the only savior Jesus?
Although they boast of being his,
by their actions they deny
the only savior, Jesus.^1
Either Jesus is not a perfect savior,
or those who in true faith accept this savior
have in him all they need for their salvation.^2
^1 1 Cor. 1:13, 31;Gal. 3[:1-4]; Gal. 5:4
^2 Heb. 12:2; Isa. 9:6; Col. 1:19-20; 2:10; John 1:16
Lord’s Day 11 (Q/A 29-30)
The Axis Mundi
After traveling in unfamiliar places and as a way to become re-acquainted to home and to our time zone, our family (or even just me when I return home) goes for comfort food, which for us is soup, and then we get into our pajamas and veg in our living room. These experiences and sources center us back.
In the 155,000 miles I have traveled thus far as General Assembly Moderator, I carry in my travel bag homemade art and photos from my sons as a continual means to center me back to home.
Then in the adjacent compartment pouch in my luggage is a pocket Bible and a Book of Common Worship: Daily Prayer. These are the sources that center me upon the One who is our Center.
The 20th century historian of religion, the late Mircea Eliade, said that every religious culture has a symbol, a narrative, a myth that is the “axis mundi” or the cosmic axis, believed to be from which the center of universe emanates, the fulcrum or hinge. From that “axis mundi” meaning and significance flows, explanatory power of existence flow.
Q/A 29-30 asserts for us what we confess as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, the only Savior, is the “axis mundi.” In fact, He’s not only the Center; He is the Circumference, the Perimeter, and everything in-between. In other words, in Him we live, and move, and have our being. From Him, our life flows. In Him, our life is nourished. Through Him, our life is anchored to the heart and life of God. By Him, our life is directed towards the broken and hurting world which He gave His life to save, reconcile, and heal.
While Q/A 29 confesses the unique, exclusive, and distinct person and identity of Jesus as the Savior and the Son of God, and, therefore, the only “axis mundi” from which all of life, meaning – in heaven and on earth – originate and find their meaning; Q/A 30 alerts us against attempts, strategies, ways and means in which we as human beings create other “axes mundi,” whether in the form of wood or metal, or in our own image – all the many ways that we (un)intentionally seek to live our lives away from the One who is the “axis mundi.” To do so would be like placing our automobiles on another axes, spinning in other directions, rather than a life directed by Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
No amount of technological savviness, political connections, material or physical resources, personal charisma, education, family…not even our best and sincere intentions can save and redeem our hearts, souls, and lives. In the final, no one and nothing can save and redeem. Otherwise, in the words of A.30, “Either Jesus is not a perfect savior, or those who in true faith accept this savior have in him all they need for their salvation.”
As I pen this reflection, I’m coming off of a long week of a funeral, a wedding, and a baptism. With each of these momentous events, I have carried with me in prayer for
-the death of an uncle in the Philippines
-my buddy’s niece who is a preemie needing surgery
-a deacon in my congregation desperately needing a liver transplant
-the gang rape of a photojournalist in Mumbai, India
-a chemical weapon attack in Syria and over 1 million children who are now refugees from Syria
-the senseless murder of a World War II veteran in Spokane, WA in the hands of two teenagers
-the violence and kidnappings that have terrorized the Presbyterian Church of Colombia
-burning of churches, shops, and terrorizing of Egyptian Christians by radical Islamists
-the seepage of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan
And so much more. . .much, much more.
To which I can only bow my head, and clasp my hands:
Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Jesus, Son of God, Savior – is the “axis mundi” of all of us, and of this world.