St. Paul, the passionate convert: ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.‘ [Gal 2:20; Paul’s letters preceded the Gospels.]
‘I live; yet not I’ is a feeling arrived at routinely by anyone in later stages of Meditation Practice. But can you live it? Can you sense it when brushing your teeth?
You will find vivid examples [and I will post them once I locate them in my old files] in every religious tradition. From the ‘Supreme Self’ of a short-stopped Vedanthic interpretation to much less abstract ethnic and regional and folk deities.
But no one was as spectacularly successful as St. Paul who reached back into his immediate ethnic and regional roots to locate the divine connect in a manger in Bethlehem. More than half the world today celebrates his explanation.
And I happen to love Christmas.
‘He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross‘. The closing lines of St. Paul’s translation of likely the first Christian hymn.
The Vatican, both architecturally and organizationally, was modeled they say, on Rome and Roman Authority structures. And your typical man-made ‘God’ is faithfully modeled in the image of the King, granting favor and ordering punishment.