For over twenty years I have been using a world prayer called the Great Invocation. In this prayer there is an appeal: “May Christ return to Earth.” And I have wondered, what would it actually look like if Christ returned to Earth? And Who is Christ anyway?
After pondering this for twenty years, I am convinced that Christ will return into our midst very soon. And not as a biblical or religious figure in white robes and with a beard, but as a leader and teacher and healer of nations. I don’t believe He will come to judge us, destroy us, or rebuke us for not following the dictates of some religious dogma. Instead, I think Christ will teach us how to reconfigure our civilization; how to disengage from the prevailing disastrous socio-economic and environmental death spirals threatening our globe; how to live in harmony with each other and all kingdoms in nature.
I think He will teach us how to shoulder our responsibilities toward one another. And, I think Christ will teach us how to create new social structures that will cultivate our souls—through beauty, creativity, values like sharing and a more refined quality of life. In other words, He may very well show us the way out of the era of empire and exploitation and into an era of creative cooperation. Isn’t this the quality of solutions we are really seeking?
We are seeking answers. We are seeking solutions to the frightening, enormous and sometimes overwhelming problems that confront our species as we struggle to envision a livable future. And it is primarily because of the intensity of our pursuit and the stridency of our call worldwide that I think Christ will return to us. “Who among you,” He once asked, “would give your son a stone when he asks you for bread?”
Some traditions refer to Christ as the World Teacher, the Being who has been known or anticipated in different eras and cultures as Krishna, Maitreya or the Imam Mahdi. As the World Teacher, it is said that He will address the sum total of the collective gains in consciousness made by humanity over time, and raise the ante to a higher level.
When Christ was last among us, we lived much simpler, less complicated lives. Most people were illiterate, unwashed, unschooled, untraveled, and completely ignorant of the world outside their immediate village or town. At that time, He presented to us such principles as brotherhood, spiritual community, and unconditional love. These ideals were almost totally beyond the imagination of even the enlightened few. Yet, He asked us to embody and to live them.
Today, 2000 years after these ideals were first presented to humanity, some have matured to the point where we can actually envision and work toward global cooperation, universal human rights, justice and fair play in national and global relations. We have only just begun to put into practice some of the principles Christ taught two millennia ago. And yet, when He returns, we can expect that the ideals and goals He will set before us will once again appall our current imagination and dwarf our current understanding.
Because of this, great broadness of thinking is necessary in order to prepare for His return. Most likely, His starting point will again be the highest attainments in human consciousness. He will again blaze new pathways that will both astound us and revitalize our hearts and minds. This is surely an event worth preparing for and worth invoking together: May Christ return to Earth!