There is a divine character to West society which comes from its aspiration to freedom. Freedom is a characteristic of God and is the gift of God to man. Where that gift is given, there the Church appears. The Church is the community of those who meet in freedom, in which every person is willing to associate themselves with all these others and to be counted as one of them, and is available to called upon by them and put themselves at the disposal of these others. In the Christian conception freedom is unthinkable without love. And love is unthinkable without freedom. You may love, but whoever you love is not bound to return that love, or to return in the way you give it. Your love cannot bind them, and certainly cannot confine them. It can only wait for them. The Lord waits at the door. He does not come and pull us out. He waits, for days, years, lifetimes and periods of time beyond definition. The Lord waits, for us. We make him wait, and yet he waits only because he wants to. This waiting is the passion of God. Christians are enabled to share in the divine patience.
God lives where men live because men live where God has set us. He is the space in which we live. Creation exists before him, where he has placed it. Creation exists in the space given to into within heaven. Heaven gives creation a place. We live where God places us. We live here in this material creation. We live in one another’s proximity, able to see and hear and touch one another through the materiality of our bodies. We are not ethereal. And if we were, how would any disembodied being be able to meet any other disembodied being? You perceive me because you see my body. Even when you write to me, you send your message to any of the various addresses from which I, through my body, will eventually hear or read it. Our body is our ultimate address. Wherever my body is, there you will find me. This will continue to be true until the day I die, after which it will no longer be possible to say anything about me with certainty.
The created and material world does not hold God in or hold God out. God may be distant or he may be close – we cannot say. We can say only what scripture says: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ The Lord may be right here where we are. The space we live in is our place; it confines us and it enables us to find one another. The space we live in does not confine God, either to keep him away or to fix him here where we are so that we may draw him into the field of our perception. He may come and go without our ever being aware of it. We live in the place he has made available to us. Perhaps he is present here first, and we are only present here because of his hospitality.
We may be at once mortal-and-immortal. We do not jettison our biology with its limits, but by the grace of God its Creator, our biology may become the idiom of our ongoing, unlimited life in communion with God and with all creatures.