Recently, filmmakers gathered with a cast of hundreds to create a fully immersive virtual reality experience called JESUS VR. They’re trying to do something that’s never been done before – put the viewer right next to Christ during his ministry, passion and resurrection. Now, with the right technology, audience members will be able to follow our Incarnate Lord and digitally take up your cross. But what does that mean?
We know that in the Bible, Christ instructs his disciples to take up their crosses and follow him. It’s interesting that he chose the metaphor of the cross, a symbol of pain and suffering, to paint a picture of what a life following him actually looks like. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise. We know that the disciples who heard and received this message were transformed. But even in that transformation, they lived a life in this present evil age. Today as Christians, we face some of the same hardships. But sometimes that difficult truth can get lost in the shuffle. Listen to how Christian author Flannery O’Connor puts it: “What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross” (O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor).
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that God’s grace isn’t freely given. It absolutely is. We can’t earn it and we never could. Instead, Christ calls us to receive his grace, love and forgiveness and share in his peace, joy and hope. As we receive his grace, we enter into a lifetime of sanctification. Through our ongoing relationship with him we leave things behind, we repent and turn to him in trust, in faith to receive more of his life. We die to ourselves and come alive in Christ. So while God’s grace is freely given, it will “cost” us to leave behind what hinders us from receiving his grace and following him wherever he leads.
Christ has offered us a totally immersive divine relationship with him, one that doesn’t require virtual reality. I hope you’ll join me in faith and hope as we walk in this divine life with our faithful Savior.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.