The term, axis mundi, isn’t used much in common parlance. Just so we are on the same page, here is the Wikipedia definition which is accurate enough for my purposes:
Nearly every major religion has such an intersection. The Old Testament has Mount Zion where Moses saw God. Mount Kaillash is sacred to the Hindu, the Innuit have totem poles, and even Feng Shui is an attempt to orient the home towards the sky in a practice called geomancy. Christianity has a couple of axis mundi, ostensibly those being Calvary, the Mount of Olives, and the cross.
At least that is how someone literate in religion might see the axis mundi in Christianity. And certainly, the cross is just the right shape with its vertical and horizontal beams literally intersecting heaven and earth. But the problem with this understanding is that it relegates Christianity to the same status as all the other religions, with their sacred spaces and mystical sites. In reality, Jesus transformed the axis mundi as surely as Josiah removed the Asherah poles from the countryside of Israel. Asherah poles, of course, were Canaanite axis mundi.
For the first time in religious history, a specific person became an axis mundi. In doing so, He then invited us to be the same. Jesus is the first person where truly heaven meets earth, where heaven actually invades earth. Doors are often thought to be an axis mundi. I know Jesus was thinking of this when He said, “I am the door…”
And you and I are called to the same. Before I go on to tell you how to you actually bring heaven to earth, I do want to clarify. All pagan religions are guilty of the same error, an error Christians often fall into as well. Whenever we honor a place or a thing above God or above man, who is made in His image, we are guilty of dishonor. No sacred shrine in any religion is more important than ‘the least of these’ of whose care Jesus is very zealous. Even the cross is just a symbol of a spiritual reality inside you and me.
So Jesus, all man and made of the dust of the earth as are we, and all God, begotten of the Father, takes on all the sin and fault of earth and defeats it. He can because He is both human and God, the fulfillment of all the previous thoughts about what an axis mundi is for. He literally brought heaven down here, and continues to do so, through us. He didn’t say, “The Kingdom of God is up there and somehow if you stand in the right spot, you can catch a glimpse of it.” No. He said, “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.’ He brought it down to earth with Him.
So here is how we become as revolutionary as He is, in our world where people are hungry for something spiritual. I am visiting Fredericksburg as I write this. In strolling the downtown I passed four fortunetellers. Their crystal balls and dreamcatchers? All pathetic imitations of the living Axis Mundi living in every Christian’s heart. But we take up our crosses and follow Jesus!
1: Conversion makes you an axis mundi like Jesus!
He is living in you. Everywhere you go, if you are incarnating Christ, making Him flesh through your actions and your life, you are a living breathing example of the Kingdom of Heaven in the midst of a hurting world. When you are hosting the Holy Spirit and Jesus is enthroned upon your heart, your life in Christ is an overturning of the idols that surround you. We no longer worship money or success. Our motivations are to love, to bring God and His Word onto the earth. That is our commission, in fact. To make disciples of all the earth is to bring Heaven down onto earth one person at a time. Well, more than one at a time if you are like Billy Graham.
2. Heaven meets earth when we lay hands on the sick and the hurting.
When the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, He felt power go out from Him. She was healed. The Kingdom of Heaven touched her body and she was healed. So many of the imitation axis mundi try to do the same thing. People of so many religions go on pilgrimages seeking a touch from Heaven. Beloved, if Jesus is alive in you, you have the authority to bring Heaven to people. Prayer is powerful which is why when two or more are gathered in His name, He is there.
Any prayer from any religion is an attempt to bring about a spiritual reality. But as Christians, we are the only ones whose God is alive and living in us through no religious posturing of our own. We have power through grace and not of our own making. This makes us truly axis mundis, bringing the Holy Spirit to earth from Heaven through our broken clay vessels.
3. The Word of God is alive and when we speak it out, it does not come back void.
Jesus is the Logos, the word and the deed. If that is not a meeting of the spiritual and the physical, I don’t know what is. The Word of God is a person, not a book. I am not taking anything away from the Bible, which is crucial in understanding who God is. But we change spiritual realities when we speak the Word, preach the Word, pray the Word. No magic spells or vain repetitions for us. We have the sound of Heaven in our spirits, enabling our creativity, empowering our actions, and exhorting those around us.
So are you a Christian? Join the revolution! We get to pull up all the Asherah poles in our culture and toss them to the wayside! Our God isn’t far away so that we have to build a Tower of Babel to try to reach Him. He is here in our midst, loving you and me right now, from the inside out.
I want to be Dallas Willard when I grow up. If you haven’t read anything of his, you have a real treat in store. Also, you will find yourself going much deeper than usual. I always do.
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