As I was finishing my training at the vicar school, I had to write an assigment. I found a few good books to draw on, though I tended to read them like novels. I don’t mean I thought they were a fictional story, but I did read them from end to end to try and get inside the writer’s head, and see what he or she was seeing. (What I think I was supposed to do was read the relevant bits, and compare them to what other people say, and say what I thought. Not to get too drawn in.)
Anyway, I kept bumping into this word ontological. Eventually I had to look it up, but that didn’t really help. It’s a funny word.
In case you are wondering, no, it isn’t a hospital department, or some disease – but you could say it is a condition.
Jim, who’s now two years into his URC training, says he uses it a lot. Steve Haskett says it’s used in every lecture, more or less, at Durham.
Please google it, and see if you can make any sense of the definitions you will find. I will just say this. When we meet Jesus, there is an ontological change. We are no longer in the same reality. That is a joy to begin with, and hopefully will remain so, though it is harder to apprehend as we work out where we now fit into the world around us, what our role is, and even who we now are. We kind of keep re-discovering it. That is the Christian life.
The problems and challenges of being born again, of being baptised in the spirit of God, of being able to feel God’s love for and through us. It all takes some getting used to.
Paul summarised it thus: In this Way of Life in Jesus there are three things that you will be really aware of: Faith, Hope and Love. These are the characteristics of your ontological state. And boy, is Love the dominant one. Give it it’s way. Or better, give him his way, because it is the Holy Spirit he is referring to in 1 Cor 13, though he names him love.
Put it another way – your life is rewired, works best when you are open to love, costly though that might be.