The DNA of Covenant
It was the late 19th century before the "germ theory" of disease was close to becoming a generally accepted fact. Before that, the assumption was that disease was caused by "miasma," or the effluence of rotting things. Early attempts at articulating something other that the miasma or "bad air" postulate centered around the concept that "worms" or "vegetal contaminants" were responsible for disease. And just think, now, only moments later in terms of the span of human history, we are talking about healing disease with genetic therapy. Actually getting into the genes, the basic building/coding structures of our cells or the cells of viruses and bacteria, medical researchers are working on ways to cure any of a host of diseases in those being treated for infections or disorders. As well, researchers are working on ways of pulling the proverbial teeth of the viruses and bacteria that threaten our lives and well-being on a daily basis....and we are still learning. I am sure there will be, perhaps in our lifetimes, a discovery akin to Pasteur's work on microbes that set this revolution in understanding the effect of "germs" on us in ways we cannot begin to imagine.
All the more, with today's understanding of genetics and genetic theory, how powerful an image is John's allusion that God in Christ is in us as if installed and sequenced into our very DNA. With God's witness and connection to us being now in the person of Christ, and with Jesus' own testimony that he is in us and we are in him, God has been spliced into our very being. Being in Christ is not just a practice, or something to which we give intellectual assent. It isn't around us, or even really "in" us. It IS us. And we are of God in the same way. The good news? That we are being lifted up, made holy, blessed and preserved and given life because we are that way in and through God. The challenge? To then live into that new awareness of being, to allow the thing that we have become, the Body of Christ, to be active in the world.
Ezekiel, in the vision God gives him of the Temple and the hi-jinks and shenanigans that the people of Israel and Judah have been practicing when they think God isn't "looking" offers us a stark illustration of what it looks like for us to deny the genetic phrasing that the divine has caused to abide in us. The Psalmist decries the way the seductions of the world cloud the connections people are called to have with each other, rich to poor, well to sick, those with resources to those in need. Even John gets on the wagon and contrasts the way of the righteous who embrace their interstice-rich connection to God with indulgence in earthly temptations.
All of them, though, and this is the good news, point to a hoped-for realization on the part of people already beloved of God to open up their eyes and hearts so that they can see and recognize that God yearns to be a part of us, even as we struggle to remember that it is from God that we come, is God from whom we come and to God for which we are bound. That is the DNA of Covenant...it is in us. We need only recognize the blessings we already possess in order to accomplish the work of reconciliation to which we are called.