Oh, that title is going to get some people “harrumphing!” But the word guru is just the Indian term for teacher and master. Jesus’ disciples called him Rabbi, because that was the culture in which they lived. Jewish spiritual teachers were called rabbi. Rabbi means literally “my teacher” in Hebrew. People call me pastor or reverend because that is the Christian custom. Even the term Christ is a title, not Jesus’ last name.
These days much of the language of American spirituality is cross-cultural. Many of those interested in spiritual matters use the language of the East. To say “Jesus is my Lord and Savior” does not speak to them. When they read those words all they hear is Western cultural religious conservatism. They cannot see beyond the words. If they saw those words in the title of a blog, they would not click on the link. But the words “Jesus is my guru” might make the blog worth a second look.
On the other hand, many Christians will reject out of hand any Christian preacher who uses the term guru – for much the same reasons that non-Christians will reject the word Savior. It is outside their religious comfort zone. So it all depends on whom I am speaking to. I have done enough preaching to the choir in my lifetime, so I will risk the scorn of the Christian thought police and say things a little differently.
Jesus is my Guru. Devotees of Indian gurus will display a photo of their teacher. Buddhists have little buddhas decorating their home and garden. Catholics will have photos of popes or pictures of Mary or their favorite saint. I have an icon of Christ as Teacher. It is not hanging on my wall, but appears on my tablet. I view it every morning during my devotions. It reminds me who my Lord is.
I am a Christian, but I cannot relate to traditional Sunday School paintings of Jesus or contemporary depictions of a smiley Christ. But I find the icons of Orthodoxy fascinating. So I use an icon of Christ to remind me of my Lord, while I read and pray.
Much of my spiritual practice involves a transcendent approach to God. In contemplation my persona drops away in the silent presence of the superpersonal Godhead. I do more meditation than intercession these days. Yet there is a part of me that is not touched by God in that manner.
My heart loves the Personhood of God. Jesus is God in a Person. Jesus is my Guru. I love Him. I am unconditionally devoted to Christ. I trust no other teacher or leader. My soul rejoices in the presence of Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the gate to God, the door to heaven. For any Christians who are still reading this: Christ is my Lord, my God, and my Savior.