What makes a significant amount of spirituality timely is its timeless nature. It is not confined to the times in which it is communicated and is therefore ageless. Certainly it is expressed in time-specific language, and scholarship is needed to wash away cultural accretions and to uncover original contexts and author-intentionality as much as possible. But underlying the time-conditioned layers is the core truth, pertinent to all times and universal in scope. Permit me to quote a succinct citation from the late John Sanford, popular religious writer and Jungian analyst on this theme.
Jesus’ personality and teachings are unique and not historically conditioned because they do not stem from a human source, but are rooted in his consciousness of the inner world through which comes his awareness of the holy God whom the prophets before him had known… The beauty of the teachings of Jesus is that they do not depend upon any system of thought, for Jesus did not express himself by means of jargon or concepts but by means of living images, figures, and parables. In this way he succeeded in freeing his message from history and making it timeless and applicable to all ages. His teachings do not come from man’s conceptualized and historically conditioned world, but are drawn from the well of life itself.
Dreams and Jesus’ teachings are not conceptualized statements, but images in which we may see our own selves reflected. It is for this reason that his parables and sayings speak to the human condition right now as much as they did to [his] own time.
If religion has any relevance for our time, it is because, as Sanford insists, its basis is timeless.