Who is the Christ and why is His return invoked?
The Christ is the Head of the spiritual Hierarchy of our planet: "The Master of all Masters and the teacher alike of angels and of men". The Christ belongs to all humanity, and not alone to the churches and religious faiths of the world. The Christ works for all people, irrespective of their religious faith. He does not belong to the Christian world any more than to the Buddhist, Jewish, Moslem or Hindu faiths. In fact, the name Christ is used in the Hierarchy as the title of an office and not in any way limited in the least to religious action but is concerned with all seven departments of hier-archical work of which religion is only one, the others being government, education, science, philosophy, psychology, and culture and the arts.
In the Great Invocation, the Christ is invoked as He is known to the Hierarchy. The Great Invocation is intended to be used not only by members of various religions but also by people of no religious persuasion. The use of the name Christ as it appears in the Invocation is not a limitation of spiritual understanding, but an expansion. This is as it should be in the new age.
The Christ is known as the World Teacher, and He is that great Being known to Buddhists as the Lord Maitreya and looked for by the Moslems as the Imam Mahdi. The word "Christ" (from the Greek Chrio) and "Messiah" (from the Hebrew Mâshîahh) both mean "the anointed one": consecrated or set apart as holy.
This definition points to the Christ's role as an Avatar: a divine messenger who reflects the cosmic principle of Love. An Avatar is one who has a unique capacity to transmit energy or divine power. The Sanskrit root of "Avatar" means literally "coming down from far away", which conveys the idea of protection from above. An Avatar is an event and an embodiment of a divine principle or quality which seeks anchorage on Earth. But this need must be recognised by humanity and invoked by humanity, standing "with massed intent", in order to precipitate the descent of an Avatar.
The establishment of a nucleus of persistent energy is the constant task of an Avatar, and the work of an Avatar depends upon humanity’s readiness to respond. Often this need does not manifest itself until men have exhausted all other resources. Then they look for a divine Intermediary or Mediator, and this hope and expectancy runs like a golden thread throughout the world's faiths.