Friday, April 10, 2015

Rearranging deck chairs.

April 3-7, 2015

Call to Prayer: The LORD will make good His purpose for me; O LORD, Your love endures for ever; do not abandon the works of Your hands. Psalm 138:9

Contemplation: By grace, today I will fast from familiarity of grace because it numbs me to the awe of God. Today I will be astonished that because of Christ, hope rises from dead places, impossible stones can be rolled away, all the sad things are becoming undone. Today I will be shattered by the grace of it: The good news is we don’t have to try harder but we get to trust deeper in our Savior who literally saves, the good news that we get to live dangerously because we get to live safest in Christ, the good news that we get to be the weakest­–and yet be love the most. –People of the Cross.

All the sad things is a bunch of sadness. I got a letter from Rod and Mary Adams today, doctors in Kenya. Kenya, where 147 students were shot down in coldly rationalized blood at Garissa University just a few days ago and headlines blared across the world shouting of chaos and brokenness and hatred. And Rod and Mary spoke of a quiet yet equally sad story of a four-month old child dying of the vomiting and diarrhea and fever that I have so often cradled in my own arms. And each year around 760,000 children under the age of five die of exactly the same things. Not enough beds, not enough hands, not enough clean water.

And this is His word to me, It isn’t about you, my dear one, trying harder but trusting more deeply.

That is what it this is all about.

And my know-me-and-love-me folks suspect that the silly-fall-off-my-bike-and-smoosh-my-ribs thing might be God wanting to whisper a few more words to me outside of sixth grade PairShare readings on the Sonoran Desert water situation and ThesisSupportDetailDetailSupportDetailDetailConclusion responses to a water project in Nicaragua.

So I have time to listen to the myriad podcasts sitting on my little computer, like Richard Rohr on True Self and False Self, and the desire to move towards substance over form. And to stop rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

How do we access The Mystery?

Humility marks one who lives in the True Self. You know you are a child of God, but it is not your worthiness. IT is a hundred percent a gift. It is not about doing it right. It is just about doing it. Living in Him, and Him living in me. Not the arrogance. A False Self has to dress itself up and draw lines between us and them and a morality of If you do this, Then.

The branch cut off from the vine is useless. Remain in me, as I have made my home in you. An alignment, the prayer of Mary and Jesus: Let it be done to me. The Holy Spirit is our paraclete, our advocate. Loss, brokenness, abandonment, failure destabilizes our False Self enough to receive. We must die in order to have life.

The False Self feels like something, while the True Self is about nothing. Nothing that can be proven, shown, advertised.

May all be One, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.  The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be One even as We are One, Me in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly One, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.

The False Self is characterized by independence and self-sufficiency. This is Adam and Eve in the Garden. But we were all left with a sense of longing, the same longing found in fairy tales and myths, I am Someone. The intuition is that I am a Child of the King

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

        Not in entire forgetfulness,

        And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come
        From God, who is our home       Wadsworth


There is nothing outside that can give us more than what we already have. The True Self is characterized by communion and contentment. The False Self is disconnected, which is sin. Sin isn’t about the little bad actions and naughty things we do. But what sin is really about is our independence and going about it our own way, our own earning love, our own development, justifying Self, asserting Self, protecting Self, seeking happiness outside of Self.

He doesn’t love me because I am good, but because He is good.

Conversion is coming to the end of our Self, and normally happens when we can’t do it on our own, when we hit the wall. The seed dying. Because our body self tends to hold hurt and shame and anger, we think it is our flesh that must die. But really, most sin takes place in our mind, and that is where we really have to let go, our analysis, excuses, rationalization. We do not pray and experience real presence through thinking. We cannot love in our head, it is our heart that loves.

Spiritual gifts are the opposite of material gifts; the more we give away, the more we have. When we love, we grow in love, if we live patience, we become more patient.


Closing Prayer: Giver of life, we wait with You to offer the hope that comes from the cross to earth’s darkest places. Where pain is deep and affection is denied: let love break through. Where justice is destroyed, let sensitivity to right spring up. Where hope is crucified, let faith persist. Where peace has no chance, let passion live on. Where truth is trampled underfoot, let the struggle continue. Where fear paralyzes, let forgiveness break through. Eternal God, reach into the silent darkness of our souls with the radiance of the cross. O You who are the bearer of all pain, have mercy on us. Giver of life, have mercy on us. Merciful God, have mercy on us. Amen.