Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Little Christ, my calling since birth.

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-33

The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.

The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it.  It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.   All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.  And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day.  Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

What we have been told is how we men can be drawn into Christ - can become part of that wonderful present which the young Prince of the universe wants to offer to His Father - that present which is Himself and therefore us in Him. It is the only thing we were made for. And there are strange, exciting hints in the Bible that when we I are drawn in, a great many other things in Nature will begun to come right. The bad dream will be over: it will be morning. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Question: What do I fear from giving my all, everything to Him?

I think it’s the question of trust. I don’t trust Him to take care of me, watch my back, so I step in again and again, ruminating over the Accuser’s checklist. Yep, yep, yep. And I settle for safe, safe in my own mud puddle of Stiff Upper Lip, huddled beneath a ragged blanket, shivering. Like the dwarves in The Last Battle, refusing to be taken in, choosing cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.

And what He says is trust Me. I am the Potter, crafting you into being Me, a Little Christ.

And in the same way, for the joy set before Me, I took up the cross. Once and for all. Restoration will take place. In truth, it has already taken place. But you, a human are bound by time. I am not, and I know how the story ends. I wrote it.

As do you. You have flipped to the end of the book and know what has been completed, finished: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:3-5

And by reading Screwtape yesterday I was reminding of the constant murmuring drip of diabolical doubts, attempting to rob me of this joy.

So once again, I have taken up the Joy Dare, a shield of faith formed by eucharisteo, thanksgiving.
And I have taken up the joy verbs: embrace, engage, be, believe, break, daily, do, let, learn, live. 

And I have taken up Mother Teresa’s prayer once again, this time taping it to my windshield: Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with your spirit and life.

Take up your cross and follow Me. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

For the joy set before you.

That My joy may be complete.