II. Centered on Jesus, the Cross and Resurrection, Part 1
At the center is the cross which stands as God’s great and fundamental challenge to all our usual ways of thinking and believing.
As a centrist, I hope to live at the center in the shadow of the cross knowing that the shadow is cast by the light of the resurrection.
I have written before o the significance of the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice there. I have also written on the significance of the resurrection (empty tomb and all) and why it matters. These are central. If you want to try to get around them or domesticate them one way or another to fit a different way of seeing the world, God bless you, but you are working from a different center.
Living in the shadow of the cross means being centered in Jesus – the only Son of God, the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity, the Messiah – sent by God to free us from the power of sin, so that we might be restored to “harmony with God, within ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation” (BCP p. 849). Jesus presents the world with challenges some of which I identified in the first post of this series. But, he also presents us with promises:
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." – Matthew 11:29
"If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:31-32
"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." – John 15:11
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." – John 14:27
"I came that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live." John 11:25
"Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." – Matthew 18:20
I want to sink my spirit into the center of Jesus’ rest, anticipating the eternal Sabbath – a sabbath rest which, according to Maximus the Confessor is “a quieting of the movement of passions” (the agitations of the spirit related to the seven deadly sins - pride, enmity, envy, etc.).
I want to sink my spirit into the center of Jesus’ truth – truth about God and the world, the truth about humanity and the truth (good, bad, ugly and beautiful) about me.
I want to sink my spirit into the center of Jesus’ freedom – freedom from fear, anxiousness, impatience, vexation, the passions of sin. And freedom for love.
I want to sink my spirit into the center of Jesus’ joy so it permeates my being. I want to smuggle that joy into the world.
I want to sink my spirit into the center of Jesus’ peace – deep inner peace and equilibrium. Living out of that center, I want to live as a peacemaker.
I want to sink my spirit into the center of Jesus' life that my life might be full - may his Spirit heal me of whatever in me gets in the way of that fullness. And may my life be caught up in his life which is transfigured and eternal. And may I seek the fullness and flourishing of the life of others.
I want to sink my spirit into the center of Jesus’ resurrection – to live knowing that “our death is already behind us, and our resurrection before us" as Ephrem of Edessa has it, and to live now into the expectation of the new creation inaugurated in Jesus trusting that the fullness of its realization is in his trustworthy hands.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." John 14:-2
I want to practice disciplines that will develop habits of thinking and being that will draw me deeper into that center which is Jesus Christ. Most everything else is peripheral.
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