Friday, January 26, 2018

Endlessly treasured

Medieval saint Julian of Norwich once said: “For our soul is so deeply grounded in God and so endlessly treasured that we cannot come to knowledge of it, until we first have knowledge of God, who is the creator to whom it is united. For our soul sits in God in true rest, and our soul stands in God in sure strength, and our soul is naturally rooted in God's endless love.”
(Icon by Anne Davidson (c) Used with permission)

Knowing our own soul and our relationship to God and one another is what St. Paul is talking about when he says “we have the mind of Christ.” Priest and theologian Jim Marion says that this Christ Consciousness “is the goal of the Christian path.”

In Jesus we witness a beloved life lived in the world. No matter how the world reacted to him or treated him Jesus maintained a consciousness of love and mercy even forgiving his executors from the cross on which they hanged him. Jesus showed us that Christ consciousness takes us beyond obedience to the law to fulfillment of the law of love which forgives, restores, and reconciles all the world to God.

Using images of salt and light in the gospel from Matthew, Jesus teaches us that we are a commodity of great value. Salt was not only used to enhance the flavor of food but also to preserve it, which often meant preserving life. Then Jesus concluded his teaching with this powerful statement: You are the light of the world – something he said about himself!

The sad reality is that many people don’t know or experience the truth that each one of us is endlessly treasured by God. The world is far too ready to make us believe otherwise.

Recognizing the truth of our belovedness as individuals is an important first step, but it must lead us to the second step: recognizing everyone else’s belovedness too. When that happens, we are living in Christ consciousness and it is as theologian Henri Nouwen says: “Every time we encounter one another we are offered an occasion to encounter the sacred.”

Forming ourselves to live in Christ consciousness and encounter the sacred in ourselves, one another, and the world Jesus died to save is the goal of Christian formation. It’s so much more than Sunday school classes and creative programming. I hope we’ll all ponder this and open ourselves to how the Spirit of God is leading us to deeper and more expansive Christian formation opportunities. Don’t worry, I have some ideas, but I’m counting on God to show us the way to go as a community. My Parish Tour visits are revealing many, many gifts present in this community. Let's listen together. I'm holding this in prayer.

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