If you love me
During the ‘Last Discourse’ in the Gospel of John, Jesus made this statement: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”. In Christianity Jesus Christ is of course the central figure, he being the revelation of the Father and the sender of the Holy Spirit. To be a Christian is always rooted in growing in the love relationship with the Eternal, the Infinite One, revealed as love. So to use a Pauline phrase, “To put on Christ”, is about allowing his love to fill our souls, our hearts, to become channels of his love in the world.
We live in a world where someone is always over and against someone else. Or a country, a religion, political party and yes even in sports, going after one another…..people die for their teams in riots after games. If Jesus came today, who would he be over and against? In the Gospels he interacted, loved and healed those that were often looked down upon by the religious establishment. He spoke harshly to people like me, who know the ‘book’, seek to live it, and know all the scriptures in order to condemn just about anyone you disagreed with me, or was different in someway, if I wanted to misuse the scriptures for that reason. Being pious has it dangers, ego inflation being one of them.
What is the life that Jesus calls us to? I doubt he calls us to a life of neurotic guilt or to a live preoccupied with ones so called holiness. It is not even about keeping a strict morality, for in doing that, when we fail, bitterness can enter into the one seeking to deepen ones relationship with the Father. It is not about cleaning ourselves up. It is about love, giving oneself, and receiving love in return. Like Peter who got out of the boat, he was fine until he looked at his own feet; he stopped looking to the one who called him. Yet when he sank, Jesus clasped his hand and lifted him up.
When afraid, uncertain or angry in ways that are unhealthy and anxious it constricts the soul, we become defensive, go into survival mode. Jesus said that fear is useless for a reason….fear of God is a waste of time. By fear I am meaning it in the sense of being afraid of someone stronger, bigger and angrier than me……God. It is a ferocious idol, one that grips I guess all of us from time to time. As we grow hopefully in wisdom and insight, as we have many decades to look back on and ponder, we see how foolish it is to fear that which Jesus told us not to. Those who seek God are responding to grace, we open up our hearts and our tryst begins…..a long slow process for most of us. So fear only slows that down.
We are called to become like little children for a reason. Though what comes naturally to a child has to be a mature conscious choice when made by an adult. It is a call to trust. Fear and trust can’t really co-exist, so we are called to die to an old way of life and allow something new in. Which is not easy, for how does one open oneself to infinite love? What is it? Is it just more? Yes and no, but something else, beyond comprehension, so it can be a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Fearful yes, because it is something beyond our control, other, a love that is stronger than death, that strips away all the keeps that love at bay.
All the love that we know, no matter how pure and as close to unconditional as it can be, pales in comparison to the love we are called to embrace and to become one with. It is hard to understand and believe. Christians love to put “but” before any talk about God’s love and mercy……there are no ‘buts’. How we love to carry the heavy burden of doing something we have no right or business to do…..thinking, weighing, and judging the worthiness of others. It is a deep self wounding as well as a worthless and harmful pass time.
Jesus saw others, we are called to that as well, but it is easier to push under, yell at and belittle. Well, let’s say I still struggle with this, and spend a lot of time praying over this. Asking the Lord for a loving heart and not a warring one…… over and against others is something I do a lot of. Being neurotic is not always easy.
Lord that I may see deeply,
into my own heart without fear,
knowing the all hearts are yours,
seeing all, you understanding all,
I see nothing in others,
except the surface,
with my projections and transference's,
just help me to understand others
just a little, or if not that,
to see all as my brothers and sisters
on the way.
Edited by markdohle, 25 May 2014 - 12:17 PM.