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…what we can handle.
How many times have we told this to someone who is going through a rough spell?
How many times have we heard this from others when we are going through a rough spell?
Does it actually help?
I know we think we are trying to help, but think about this…God is deliberately inflicting us? Nothing could be further from the truth.
When I am going through a particularly trying time..all I want to hear from my friends is “I am sorry, what can I do to help?
When someone I know is hurting…”I am sorry, what can I do for you?”
That is being Christ-like
Our idea/image of God affects how we accept salvation and how we live.
Salvation is the freedom to do what is good. And of course, what is good is always directed towards another. That choice to do good, ideally is to be truly free; there is no force, coercion behind it. It is pure desire and pure will. It is pure love. This is God’s freedom. This is what God intends and Jesus came to restore this freedom in us. Because this is God’s very nature, and we are created in God’s own image.Now, if our image of God is that God is out there, ready to get us if we do not do what is good, sort of the “Maude” approach (God will get you for that Walter!) then we operate out of fear.
If we do good because we are fearful, even of God, then we are not free. We are not restored in Jesus Christ. Fearful of being punished for not doing it, fearful that we will not be loved, not earn our way into heaven…
And for many of us, this is where we are in life. We have this crazy, anti-Christian, notion that God is punishing us and the world for any wrong, real or perceived, we may have done. Punishing us directly by illnesses or disasters, or by punishing by people in our world.
Clearly this is NOT the Father that Jesus knew and loved. Clearly this is NOT the God that Jesus revealed to all people.
We can get this misguided view of God from the Old Testament, but even a close reading shows us God is not this vengeful being.
I think people in those days, as we do now, seek to understand why bad things happen. So we want to blame it on a mean, controlling deity, because that seems to make sense.
But really…did those police ambushed and killed get punished by God? Did all those black persons who died deserve it? Do any of us deserve our cancers, Alzheimer’s, poverty, natural disasters, broken hearts?
NO, absolutely NOT. I want to repeat…the bad things that happen to us is not God punishing, nor God testing us.
Bad things happen in life.
Jesus says that even in the midst of these horrible events, in the depths of our worst, the divine love of God is there, to lift us up. God is with us, so that we are NOT controlled by the events around us, the sickness, the violence…that we CAN choose what is good.
So that we can be there with those are in crisis, and we can lift them up!
The Father is one who loves.
The Father is one who seeks the good in all.
The Father is the persistent one who stays with us, no matter what, who seeks to lift us up.
Eucharist is the epitome of this. Jesus experienced a horrible death.
Not his fault, not the Father’s punishment upon him for any wrong. Jesus was the pure victim. Jesus trusted in the Father that he knew and he experienced LIFE.
Each time we place that same trust in the Father and we find a glimmer of life, we have had a personal experience of Jesus. Each time we don’t fall into the easy answer…we experience Jesus and his salvation.
Each time we look chaos head on, and do not flinch, but smile…
no, I am not going to sing…
When I think back on my actions and choices, when I wanted (and still want) to control, is was fear based (which is to say ego based)
I was afraid of things going wrong, and then people would think badly of me. I would be a failure.
So I tried to control way tooo much. Not always intentionally, in fact, I think a lot was unconscious. I also kept people out of my life, because I wanted to control how I appeared to them. So they never got to see the real me.
I see this in a lot of people…trying subtly and not so subtly to manipulate, control and manage.
Psalm 95 teaches me that God created the universe and all within it. NOT me nor anyone else. So i have learned to ease up on my control, to trust in God’s way.
And I find myself happier, more relaxed, more open to others. Kind of nice.
Have you ever met God? I have.
Well, I have met people and still meet those who think they are god. They try to control all aspects of the Universe, the world around them and the people in their lives.
And usually these people, these gods, are quite angry. It seems despite their will, the Universe, the world around them and the people in their lives do not do want they want them to do. Thus, they are angry at the President, the Governor, the Pope, their children, their spouses, the homeless person, the people driving on the roads…
Have you ever met these gods? Are we one of these gods?
It’s kind of sad really, because by being gods, we really lose out on living. The anger subsumes us, controls us, there is little joy in life. Eventually, it becomes a depression. So we spiral down and down.
Jesus came so that we may have life. God, the true God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, want us to be joyful persons, engaged in life. Christ has shown us the way to Life; He is the way, the Truth and the Life.
The first step, humility.
Sit at his feet and listen. Listen to his words of wisdom like “Let go.”
Words of wisdom such as; “You are not in charge, so Trust the Father.”
Words of wisdom such as; “You are loved, not matter what, and I am with you always, through the good and the bad.”
Words of wisdom: “Forgive and be forgiven, don’t hold onto mistakes, yours or others.”
Sit at the feet of Jesus; breathe, Listen, discern. Then we can go and do what we can actually do.
And ironically, we will be as God.