Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Facing the Mess

Half a day at the spiritual formation forum and God has already begun to dig deep into the mess that is my soul. Sitting in the sessions today I began to get that old nagging feeling I often have in class, well that I have in almost every possible social setting. It is that desire to impress the others around me. It is that desire to contribute so profoundly to the dialogue that I present myself as somehow being acceptable among them, if not even slightly above them. So, I am left with dilemma that we are all faced with daily, minute by minute: do I face my inner struggle or do I ignore it?

Our main session dealt with the heart of this very issue. Our intentions, our motives are rarely if ever pure, and we should not be content with that. The heart of spiritual formation is engaging this battle, the battle within us between spirit and flesh. Christianity then is more than having orthodox beliefs, and more than Christ-like behavior. Christianity is about entering into the dynamic father-son-spirit relationship and being transformed into the wholeness of the image of Christ.

This is where we fail, where I fail. We refuse to enter into the mess of our own souls, the mess of being a family, of being a community, and we can never experience the brokenness before God. If we cannot be broken before God, then we cannot truly be repentant, and then we are never truly transformed into his image.

Engage the battle. Will you, will I engage the battle that rages within us at the deepest levels. Engage our fears, our insecurities, and our deepest darkest desires that threaten our very wholeness. In God, there is not to be any of these. God is wholly other-centered, but we are always self-centered (to some degree). These are the two realities: God’s other centeredness, our self-centeredness – that is the root of sin. The incarnation then is the in-breaking of God’s reality into our own, not to condemn our reality, but restore it, redeem it, and make it whole again. This is our job as a church: to proclaim these two realities, and tell over and over again the story of the in-breaking - to live embracing our brokenness and accepting God’s mercy.

Will you join me in this journey? Will you no longer avoid the mess in your life, and the mess in mine, and the mess in others, lest we reduce our spirituality to emotional feel good consumerism? Will you embrace the brokenness, and wait then on the Spirit of God to shape and model you into the image of Christ? Will you trust God in a radical way you have never before?

“That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” - 2 Cor. 12:10

No comments: