Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Living Word

"Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words."  -- St. Francis of Assisi

In recent blog postings, I have described my experience of God calling me to go out into the community and provide a Bible Study to whomever was interested.  Now I'm beginning to think that that was just a precursor to a similar, but much bigger, calling:  to be the only Gospel some people will read.  And just like that other experience at The River's Edge, I'm not in control.  As usual, my only role in all this seems to be to simply say "Yes," to whatever comes and to put my trust entirely in God's guidance. 

This latest experience of God's presence, however, has been overwhelming.  It is like I am living parts of Jesus's life, only they are a little jumbled up and look a little different.  The more I consider this as a possibility, the more connections I see.  

In the last two weeks, I've been in the Garden of Gethsemane, I've had my Maundy Thursday experience, and I have given up my life as I know it.  I have even, during a moment of extreme discouragement, doubted God's presence in my life, before finding depths of strength and courage I did not know I had.

Looking back a little further, I see even more connections to the life of Jesus that I did not fully grasp at the time.  For example, at Christmas, I thanked the faithful women in our Tuesday morning book club, as well as two other women at church, for being such wonderful Soul Friends, guides and companions along my journey of faith, and gave them little handmade paintings of a simple Celtic love knot.  I made twelve of them.  Then during the season of Epiphany, I felt God calling me to embrace my Belovedness, and to go out into the community to share his word. 

And now, although some members of my family doubt my sanity, and friends give worldly advice with the best intentions, all I can do is put my trust entirely in God's hands.

Is this all just coincidence?  Is it possible for a very flawed, and somewhat silly, middle-aged, female, ex-mathematics teacher, now stay-at-home mother of three young children, from a mid-sized town in the Sonoran desert, to resemble Jesus just a bit and walk hand-in-hand with God?

Of course it is.  Many people have resembled Jesus in thought, word, and deed, and have walked hand-in-hand with God.  Gandhi is one of my favorite modern-day examples.  As C.S. Lewis writes, "... the likeness, and in that sense nearness, to Himself which God has conferred upon certain creatures and certain states of those creatures is something finished, built in.  What is near Him by likeness is never, by that fact alone, going to be any nearer.  But nearness of approach is, by definition, increasing nearness.  And whereas the likeness is given to us -- and can be received with or without thanks, can be used or abused -- the approach, however initiated and supported by Grace, is something we must do."**  In other words, although we have no control over how much we look like God, following God is a choice we each can and have to make on our own. 

It's a choice I make because I see how it is possible to heal the people I love.  Given that possibility, any sacrifice I make is worth its weight in gold.

And now, all I can do is continue to be the Gospel to the best of my ability, and hope that those who are blind will someday see. 

May the Peace
which passes understanding
be with you 


** from "The Four Loves," by C.S. Lewis (Harcourt ed., pgs. 5-6)

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