When I was a child my father engaged in business all over the world and took many trips. He would always bring something special back for me upon his return. Each was unique, quite characteristic of its country of origin, and often went with a story.
In recent days I have felt a need to assemble some “Pearls for the Box”. There are several things, simple things, gleaned from Scripture and from prayer and pondering, that I have discovered to be True and godly, but do not readily lend themselves to simple “proof texting”.
These are truths I should like to communicate, over time, to my grandchildren. “Souvenirs of my Travels”, so to speak. They are not scriptural texts, but insights synthesized and gleaned from text, prayer and experience of the journey.
I share them with you here, with the understanding that these are not scriptural texts themselves, and are not presented as representing what is universally true for all people. These are things I have discovered to be true for me, in my universe, to my conscience. Thus, if they bless you, wonderful! If you disagree, or they do not speak to your spirit, please cast them aside with my thanks.
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God created man as His child, to love him.
Love Himself, Alone, transforms, changing what is not like Him, into Him, His very Self.
People are sacred… ALL people… altogether holy. Not because of who we are, or what we do, or what we believe, or how we live. None of that. But people are sacred because of the Holy God who fashioned us from, by, and with His Love… by His will.
There is no handy dandy crib sheet report card checklist of sin. Sin is to deviate from the will of God, to violate the conscience and act in defiance or disobedience to Love Himself. Sin expresses itself in dealing with any other, God or man, as less than sacred.
All of Christian life could be simplified to one verb and two virtues: “To Love”, “Righteousness”, and “Holiness”. To exercise righteousness is to love all others as sacred children of God. To exercise holiness is to love God as sacred family. To love, to receive grace from God Alone as Source, and flow it through onwards to ALL that surrounds us, is Life Himself. Anything other, whether thought, word, or deed, is death, illusion, shadow, empty and meaningless.
Words are transcendent, eternally begotten from the Mind of God, flowing through us and uttered into Creation, penetrating others.
We are judged and held accountable to God, by exactly the standard to which we hold others. The words we generate through our minds and hearts, return to us as we stand before Him in His light inescapably.
To recognize the need of another, to assess its magnitude in order to meet that need, is necessary in order to love one another as Christ loves us. To assign a “value” to that neediness, relative or absolute, positive or negative, is to “judge” In the manner forbidden to us by Jesus.
To desire to fulfill the will of God with what we do, to act in a manner determined to honor and love God, IS to fulfill and honor His will in love for Him. It is not whether we turn left or right at a fork in the road that gives God joy. It is pausing at the fork to ask Him which way He prefers us to go. The moment we ask, because His pleasure is our basis for deciding, we give Him the fullness of His pleasure.
Our adoption as joint-heirs with Christ is our investiture to exercise the authority vested in us by the head of Our Family, as we now function in the fullness of the authority of the Father.
God blesses, empowers, calls, and pours grace upon all His children identically… infinitely… which is the only way He can be. People sort themselves out along a continuum according to the degree with which they will relax, receive, perceive, experience and embrace that infinite flow. God is fully and entirely present, intimately connected, totally “wired in” to Himself. Spiritual disciplines, devotions, prayer, and worship are all exercises of “turning down the background noise” in order to allow us to perceive what is already there.
Every person on earth has the same call and mission in Christ, to be vessel for Him that He live within us and walk among us again building His Kingdom. We are all the same rank. But each of us play out that mission and call on a stage “uniquely set” for the single actor, with the singular background, that we have. It is all “perfectly redemptive”.
We are frail. We are created to be loved by God, and it is His will that we come to enjoy that by returning that love in trusting relationship with Him. He knows our frailties and faults, and they do not limit His love or forgiveness or grace. He does not condemn us for our frailties. We need to learn to do the same, and embrace our frail selves as enthusiastically as He does.
We receive all good things from the Father without hesitation or qualification. We are to reflect those to Him, and focus those outwards to others, without expectation of return or condition from others.
We need not work to merit spiritual awareness or enlightenment. We need not “climb the mountain” to see the face of God, or persuade Him to bless us with His presence, or earn our way into His intimacy. He is already there/here. He already infinitely fills and pours all of that onto, and into, and over us, at each moment. The only “effort” needed is not to drag, or persuade, or beg Him to come. Awareness of Him does not depend on how effectively we can importune Him to make Himself known. Rather, awareness of Him depends on how effectively we can still the self, quiet the mind, calm the heart, quell the appetites, release our “stuff”, and calm our fears… that WE PERCEIVE and EXPERIENCE that which He has wrapped us in all along, from before the beginning.
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These are the items in my pack that I am to retain. Grace to thee, Gentle Reader — The Little Monk