Tuesday, January 28, 2020

R/C 01/01/2020 A Question of Language

Philippians 1:20
Paul’s Life for Christ
“For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.”

Chambers begins the year with one of his core issues-surrender of the will. “To get there (to my utmost for His highest)...is an absolute and irrevocable surrender [of the will]...”on the point in question. I have found this to be true for many years. In most cases the issue is not that I don’t know what to do but rather that I don’t want-I don’t have the will-to do what I know. When things aren’t as clear as they could be, I find-as Sean Connery says in The Last Crusade-‘A solution presents itself’ given a little time. It is the difference between reacting and responding, the importance of patient waiting. 
Rohr says “The most common [reactions] to a new moment (what Chambers might call crisis) are mistrust, fear, knee-jerk reactions...dismissal...judgement...”; what I have come to call ‘beginning with no’. Chambers makes an interesting and somewhat unusual point-we may say someone else will be adversely affected if we follow God on whatever point is before us (what will happen to him or her if I do this) but we are in fact only concerned with ourselves-what will become of me. The ‘someone else’ is just an excuse for our own fear or or negative judgement, or even lack of will. This concern for ourselves (what Rohr calls the ‘little I’ or ego; what Chambers calls the will) will come up again and again. 
The bottom line for both is learning to ‘keep yourself before God’ in absolute surrender of will (Chambers); allowing a takeover of the ‘little I’-ego-by the Big I-God, of whom we are all a part-(Rohr). What Chambers calls surrender Rohr calls connecting, or realizing the connection that already exists. 
Here Rohr’s insight becomes helpful. He speaks of surrendering to the awe of the moment, using Moses at the burning bush to illustrate his point. Moses, struck a bush that burned without being consumed, went to check it out. God speaks to Moses and Moses realizes he is on holy ground. The ground had been holy all along; Moses simply failed to realize it. Seeing the visible bush allowed Moses to see the invisible holy ground.  How many ‘burning bush’ moments do we encounter, and how many more do we miss by not paying attention? Specific visible moments (the bush) lead to a broader invisible revelation (holy ground). Moments of awe followed by surrender to the moment which together have the ability to change how we see. Rohr says once we become accustomed to this type of seeing our whole world becomes sacramental; we see God everywhere, the invisible behind the visible. This is an important first step towards discovering our connectedness, with God and with one another. It is the beginning of keeping ourselves before God. We learn to love God whom we cannot see by loving our neighbor whom we can see (1Jn 4:20); with loving comes surrender. Love, after all, is about the other while will and ego are about the self. 
And so the journey to become ‘our utmost for His highest’-the men and women we were created to be all along-begins. Let us all be bold for Christ and trust His life in us to bring honor to our lives in Him. 

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Uhrichsville, Ohio, Barbour Publishing
Richard Rohr, Just This, Albuquerque, New Mexico, CAC Publishing, 2017

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