World Day of Peace

January 1st, 2018 by Dave Leave a reply »

Beginning Again
Monday, January 1, 2018
World Day of Peace

Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing. —Saint Francis of Assisi near the end of his life [1]

My goal in the coming year of meditations is to offer new perspectives and applications of the foundational, mystical truth that we—and all of creation—are made in the image and likeness of God. There are always new vocabularies, fresh symbols, new frames and styles, but as my spiritual father St. Francis knew, there is only one enduring spiritual insight and everything else follows from it: The visible world is an active doorway to the invisible world, and the invisible world is much larger than the visible. This is “the mystery of incarnation,” the essential union of the material and the spiritual worlds, or simply “Christ.”
Our outer world and its inner significance must come together for there to be any wholeness—and holiness. The result is deep joy and a sense of coherent beauty. The Incarnation of Jesus manifested this one universal truth: Matter is, and always has been, the hiding place for Spirit, forever offering itself to be discovered anew. Perhaps this is exactly what Jesus means when he says, “I am the gate” (John 10:7).
In the beginning, we knew this. The archetypal Creation story shows Adam and Eve walking in the garden, intimate with God. After “the eyes of both of them were opened” through the deception by the serpent, Adam and Eve saw a split universe of suspicion, subterfuge, doubt, and alienation (Genesis 3:7). “They realized that they were naked” and separate from the Source of their being. This is the delusion, the lie, and the “fall” from original grace and innocence.
By the age of seven, most of us have “left the garden” and have begun to live largely in our minds—looking over at the garden. Before that time, we exist in unitive consciousness, when “the Father and I are one” (John 10:30), or my mother and I are one, as we enjoy in the first months of life. Soon we see ourselves as separate from God, creation, others, and even our own bodies, standing apart and analytical. We no longer know by affinity, likeness, or natural connection (love), but we merely know things as objects out there and apart from us.
And so we spend our lives searching for the garden and, hopefully, learning to live from this place of union, not just once in a while, but as our primary way of being in the world. We must practice “beginner’s mind” to rediscover the reality of our union that is so simple and obvious that our dualistic, rational minds are blind to it.

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.


Let Us Keep to the Point
By Oswald Chambers

“…my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” —Philippians 1:20

My Utmost for His Highest. “…my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed….” We will all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus the areas of our lives He has asked us to yield to Him. It’s as if Paul were saying, “My determined purpose is to be my utmost for His highest— my best for His glory.” To reach that level of determination is a matter of the will, not of debate or of reasoning. It is absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will at that point. An undue amount of thought and consideration for ourselves is what keeps us from making that decision, although we cover it up with the pretense that it is others we are considering. When we think seriously about what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He doesn’t know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point— He does know. Shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in this one thing only— my utmost for His highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.
My Unstoppable Determination for His Holiness. “Whether it means life or death-it makes no difference!” (see Philippians 1:21). Paul was determined that nothing would stop him from doing exactly what God wanted. But before we choose to follow God’s will, a crisis must develop in our lives. This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God’s gentler nudges. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him and we begin to debate. He then providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide— for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.


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