Created to Love

March 8th, 2018 by JDVaughn Leave a reply »

Created to Love

Thursday, March 8, 2018

In the fourth century, St. Augustine (354-430), an official “Doctor of the Church” (meaning he can be reliably trusted) in both Eastern and Western churches, said, “the church consists in the state of communion of the whole world.” [1] What an amazing and inclusive line, based on his Trinitarian theology (which lagged in later centuries). Wherever we are connected, in right relationship—you might say “in love”—there is the life of God flowing freely, there is the authentic image or body of God revealed. This body is more a living organism than any formal organization, denomination, or church group. As Jesus puts it, “Do not believe those who say, ‘Look here! or Look there!’” (Luke 17:23) because the Reign of God can never be contained or fully localized in one place.
Non-human creation is invariably obedient and loyal to its destiny. Animals and plants seem to excitedly take their small place in the “circle of life,” in the balance of nature, in the dance of complete interdependence. It is only we humans who have resisted our place in “the one great act of giving birth” (see Romans 8:22), even though we had the role of consciousness. Instead, we have been largely unconscious, senselessly participating in the death of our own and other species. We are, by far, the most destructive of any animal. As St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179, also a Doctor of the Church) writes:
Human beings alone are capable of disobeying God’s laws, because they try to be wiser than God. . . . Other creatures fulfill the commandments of God; they honor [God’s] laws. . . . But human beings rebel against those laws, defying them in word and action. And in doing so they inflict terrible cruelty on the rest of God’s creation. [2]
In poetry, Gerard Manley Hopkins proudly affirms “each mortal thing” as having a soul, not just humans.
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
. . . myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came. [3]
Jesus taught that if we would “first seek God’s Reign” (Matthew 6:33), and obey his command to “love God and love one another” (Matthew 22:37-40), all the rest would take care of itself. We would no longer defy the laws of nature but seek to live in harmony and sustainability with Earth and all her creatures. This radical lifestyle demands a deep sense of the inherent dignity of all things. We cannot pick and choose who has inherent dignity and who does not.
We must all firmly know that grace is inherent to creation, not an occasional additive. God’s goodness—not Adam’s sin nor some catastrophic Armageddon—has the first and final word. We thus begin in hope and end in hope, without which history has no purpose, motive, or goal—and love comes with great difficulty.


The Surrendered Life
By Oswald Chambers

I have been crucified with Christ… —Galatians 2:20

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.
Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.
If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.




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