Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hanging on...

Jesus is the Blessed One. When Jesus was baptised in the Jordan river a voice came from heaven saying: "You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you" (Mark 1:11). This was the blessing that sustained Jesus during his life. Whatever happened to him - praise or blame - he clung to his blessing; he always remembered that he was the favourite child of God.

Jesus came into the world to share that blessing with us. He came to open our ears to the voice that also says to us, "You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter, my favour rests on you ." When we can hear that voice, trust in it, and always remember it, especially during dark times, we can live our lives as God's blessed children and find the strength to share that blessing with others.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

Clinging to the blessing through thick and thin, good and bad... how I long for this simplicity of trust! But how on earth can this be done?

I don't know how it works for anyone else, but for me, instinctively, it's about clinging to the Cross. Literally. When I am praying to hang on, by the skin of my teeth as it feels, then I do physically hang onto my little olive-wood holding cross.

I've tried to think what might be happening here, spiritually or theologically. I know it's very crudely expressed, but it seems to me that perhaps when we "cling to the Cross" we are in our hearts acknowledging that it is only through Jesus' death on the Cross that we are saved; and no one and nothing can break his hold on us through the Cross.

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand.

(John 10.27-29)
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.'

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8.31-39)

1 comment:

  1. In a book study, we're reading Brother Lawrence's small book--same message--love God no matter what is happening.