Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Indwelling Presence…

In the Judeo-Christian creation story, humans were created in the very “image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1.26). Our DNA is divine.

The Divine Indwelling is never earned by any behaviour whatsoever or any ritual, but only recognized and realized (Romans 11.6, Ephesians 2.8-10) and fallen in love with. When you are ready, you will be both underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the boundless mystery of your own humanity.

Without that underlying experience of God as both abyss and ground, it is almost impossible to live in the now, in the fullness of who I am, warts and all, and almost impossible to experience the Presence that, paradoxically, always fills the abyss and shakes the ground.

Richard Rohr, adapted from The Naked Now, p. 22

We waste so much time seeking God, as though he were a distant land, or a lost object of desire, when he is in every cell and fibre of what we are. What is needed is perhaps harder than any quest: to get out of the way.

I’ve been praying about this chemically-induced depression I’ve been struggling with recently, and I think that part of the problem—as indeed it is with any serious or long-term illness—is that our inner eyes become fixed on some image of ourselves, rather than on our essential image-bearing humanity.

Of course, the part that is left out of the passage from Rohr’s book that I’ve quoted above is the part about our fallenness. We are made in the image of God, all right, but that image is tarnished and obscured by sin. My present tendency to self-obsession and self-pity is no more than an exaggeration of something that is common to us all, which is only overcome by grace.

Grace itself is always there, like the sun’s light. The earth may turn away; clouds may cover the sky, but the faithful sun shines on still. So it is with the grace of Christ: his love never falters—we do.

But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets,the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction,since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed;it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 3.21-26 [my emphasis]

Oh, God, give me the grace to get myself out of the mirror, and watch only for your reflection. Give me the love to care only for those others in whom you have placed your image; give me the strength to weep with them, dance with them, pray for them… for without you I am far too weak.

And yet… Paul also wrote (2 Corinthians 12.9): “[the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

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