This month the scripture we discussed at our United Women in Faith meeting is below. This morning I felt led to share a few thoughts about it with you.
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20, The Message translation -- One of the 7 authentic Letters of Paul
This passage is quite astounding to me. First of all, Paul echoes Jesus' statement to not judge by appearances, but use righteous judgment. Paul says "now we look inside." So I think it would be good to take a moment and ask ourselves - How am I doing with that? When/where do I only see the surface and not look inside? How can I be more self-aware, so that I look at the inner and not the outer? How much calmer and more loving would my life be, if I truly were doing this consistently? It seems to me that spiritual growth is a process, rarely an instantaneous leap into cosmic consciousness. We need to be consciously involved in our process, not just let it happen willy nilly. That is, assuming we actually want to develop a mature and deeply meaningful spiritual life. Maybe that is a foundation question to ask ourselves. I sort of assume that, if you are reading my blog, you are focusing on being more and more spiritually awake, aware and in tune with the Infinite.
Paul tells that once we put our foot on the path, we get a fresh start and can be made new. Something clicks, shifts, opens when we sincerely align ourselves with the Infinite, the Christ Presence, the More. It is certainly a discernable difference.
He tells us that God has settled our relationship. We're all right with God. And then we are given a job to do --- tell others. Not only that, but we are now Christ's representatives - and we are to persuade others to drop their differences and make things right. We are to encourage others to join in the work of bringing everyone into harmony, to remember we are all God's kids, all siblings, one family.
But then Paul goes farther --- We’re speaking for Christ himself now. That is an immense prospect. That carries huge responsibility. It also carries the possibility of slipping into hubris, which we have seen so many do. It can, however, be humbling and life-changing.
It seems to me, if I speak for Christ, I need to be totally aware of his life and teachings, not the theology heaped upon him over the ages, but the original teaching. I need to speak and act as much as I possibly can in attunement with Him. I must speak and act out of unconditional love. I must forgive without limit. I must help and care and give and shine the Light that is within freely. I must root out of myself all that is unlike the Christ, which means I must honestly see myself and keep shifting every day, every moment to the goal of being all I am called to be.
It might seem overwhelming, but it is a process that will make life so much fuller and more fulfilling. And, it might just change the world.