Friday, March 30, 2018

Abundantly Free.

Last night, as we removed the Eucharist from the church to place it in repose I wept.  Maundy Thursday mass always hits me hard.  I suppose it’s because in my own personal life I have had these last moments, knowing they would be my last, many times that I firmly identify with Jesus as we remember this time every year.  The Eucharist in repose, symbolic of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he is praying so hard he is sweating blood ( Hematidrosis is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress.) hits me deeply because I have experienced profound anxiety (but never to the point of sweating blood) before and I identify with Jesus in that moment.  I just want to hold Him and beg Him not to do this for me, whatever potential I may have, isn’t worth a moment of His distress or a drop of His blood.  Yet, He bids me come to Him and He washes me clean in his sacrifice.  God forgive me, because I don’t know what I am doing.  What a great Love, beyond my comprehension.

In the last four months five or so people have come to me asking me about how to start or proceed in their relationship with God.  In one instance, I first asked this question, “First tell me what your plan.”  They replied, “I think my family and I are going to try to find a church we like.”  I nodded and said, “Do you mind if I give you my opinion?”  The person replied, “Of course, I asked you!”  This is what I said:

Instead of trying to find one that you like, seek first the truth.  It has been my experience that I have grown the most, and drawn nearer to Hashem (The Lord) when I have butted up against things I didn’t like, because they drew me away from my natural tendency to want to live lawlessly and pushed me toward wanting to live the truth.  It’s not comfortable, it’s not always immediately comforting, but it is the only way I’ve found to walk in true freedom.  You see, what I like is easy. It’s instant gratification. It doesn’t challenge me to be better, do better, think better, or most importantly love better-beyond what is humanly comfortable.  What I like may make me feel warm and fuzzy, but it doesn’t always compel me to make the decision of love, the greatest and most high love-the type of love that would make me sweat blood with anxiety and still do the next right thing, the Lord’s will above my own.  That’s the truth that sets us free, truly free, and in my experience first it’s really going to tick you off, because it challenges you to face things within yourself you don’t necessarily want to face. 

This week I am challenged to remember that it took only five days for the crowd to go from crying out “Hosanna!” and laying palms before Him, to crying out “Crucify Him!” As much as I would LOVE to think I would have been different, I have seen in my own walk that I have the capability of rejecting Him, so I probably would not have.  This week I have been reminded that everyone likes to point the finger at who is to blame for His death, the Jews did it, the Romans are to blame...but it all smacks of Adam blaming Eve and God for why he ate the fruit when I hear it spoken.  The uncomfortable truth is that we all have a part in that dark moment. Every single one of us required that sacrifice.  It’s only through His grace that we are redeemed of all that and more.  (Eph 1:4-14, Romans 8:29, 1 John 4: 19, Romans 5: 8)  

The truth sets us free, not barely free, but abundantly free! (Ephesians 1: 3-14)  

So, today we look not for what is humanly comfortable, but for the truth that will set us free.  Not my will, but Yours.

Father, we thank you for the gift of Your Son, may we see and act on Your perfect truth that it may challenge us to grow closer in Unity with You. In Jesus name, Amen!

Here I am, Lord, send me!


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