Posts Tagged ‘labyrinth’

secretplace1After life gives you lemons and even the lemonade is undrinkable, it’s clear that God has something else in mind. I am, by nature, a doer and problem-solver. I have made a lot of lemonade in my life. But I have come to the borders of my self-sufficiency. Whatever comes next is new territory. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” [Psalm 91:1-2, NKJ] So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. [Daniel 9:3] I am peeling away then at the layers that have shrouded that secret place where God and I have met in the past. It is a slow process, like pulling English Ivy, the tentacles of memories and circumstances, loss and sorrow, missteps and futility, have covered the way. But I must push on and push in, for whatever I do next must be directed by God; I need confidence in the hand of God guiding me. I don’t have that anymore. Whatever has sustained me in the last six months is no longer enough. Even though people offer to help, unless the direction is clear, we are all going in circles. What next? That’s my prayer. What next?

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It’s hard to break the rules when we’ve been told all of our lives that the rules are immutable. Imagine being raised a Judean back in the day, and then told by Jesus and his followers that all things can be eaten, all people can be touched, nothing is intrinsically forbidden. It’s outrageous!

Colossians 2:20-22
Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.

But what about the 21st century believer? Have I been lulled into habitual narrowness? Have I taken passages from scripture and turned them into rigid human laws and interpretations?

If Judeans had a hard time giving up the dietary laws they followed over 3,000 years, isn’t it possible we’ve gotten equally inflexible about food, music, movies, dancing, beat, clothing, language, sexual preference, and so on? After all, they were “told” in the laws of Moses that many these things were forbidden. And yet, with the death and resurrection of Christ, suddenly, everything was allowed.

Someone once told me that Jesus never healed any two people the same way because human nature tends to codify behavior into a rule or law or procedure. Jesus was in the rule-breaking business. The last thing he needed was to set up a system.

The reason that “externals” are not so very important (even today) is that the work is within. What Christ did, as God incarnate, was to establish a new point in time.

People tend to forget, when Jesus sat down and “ate” with sinners, these were parties (Roman-type orgies, probably). There was “unclean” food all over the place and people were lounging around and engaging in all kinds of unseemly behaviors. There were dancing girls and slaves. There were gay and straight guests. It was a sensuous culture, the way of the wealthy. That’s one of the reasons the priests were indignant about Jesus. That’s why they couldn’t buy into the stories–Jesus, the Messiah? Uou’ve got to be kidding, he’s totally unclean. Impossible!

Why could he do all of these and it not matter? Because he was reaching for the heart, the sacred other, the soul, the part of all humans that can be transformed, instantly (or slowly), but often, an evolution that cannot be readily discerned by the outer shell.

Now I can go ahead and never do a bad thing or lust after all kinds of things that I shouldn’t, and yet, despite all that outer goodness, my heart could still be another shrunken head, tied to a string of trophies on the belt of a great enemy.

This past weekend, I walked a prayer labyrinth; it is “used as an instrument to facilitate meditation, prayer, and personal reflection.” For each person, the journey is unique even though the path is identical. For me, the word that dominated my walk was “balance.”

Let me start there.

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