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Painting by Dorothy J. Ross

Painting by Dorothy J. Ross

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:13-14]

The prize is not death alone. If that was true, then we’d be lining up for the “big shot” (which is what I used to tell my children when our very sick dogs or cats had to be euthanized — probably not the best description). But if death itself was a prize, we would be racing toward it.

No, it’s not any death, it’s a death that is drenched in the Spirit of Christ and when that happens, death is a doorway.

But that’s not the most important part. At least, it can’t be for me. I am already so results oriented, I don’t really want to add another “ending” to which I am “straining” as Paul states. Instead, I want to be present in the process of knowing Christ. This is a way of living that is not dependent on circumstances. It’s a place so secure within that nothing can shake it loose. This place, this Presence, is the source of love and miracles.

It’s not that “last” death but the small dying to self each day so that God, in Spirit, is more. Or, unified, who I am is not lost entirely but married to the One. We are called the bride for a reason. But until then, we are still guests at the wedding, relatives at the ceremony, even witnesses. The prize is in the marriage vows and certificate. The prize is becoming one with the Christ Spirit within.

 

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