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Posts Tagged ‘reconciliation’

kissandmakeupTherefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. . . . Be reconciled to God. [II Corinthians 17-19, 20b]
Big word: reconciliation. How often do you use that during the day? And yet, we are doing it every day.
As a parent, we are reconciling our children all the time: settling disputes, making compromises, restoring harmony. At work, we do the same, particularly if we work, as I do, in public service. Sometimes my front desk feels like nothing more than a complaint department.
The key to reconciliation is a willingness to participate in a two-way conversation. Both sides have to agree, both sides have to be in the game.
In the case of God, through the sacrifice of the Christ, the door is open for a permanent relationship with God. Many old rules have been cast aside and a new covenant was forged. But, we still have to go through the door and, as it were, sign our copy of the deal. It’s not that the deal is not a good one or that we need to dicker, we just need to recognize it for what it is, an offer to start over.
Here’s what is amazing to me. It’s never too late to “kiss and make up” with God. This offer is eternal.

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John 17:20b-21a; 22b-23a
“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their [followers] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. … I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me.” [Jesus praying]

How can anyone read this text and not wonder what all this indwelling is about? I think it’s quite mystical really. It’s not a feeling. It’s not something we can see. We cannot “know” if the indwelling has happened. This is strictly on faith.

For those who believe that life is more than our 3-dimensional world, the leap is not as difficult. In fact, it’s really the whole point. If we ask Christ to live within, it’s a done deal. This is not a real estate transaction where the Spirit comes in, takes a look around and says, “not interested, too many issues.” If we ask, the Spirit comes.

The next process is developing a relationship with the indwelling Spirit. We have to learn the language of love, hope, and trust within. This takes time. And that journey is different for each person. I find it a wonderful, yet sometimes disturbing, mystery. It’s simply not that easy to do.

Often, people will develop their own personal word picture to assist them in the discovery process. I remember, at one time, I pictured myself as a child who was walking on one side of a stream while Jesus walked on the other. I was looking for a bridge. It was my first foray into the Spirit’s guidance.

The most effective way to enter into process is through prayer. But too often, we turn prayer into a personal monologue. It’s too much like talking to Santa Claus: I want this and this and please do this and don’t forget this. After thirty years, I still fall into that trap. In recent years, I have taught myself to practice being still and listening more (within).

In fact, all of the spiritual practices are intended to help us in our indwelling journey; not only prayer, but also communion, reading of the Word and other challenging texts, worship, music (food for the ears), personal expressions of creativity, providing “food” for the eyes through beauty, meaningful community experiences, meditation, contemplation, time in nature and natural settings, service to the poor, widows & orphans, loving neighbor, practicing hospitality… just to name a few. These are all ways of learning about the operation of the Holy Spirit within.

But, if we don’t participate in spiritual practices regularly, we can become numb to the presence within. It’s like living in a foreign land. If we don’t use the language of Spirit, we can lose our ability to understand it. All can be regained, but it takes commitment and desire.

Today, I pray for mindfulness of Christ’s indwelling. I embrace the mystery. I accept the mystical nature of this union.

With what other practices do you experience the indwelling Christ?

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Luke 19:10
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

Last Christmas I watched the entire first season of “Heroes” the television series. It was great fun and a good story. One of the “gifted” characters was a little girl who was a “finder.” As I contemplated this scripture today, I thought of her and realized how I think of my Lord in a similar way. He isn’t just searching like the shepherd who looks for lost sheep or the woman for the lost coin, he is also supernaturally seeking out individuals who, when He finds them, they recognize Him right away … like Zacchaeus, and accept being found. The hidden areas of my heart and soul are the same. They are lost in a morass of memories, mistakes, and shame. Come, Lord, find those parts of me and reconcile them to you. I am ready to be found.

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