Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who was advancing against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple without giving up all that he owns.
The cost of following Jesus is constant and unending--yourself.
It is not once given, but daily. Each day one wakes and chooses, once more, to surrender the self you think you are, the self you have been, for the self that is Christ within you.
There is a pearl of great price in every soul. Call it Spirit. Call it grace or love. It is the Christ heart that hungers for the Love it is, the Love who brought it into being, the Love it hungers to be.
The price of following Jesus, the cost of the cross, is the willingness to surrender whatever else you are for the sake of this heart.
The Christ heart calls us beyond commitments to job, friends or even family. It coaxes us beyond whatever we cling to give ourselves meaning and purpose. It tells us our struggle to be important and to gain other’s respect distracts us from life’s real purpose.
It whispers on dark nights when sleep fails, when the noise of life is silenced and we hear our own inner voice. “Nothing else matters,’ it says. “Nothing. All that matters is being this heart, this soul, this love.”
The voice tells us the truth. It is the voice of the Christ heart calling us beyond what we are, beyond that to which we give our time and attention, beyond the common ways we define ourselves, beyond the labels others assign to us at work or play or school, beyond their expectations and demands.
It calls us to give up all those other selves and be the Great Self that is the heart of Christ hidden and sleeping within.
It asks for everything … and gives much more.
Pr. David L. Miller
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Great crowds accompanied him on his way and he turned and spoke to them. 'Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple. No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple.
Much must be surrendered before we can follow Jesus. This journey is more inward than outward, although sometimes the inward journey comes only when life strips us of trappings and securities we thought essential to a good and happy life.
To follow Jesus is to find one’s identity and worth, one’s joy and peace in nothing external, not in reputation or success, not in the respect of others or the accumulation of whatever the world tells us is valuable.
To ‘come after’ Jesus is to come into intimacy with Wordless Love and feel that wonder at the core of yourself--knowing that One as your truest self, knowing that Love as the one certainty that can never be lost or stolen from you.
Jesus invites and draws us to know what he knows, the inner truth of his life, and to know it as our inner truth.
But we cannot enter this most sacred space when we seek ourselves--our peace and joy, our value and worth, our security, meaning and assurance--in anything other than this inner ground of love.
The great saints knew what Jesus knew. Their lives were grounded in this Love, which allowed them to surrender security and comfort for the sake of the Love within them. They could surrender themselves to hard and frustrating labors knowing themselves as Love’s cherished children.
This was the daily touchstone and stability of their lives. They communed deeply with this Love and found themselves there, content to know what only Love teaches, working, too, as expressions of the Love at their core.
They did not necessarily hate their mothers and fathers and families. Some loved them deeply. But they no longer found their ultimate meaning and purpose there. Their well being and peace was no longer invested in these relationships.
They turned from external sources of peace and freedom, divesting themselves of all that did not ground their lives and actions in the Wordless Love, who tells us everything we need to know.
Pr. David L. Miller