Journey to Awareness Lent Day 14

(I must apologize for yesterday’s post going out today.  This was an oversight on my part.)

NIV 1 Corinthians 13:6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Love is the way Scripture describes God.  Love is both a noun and a verb.  An existence and an action.  It is energy and matter.  Somehow it is the essence that holds everything together and is the purpose for which everything exists.  It transcends all philosophies and theologies while at the same time being the standard by which truth is known.

Learning to walk in love is not easy.  By its very nature love must let us act freely.  This freedom in love allows us to go place we should not go and do things we should not do.  Humanity has a nature we pass on to one another.  It is the nature of questioning love, of rebelling against love, and choosing to redefine love as we think it should be.  Love allows us to do this and so we become separated from the truth and live in darkness.  A darkness that leads to death.

In our separation from Love, we try to fill the emptiness this separate creates with the thing of this world.  We try to fill it with our own definition of love.  Thus, through the power of deception and delusion we delight in that which is evil (the word as it is used in the verse above means to negate the truth, negate what is right).

When Jesus came he went about teaching people the truth.  The truth that God loves them and that they should love the Lord their God and love their neighbor (meaning all people) and love themselves as they were meant to be loved.  Needless to say, he disrupted the delight of many.  But as Jesus traveled teaching, he pointed out the truth of love that is found all around us.  He told parables, stories of common things, to show us how the truth is always there.

I have found it a good spiritual practice to have times of just think about how God loves me.  I then try to look at my life and see if I am sharing that love with others.  I also remind myself (especially during Lent) that do not yet see the Truth completely.  I will not until the darkness is forever removed by the Light of love.  Still, I do desire to know and this desire moves me toward the perfection I which to achieve.  Not a perfection with flaws but a perfection of wanting to delight in the truth.

NIV John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Journey to Awareness Lent Day 13

NIV 2 Corinthians 4:2  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

When you have been deceived, misled, or have someone tell you an out and out lie it is quite natural to have a strong emotional response.  We feel violated when this happens.  It is a hard thing to get over.

I have met a lot of people who have been hurt by “church people”.  I know of individuals who were high leaders in a particular religious organization who would hold “secret meetings” to seek to gain power and money for themselves.  I know that putting on a religious mask is something that many religious “professional” are very skilled at doing.   I am also aware of the multitude of scandals that have made the news and many that we simply “swept under the rug.”

I also have found many sincere, loving, caring, self sacrificing people who seek with all their hearts to live as they believe Jesus would.  People who have made the same commitment as the one stated above by Paul.

If one seeks to follow the journey of Jesus one will come into contact with the dark side of organized religion.  A person might even be deceived into slipping into that darkness oneself.  It is easy to be deceived.  However, one will also find fellow travelers of faith that can help us with accountability and focus on our purpose.  This is why Jesus created the church, the called out people.

We are not responsible for the evil of others unless we participate through commission or omission.  We can embrace penitence and supervision in order to show that we are different.  We can through repentance and  renewal demonstrate our understanding that we are sinful human beings who do make mistakes and can be mislead.

Again, as we travel through the season of Lent we need to ask God to help us to be aware of our own darkness and how we can bring light into the darkness of others, not a judges but as a caring co-travelers who are seeking the Kingdom of God.