Tuesday, May 09, 2006

connecting with God (john 15)

I am strong.
At least I think I am strong.
I like to be in control.
I like to be at the center.
Maybe being strong is about survival,
about perseverance,
about doing what I ought to do.
But at times I am aware that I am not so strong.
At times I sense that I am not in control.
At times I know that I am not centered in God,
but in self.
When the illusion of my strength is made plain for me,
I know that I am weak,
and that I must live by faith.
When the illusion of my control is apparent,
I know that I am uncertain,
and that I must live by hope.
When the illusion that I am at the center of all things is before me,
I know that I am filled with pride,
and that I must learn to live by love.
God is my strength, I am reminded.,
When my own efforts reach their end, God's work begins.
When the wine has been poured completely, the miracle happens.
When I can see no further, my blindness is cured,
and now I see, and there is grace.
Jesus says, "I am the vine and you are the branches,
and apart from me you can do nothing".
In these words I experience connection, I discover life,
I envision growth.
Sometimes I feel disconnected and uprooted;
sometimes I feel bored and enslaved;
sometimes I feel isolated and estranged.
An experience of connection leads me to assurance and safety.
An experience of life ushers in joy and new creation.
An experience of growth integrates God and self and others into a whole.
There is a wholeness about a vine connected to the branches.
There is a wholeness about a life connected to God.
The absence of that connection is life without spirit, without breath.
My temptation is to see only that which can be seen,
tested, measured as real.
When this is the case, I fall into the trap of...
doing rather being
action rather than contemplation
busyness rather than stillness,
and I see faith as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.
My struggle is to see the whole rather than the parts.
To be created in God's image is to live fully in this world,
and yet to know that I have been created for God.
To live in God's image is to know that I have a capacity
for a more-than-human life,
or perhaps for a fully human life,
even, by God's gift,
a holy life.
To seek the whole is to search for connection, for life, for growth.
To seek the whole is to live in relationship with Christ.
To seek the whole is to live as the person I have been created to be.
This seeking requires that I depend not only on my own strengths,
that I give up some degree of control,
that I allow my life to be centered in God.
As I move toward a life as connected to Christ
as branches to the vine,
I will be nourished with a cup and a loaf,
I will be sustained with a power and a presence,
I will be led by Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.


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