“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is unseen is eternal” 2 Cor 4:18
We are caught between two realms, the world/ the culture we live in, and God’s kingdom. Until the day we die, as long as we live in this human body and mind and emotions and spirit, we will live in two worlds. It is our choice which world has the greatest influence on us. Here is how Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, writes of these two realms: “we all have double citizenship, as it were: I am alive in time and space, but also in a greater Self beyond time and space.”
As children and adults, we first of all experience ourselves as the people closest to us have seen us and how we think we fit into the world. Sometime during our lives, if we are fortunate enough to give credence to our experience of God, the other reality will be calling us. The sheer beauty of God’s creation might be the call. Or hearing God’s voice within for the first time might be the call. A descent into the wilderness by the loss of a loved one or job, or a natural disaster might be the call. However, the call of the other reality comes to us, if we will answer the call, then our lives will begin to change radically. But it is always our choice to follow that call to the deeper life to be lived or not.
I had hoped for quite a while after I gave my life to Christ that this world’s influence and especially my own adherence to its values would be healed and go away. But I am now convinced that there are so many layers to be healed within us from the world’s dominion over us that it takes our death to cast aside all human influence and to finally lay this world to rest. Meanwhile, I am content to still think the thoughts I have always thought, but I no longer let them affect me. I am content to feel the emotions and just let them die of inattention. I cling to the joy and engagement I feel in my life, the peace that passes all understanding and the love I experience daily from the Lord. He is my rock.
How do you experience the pull of the world along with your own personal lens vs. the yearnings of your soul to follow God wherever He would lead you? Both co-exist in us. Which one do you turn to for succor and support, for nurture and love, for joy or happiness? Will you live forever on the surface of your life where the world holds sway or delve into the deeper, truer reality of God? All of us are capable of turning our lives around no matter what we have done, with God’s help.
Our culture now is really punitive of crimes, disallowing any redemption or any real re-entry into life as the rest of us know it. It may be that we each individually are really punitive towards ourselves for our sins and misbehaviors. But God’s love is redemptive and healing. Once we are firmly in His hands, He will lead us away from a life given over to the world or one of crime or whatever takes us away from Him.
I just read about a program in Seattle, The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion or LEAD program, that offers real help to people caught with drugs—social services, housing and more. And it is working by redirecting their lives into healthier ways before they are booked. Now other jurisdictions are beginning to copy this program, because it is redemptive and heading people back to a normal life.
Here’s Brother David Steindl-Rast again: there is the “double realm of my I in the river of time and my Self beyond time…My Self, which is at home in the Great Self, thus plays the role assigned to me. In playing, Self and I become one; I can distinguish between them but never separate them…I ask myself what it means to play my role ‘well.’ The answer must be that playing the role well means playing with love—expressing, by the very way we live, a joyful yes to limitless belonging. If the I denies this yes, the Self nevertheless gives it the strength to play on, but the I—it now has become the ego—is playing its role poorly. ‘Only love knows how to act. Only through love is anything beautiful! Only through love is anything good!’”
Questions to ponder over the week: Which realm do I put first? Am I aware of how the world pulls me and what makes me go that way? Or is God truly first in my life? In my mind? In my heart? In my soul? And body? What is the truth about how I live my life?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who put God first in our lives, who live in His realm, the kingdom. May we live in the fruit of the Spirit[Galatians 5:22-3], giving out only joy, peace, love, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
If you live near Charlotte NC I am offering a two day retreat on “Living the Two Great Commandments of Jesus October 12th and November 9th at Caldwell Presbyterian Church in The Third Place, 1604 Park Drive, Charlotte, from 9 to 4. Register at email@example.com. $50. for both sessions. Bring a bag lunch. Drinks and snacks will be provided.
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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 9.15.19’s is entitled “The things/events in my life that have really changed me.”
 Brother David Steindl-Rast, I am through you so I, Paulist Press, New York, 2017, p. 199
 Philippians 4:7
 Brother David Steindl-Rast, I am through you so I, Paulist Press, New York, 2017, p. 191. He quotes German poet Will Vesper