Thank you Sam Pullen and his seminary friends for the use of this excellent, thought provoking treatment of the most beautiful, sacramental token of God’s relentless love.
To be loved is one thing.
To be certain of love is something else.
linked to a
Something so reliable it goes without saying:
like, “The Sun will rise tomorrow.”
Can I know that God loves me?
Can I know that God loves me now?
God Gives me daily bread. Essentials provided.
Nice. But easily placed under the column heading: moral obligation
What about gifts? God’s favor and blessing!
Sweet. But if it comes from the surplus of your power, resources, time…
it is only a hand-me-down of the forgotten, easily discarded at the outskirts of
Well, what do you want from me?
Something that doesn’t part from you easily
Something that costs you something
Puts you at risk
A statement that I or they are worth the counter-intuitive, reckless, self denying
How do I know God loves me?
That God loves me even now?
Communion. The Lord’s Supper.
True food. True drink.
A broken body.
A life laid down.
Humiliated – publicly.
of God’s unrelenting love for you
God loves you. Loves you now.
In this moment
this same crisis, failure, unlovable-worthless-wreck-of-a-life moment.
Don’t think too much on it:
this gesture that embodies the act
Just close your eyes
and receive it…
By receiving communion, we lean into the One who is already leaning in toward us.
We are kissed
with a sacrament that speaks louder than words.
NOW you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. ~Colossians 3:8-11
What? All my best weapons? I keep those for personal defense.
It’s quite a collection.
I have them because I’ve been hurt.
I won’t be hurt again.
Hurt people hurt others.
I know just how to
Fire a warning shot.
Graze the skin.
Shoot to kill.
Anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech…
These are the energy sources for weapons of mass
Do you think you will talk me into disarmament so easily?
The Grace of Growing Up
There is a good reason my past is located in my history.
God put all the hurt behind me:
in my thirty minutes ago
–back there with my immaturity
So I could grow up — and therefore — out of it.
The Grace of a New Self
We never discourage the recipient of a new heart
a new liver
a new kidney
That is a courageous act of survival.
Necessary for life.
The lie we believed and passed on to our kids and closest friends:
“Time heals all wounds.”
Keep your old heart — your old liver — your old kidney.
Time will heal it.
Nope. Some things just have to be discarded.
Some things simply must be replaced.
The wounds are too deep and debilitating;
rendering it incapable of good, proper function.
So, when the Bible teaches that the Self is like that
we shouldn’t gasp or grimace or guffaw.
You’re at the top of the list for the next Self transplant.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. ~Colossians 3:12-14
Hard habits to break.
Impossible to break.
Only a new Self is healthy enough to
pump, cleanse, filter,
A new Self requires renewal — a re-shaping into the likeness — the attitude of Christ Jesus.
Immaturity set me up for deep emotional bruising.
I over thought my importance, my role, my authority.
Abusing the power of my right as a person to have personhood
to have dignity
to have a voice
I was easily, too easily, offended.
In maturity, I no longer use my Self as a collection point for all things
Now, my Self is put to better use.
Bumper Car of Compassion and Service.
My Self gives its power to making other people’s dreams come true.
And when that is too lofty or too large for realism
I just take a cup of water to the thirsty who have none.
I just help the grumpy old woman with a ride to the grocery
and then stick around
to put groceries away
miss my gym class.
This is the functioning new self that gives authority and personhood and dignity to the wonderful, beautiful, anger-filled, wrathful, malicious, slanderous, abusive
who fill up the earth
covered with wounds
that time never healed
but let fester
into oozing infection that infected others into
Beyond this — Put on LOVE
It’s the antibodies of the soul.
Is it impossible to love or receive love after being exposed to all the virus and cholesterol and bacteria and poison of this planet contaminated with humanism?
Would seem so.
“You don’t know what they did to me!”
“You don’t know what I’ve been through!”
“I will never forgive them for what they did!”
The Grace of Impossible Suffering
Ravensbrück was a notorious women’s concentration camp during World War II, located in northern Germany, 90 km (56 mi) north of Berlin .
Between 1939 and 1945, over 130,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system; around 40,000 were Polish and 26,000 were Jewish. Between 15,000 and 32,000 of the total survived. Although the inmates came from every country in German-occupied Europe, the largest single national group incarcerated in the camp consisted of Polish women.
Margarete Buber: “At the end of each week, the reward was added together and the hours logged, so evident that it was what every worker earned in so many hours, but which they never received, which was taken away by Siemens per concentration camp slave. Through this system it was to determine immediately where a prisoner had his workload, which accounted for about 40 Pfennig per hour not achieved … my employment at Siemens consisted mainly in correspondence of the Director with concentration camp. … As I learned, the main directors were showing their zeal for following orders, for their career, and out of fear of being sent to the front.”
The following prayer was found at
Ravensbrück death camp where 92,000
women and children died.
It was scrawled on wrapping paper near a dead child.
Lord, remember not only the men
and women of good will also those of
But do not only remember the
suffering they have inflicted on us.
Remember the fruits we have brought,
thanks to this suffering–our
comradeship, our loyalty, our humility,
the courage, the generosity, the
greatness of heart which has grown
out of all this.
And when they come to judgment, let
all the fruits we have borne be their
Only a new Self could love so well in hell
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.
More than heal us. Save us with the grace of Self, brand new, molded in the image of You.