As we begin, let us center ourselves in Christ Jesus. Allow yourself to rest in the present moment to know God’s presence with you. It is good to be still as we pray for the Lord to speak to our hearts.
"Our Offering to God”
This week we will look at the complete surrender that the contemplative person desires to bring to God. We must learn to live in a manner that is conducive to the development of a surrendered life before God. This is done by way of Spiritual Disciplines. Prayer, meditation, searching the Scriptures, silence and the like. We necessarily learn about various ways such as Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, the Jesus Prayer, the Prayer of Examen, Prayer of Quiet and many others. These, as well as many others have been transformational practices for many, bringing countless people closer to the Lord. But there is one underlying mystical event that must occur for any spiritual discipline to be more than just something we do. There is a mystical point where something changes in our being, at the spirit, soul level, which in turn has a profound holy and transformational effect on our minds and even our physicality. This change is by the grace of God, but it is not without our participation and cooperation. To practice the disciplined life of a Jesus follower is to allow God, who gifts us with an awareness of holy space in, though and around us, which is primed by God’s grace for radical faith, which can only be defined as full and utter surrender to God’s will. This is what Jesus showed us on Gethsemane. When this occurs, we are given the ability to abide, in Christ, at the deep center of who we are. Here we are given the ability to see God’s activity, and hear God’s voice in our center, in our spirit and soul. In this we are blessed with the gift of “letting go” of our very being as an offering to God. Our spiritual disciplines are designed to bring us to a point of “letting go”, that we may, quite naturally, effortlessly in fact, offer God our very being. Thus, a rule of life, which includes time proven spiritual disciplines is of extreme importance, for it sets our mind, heart, and without knowing it our very being, on Christ Jesus. But the perfection of these practices is not the goal. For instance, we are not attempting to be professional prayers as much we are seeking to become prayer. We are not mere students of the Word, for our desire is to be in the Word, in Christ Jesus. The differences can at time seem subtle but the difference between doing and being, practicing spiritual disciplines and offering our very being to God, is profound. In this we define God less with labels such as good, fair, sweet, merciful, righteous, wise, almighty or even love. As accurate as these all are, we begin to realize the insufficiency of such labels, and we allow all that we know and don’t know about God to form into a relational way of being that allows us to simply rest in the reality that God is. This is what is called flowing from the cataphatic to the apophatic. We run out of words, and symbols, as we simultaneously mystically find ourselves being emptied of our self-defined self and discover a new, true self, which is the image of God, our very being. Here we have only to offer God our very being; the image of God, created by God, which is and has been God’s, all along. In this we allow the truth of our pure being, the image of God, to lovingly contemplate God’s being. This is referred to as union, or Oneing, with God. In union we discover, awaken to, the reality that our being has been and shall always be in God, for all eternity.
A renewed human mind intuitively knows itself as the image of God’s eternal mind. Our healed, thus expansive soul, we discover to be the image of God’s glory. Our reborn human spirit is the image of the Holy Spirit. The imperishable body is the image of God Incarnate, Jesus Christ. Combined these are the Image of God which we can know unity with God through contemplation. This is what it means to offer our very being to God.
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Next week, “The Practice of Being Totally Present to God”
May God Bless You All, Gene Yotka
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