The preaching of peace by a remnant in an age of war and violence is one of the eschatological characteristics in the life of the Church. By this activity of the Church the work of God is mysteriously accomplished in the world. (Thomas Merton, 3/7/1964 Journal V, pg. 87)
As we walk though these days, how I long for the ‘healing of Easter”. (Thanks to Lib Campbell for that phrase). We are all spiritually broken. Life skews in us the capacity to give and receive the highest kind of love – that sacrificial love that wants God’s best for the other. So how do we clean the slate? How do we learn the ancient-future ways of loving and living that lead to peace?
First, we must surrender to God who is the author, creator, redeemer and sustain-er from whom we have been running – intentionally or unintentionally.
As in any kind of recovery, we learn to live one day at a time, one situation at a time. We give in to trusting God as we are growing to understand.
We look for the people of peace in our lives. People of peace can be, will be, in community/communion with us. We pray our way into being an extended family on mission, a group of people with a common focus and rule of life. Rules are not legalism but the responsibilities that walk hand in hand with relationship. Somewhere I read recently “relationship without responsibility is mere sentimentality, responsibility without relationship becomes mere legalism.” The healing of Easter means living in fruitful tension between relationship and responsibility.
Then we must actively look for ways to live out the mission: making disciples of Jesus Christ who make disciples of Jesus Christ. This is God-given creative work that has a rhythm of life and Holy Love at the center.
There is the white flag of surrender that becomes the tabula rasa, the clean slate, of new life. That surrender is not the end, it is the beginning of new life lived by being truly human, in relationship with God the way it was meant to be on the day of Creation.
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law.
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. Galatians 5:1-6, The Message