Posts Tagged ‘Paul’


20¬†For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities‚ÄĒhis eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

-Romans 1:20 (New Living Translation)

Okay before the slew of anger mail starts, I realize I have pointed out multiple ties that within the Christianities due to what is in and out of canon there is multiple bibles, but this goes beyond that discourse. This takes it to a higher level, and is an idiom of my Franciscan days:

Creation is the first bible which has been written over 13.7 billion years, and then the Hebrew Bible/Christian Testament began being written.

The point is simple and direct for us to remember in our communion/love of the Holy. That we are within the Holy, the Holy is within us, and everything happens resonates the same. Some may give a feeble Force analogy, and it is beyond that, it is not pantheism, but rather a devout understanding of Panentheism, and a connective understanding to the Cosmic Christ. As Pseudo-Paul writes (that is a writer/student shaped and discipled by the Apostle Paul) in support of Panentheism:

11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

-Colossians 3:11 (New International Version)

It also understands, as those who read my Mary theology, will begin to understand the brave teenage mum of Nazareth became the archetype for the “Goddess” “Divine Feminine” and (Lady) “Wisdom” (of the Hebrew Bible) within the non-Protestant churches that venerate her. The complete Imageo Dei that we seem to forget, both (or more precise– all genders, races, cultures, abilities, sexualities and other nuanced labels we attempt to use to segregate and disempower with in our religious discourse)–are created in the image of the Holy Mystery and called very blessed.

The question for us, is which Holy Scriptures do we experience and live in, and learn to love through? Is there a difference when one is in communion with Holy Love?

 

 


When Phil Jackson coached the LA Lakers he would say if there was a negative player they would be housed on away games in another hotel from the team altogether. Why? That negativity would be infested. It was a corrective action, much like in our own bodies if we break a limb and it is casted, or get a cut and use a band aid (or depending on the severity stitches).

This analogy of body healing came to me as I contemplated these words of St. Paul today and the state of churches in pain:

12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.

15¬†Suppose the foot says, ‚ÄúI am not a hand. So I don‚Äôt belong to the body.‚ÄĚ By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body.¬†16¬†And suppose the ear says, ‚ÄúI am not an eye. So I don‚Äôt belong to the body.‚ÄĚ By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body.¬†17¬†If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell?¬†18¬†God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be.¬†19¬†If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body?¬†20¬†As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

21¬†The eye can‚Äôt say to the hand, ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt need you!‚ÄĚ The head can‚Äôt say to the feet, ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt need you!‚Ä̬†22¬†In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can‚Äôt do without.¬†23¬†The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren‚Äôt shown. But they are treated with special care.¬†24¬†The parts that can be shown don‚Äôt need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn‚Äôt have any.¬†25¬†In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another.¬†26¬†If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.

27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.

-1 Corinthians 12: 12-27 (New International Readers Version)

The analogy that Paul uses to explain a church is of a body. In more modern times we use the idea of corporation or family. But let’s reflect on these words in times of conflict. In times when deep holy conversations need to happen. There are points when healing needs to happen– ala truth and reconciliation. Think of this as stitches or a caste.¬† The scarring of the wound is still there, but we have healed and moved forward as one body.

But then there is deeper pains, these are the hates, the prejudices, the bigotries that emerge as a result of fear of change, formation, or simply, deeply held beliefs. The Anglican Church of Canada bishops recently showed these signs with their vote against belonging for the LGBTTQ2+ community within their own church. On a smaller scale, faith healing congregations show this towards persons with disabilities tying their different Image of God to a lack of faith on the part of the person or their family. It can also be an unwelcome, acting passively aggressively or overtly bullying of a person within pews during worship so your lips say welcome, but your actions clearly say you do not belong here and we will remove the safety of the sanctuary until you get the message.

It is a chronic disease. Most notably a fast acting cancer, like negativity on a basketball team (I mean, Phil Jackson should know what he speaks of he did manage to get Shaq better at free throws).

The response in churches I am most used to, is it is ignored, and the leadership refocuses on what is going well for the damage is only beholden to one small segment, usually those that do not give huge amounts of money or is new, so that loss does not matter.

YET, here are the words’ of Paul speaking of the need for every part of the body, and what role they play. What if this person that creates discomfort for better belonging is the agent breaking the artery clog to stave off a stroke or a heart attack? Is the EMDR-ART to heal the PTSD? The CBT that corrects disassociation?

The radiation or chemotherapy or operation that removes the cancer for longer life.

See the toxicity is usually pacified, because good people are also a small portion of the congregation that do a lot of work and are tired. They are also fearful of conflict in this time of shrinking attendance, and fear the time the congregation’s life cycle is at an end. Though by ignoring the cancer, it goes from something small and quickly treatable to, well, cancer left unchecked becomes terminal.

The question for a church, that is a Body of Christ, are what choice are you making when confronted with what could be a terminal illness? Ignore and let it consume you? Take your own life? OR Treatment and healing.

The question is as personal for each Body of Christ, as it is for each patient.


It is astounding on the recovery journey the weird hiccups life brings us. Such as the auto reminder sent to my e-mail the morning of Saturday July 6, by AHS in regards to my next ART session (ART is Accelerated Resolution Therapy for my PTSD). Now think, it has been almost 3 weeks since my last treatment, so already in the “meh” phase and ohh the flashbacks we will know. The hijinxs is that the auto reminder is for the wrong day, right time. So, I call the number and it is not a person, but rather an automated voicemail and leave the message correcting them. Now what to do? Well, the time and date they sent me does not work because I cannot be in two places at once. The authentic appointment booked I will show up for.
Why?

Like the writing of Paul today in Galatians, A-C-C-O-U-N-T-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y and a standard to hold our teachers (in the case therapists, healers) too. This is part of the beauty of the ancient sacred texts of our worlds’ religions…you can come to them again and again where you are in the pilgrimage of life and new wisdom speaks to your Spirit. Paul, was formerly Saul of Tarsus, he was a bad ass for the ancient religious-political oppressors until he met a vision of the resurrected Jesus on his way to Damascus, and became a convert to the Way of Love.

Galatians is an epistle (letter) that touches upon community life. This passage comes into the understanding of What’s a Samaritan, for it touches upon community and where we gain our wisdom from. This version is from Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message, a fairly contemporary reimagining of the sacred writing:

1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

6 Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.

7-8¬†Don‚Äôt be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others‚ÄĒignoring God!‚ÄĒharvests a crop of weeds. All he‚Äôll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God‚Äôs Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

11-13 Now, in these last sentences, I want to emphasize in the bold scrawls of my personal handwriting the immense importance of what I have written to you. These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ’s suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas. They themselves don’t keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible!

14-16¬†For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can‚Äôt you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do‚ÄĒsubmit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what¬†God¬†is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God‚ÄĒhis chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!

-Galatians 6:1-16 (The Message)

I love how the words pop. What we put into our lives is what will grow. If all we take in is the darkness, and lose the light then we will be succumbed. Know that we are an interconnected organism and each piece of our life will affect other pieces. That is we do not know where the connections will happen (and as I experience ART I can attest the spider-webbing of memories and some of those links make no logical sense, but heart sense they do).

The word’s of Paul speak ot the cruciform life, what is that? A life shaped by the cross. Now there is many regular readers, and hearers going I have gone off the track with this. Nope, see what brought Jesus to his execution and the Holy Mystery saying n’uh to that death? A life lived contrary to what the Empire and Religious Oppressors said was true, and beneficial. He threw off the caste system, shared hope and love. Reminded everyone that they belonged simply because they were created in Holy Love in the Imageo Dei.

Jesus, also laid out the path that we are to be critical thinkers. Giving our time to learn from, and do life with those that breathe life into us and challenge us to grow and create a better world– that is bring the Kingdom here. We are to be critical and thoughtful, discerning if you will for those that are false teachers…I mean have you seen comments from Franklin Graham recently, I think Paul is quite shrewd in pointing out we take the cruciform lens of the disciple life of Jesus to those that profess to be our superstars in this era of a new emergence.

But it also points out the communal responsibility to care for the caregivers, the teachers, the healers, those that ensure our society continues rolling in health. Quite a reflection for this era we are in of the commodification and coding of life? Quite a contemplation to eradicate this concept of those who are deserving and undeserving of aid? What Would Jesus Do is more than a cliche, it is a simple answer of grow the circle wider.

Or as Paul keeps pointing to…grow the circle wide, disciple, love, care for…oh and ensure we all belong without the labels.

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This week winds the road of discovery, and renewal of Spirit. It acknowledges our holistic self, that is what the Medicine Wheel teaches of the mind, body, soul and spirit. Let’s be honest, to often we get sucked into the idea of puffing ourselves up. Collecting awards, growing our bank accounts, or more that gives us status and prestige in life. In the midst of it all though we forget who we are, and why we are here. It is an easy path to veer off of.

The Christian Testament readings brings us into the Epistles (fancy word for letters) to early gatherings. It is a letter written between 49-55 CE, by Paul. Galatia was a territory in Asia minor, populated by Celtic settlers. An intriguing backdrop as if it has a later writing then Paul is in the midst of the Corinthian conflicts, and just before he wrote to the gathering in Rome. This is a letter used in the 16th Century during the Protestant Reformation debates around faith and justification as Reformers, being used by local monarchs for Empire building, argued with Roman Catholic Clerics the vestige of elder Empire building.

Yet these words are used today, as we come with our own stories and eyes to speak to us. And what is within? The lectionary lays out 5:1, 13-26.

1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

-Galatians 5:1 (New Revised Standard Version)

Paul levels the opening of this chapter with a huge issue in the ancient world. The role of slavery. Now we like to pretend this has been put to rest, but slavery still exists within our capitalistic globalization in places that do not pay living wages, or more horrendously within human trafficking. What Paul is reminding folks is not to let the divisions that had existed before carry into the gathering.

That is that in Christ, there is no labels of separation. He is reminding folks not to surrender to the old. What are ways that we leave our path? We chase what we assume will make us the next “it” thing. Whether it is technology, fashion, faux body image, the list can go on for what we assume are positive, yet there is also negative labels that we throw down to create separation and keep people divided. Think along the lines of the arguments about are you “insert group here” one of us? That’s our money? the hoops one has to jump through to qualify for aid. The idea the value of the person rests on ability, sobriety, gender identity or economics.

This leads us into later in the chapter with ancient echoes:

13¬†For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;[c]¬†only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence,[d]¬†but through love become slaves to one another.¬†14¬†For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‚ÄúYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.‚Ä̬†15¬†If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,[e] drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

-Galatians 5:13-21 (NRSV)

Slaves to one another… does that mean no boundaries? No, it is an ancient metaphor on loving self and neighbour as Paul points out the summation of everything in Love. He directly uses the outcast label, the non-person label as a stark and strong reminder that we are all images of the holy. It invalidates that label. Paul then uses Greek Platonic philosophy to illustrate the false separation of body and spirit. He points out that because we are in the Spirit we are different. The things laid out were the ways that the Empire used to de-value, control and oppress the masses. It was also was the controllers used to suppress their own traumas of what they had survived to rise to power.

It is the seeking of power to the setting aside of the value of love and the image of God.

Let’s hear that again: It is the seeking of power to the setting aside of the value of love and image of God.

Truly, you have made everyone around you nothing more than numbers, labels or functions for your own fulfillment. It is what the current religious right use in our society to point to loss of “God” in our world. Yet what is lost, is God being used to cover up what Paul wrote here of, the separation of the children of God, the abuse, and misuse to build power. Things that should be set aside. The label making remnant of Eugenics in a world where you must prove yourself human enough and worthy enough to exist in society. That is the “flesh” fallacies Paul was writing of, but he did not end there.

While Paul, leads you out of Empire living, into the heart of the Great Commandment Brother Jesus laid out. What happens when we enter into that healthy Love circle:

22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

-Galatians 5:22-26 (NRSV)

It is moving beyond black and white, moving beyond labels and coding. To seeing the person before us, and authentically living in the gray of life. A gray that allows the circle of inclusion to be drawn wide, and within the width, authentic belonging becomes the norm.

As the Kingdom is near… will we be the tipping point?

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Ray Bradbury wrote an amazing book of Science Fiction (some call speculative),¬†Fahrenheit¬†451, the concept was precipitated on you control the people byImage result for fahrenheit 451 movie stripping away books and thought…pure indoctrination…Firefighters now burned and did not stop fires. The original was of its time, it focused on those trying to save books by each person becoming a living tomb. The main conflict was within the fire fighter Montag and whether or not he held to his indoctrination or let curiosity take hold. HBO Image result for fahrenheit 451 moviedid a modern remake that held close to the original story, but showed how easily our world could sink into it. The Ministry using the leveraging of social media, the drive for likes, the algorithms to guide a nation to censor themselves. Creating an “enlightened” non-reading, non-music, non-movie class where there was only 3 books allowed- The Holy Bible, A see Jane book, and Moby Dick. I can already here some I know saying keeping the Bible on the list is a dangerous book, but is it?

For the world of the story is one that has left behind critical thought, and simply desires Image result for Brian Zahnd Farewell to Marsand has achieved the pursuit of superficial happiness based on the moment and insta-fame. This is the world of Christendom, that has reduced the Bible to a collection of black and whites. A guide post of exclusions, hatreds, bigotries, that had a moment in the sun of post-world war II where a beautiful world of care for all could be build, but as Brian Zhand touches upon in his accessible book, Farewell to Mars,spent their time trying to prove Soviet Russia and Khrushchev as the Anti-Christ of Revelation, and idols of a nation of War-Jesus in place of the Roman God of War, Mars. He writes of his transformational journey from a Christendom indoctrinated war pastor to the way of the Prince of Peace. Yet, that is a journey many have missed, as petty fights and arguments are taken up across churches attempting to rally against the inevitableРChristendom, and the false God it created are DEAD.

Though the true God, Christ pointed to is alive and breathing and well. It is a challenging God thought because it is one of B-E-L-O-N-G-I-N-G.  For it is family,

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,¬†we[a]¬†have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.¬†2¬†Through him we have also¬†obtained access by faith[b]¬†into this grace¬†in which we stand, and¬†we[c]¬†rejoice[d]¬†in hope of the glory of God.¬†3¬†Not only that, but we¬†rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering¬†produces endurance,¬†4¬†and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,¬†5¬†and¬†hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love¬†has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

-Romans 5:1-5 (English Standard Version)

Yes, through the Holy Spirit. Ancient Creeds dubbed it the Holy Ghost, the Hebrew Bible creation poems called it the Breath of God…this is what creates humanity. Creates everything. Permeates everything. Connects everything. It is the barrier shattering way Jesus laid out in his life and teachings. Not a future orientation of afterlife, but building the Kingdom here and now. What Paul is picking up on.

We are to walk through the challenges of life, because we are to stand with and embrace in love those that our religiousity, and possibly, our world say are untouchable. Slowly over the 20th Century Christendom has been chipped away at so women, non-white people all got recognized for full human rights. Now we are finally realizing that functionality of life belongs in the church. We have worked hard to end horrendous practices with persons with disabilities such as eugenics.

Yet propriety within church life can leave a service a place of non-belonging. What does that mean? Simple, the building may be accessible, but if leaders and members are not willing to give up ground of accessible spots in the sanctuary it still sends the traditional message of “you do not belong here”. Paul was echoing Jesus words of the heresy of that life. Will we hear it?

Will we finally put to rest the Ubiquitous question on LGBTTQ2+ belonging, and allow true authenticity within our communities?

For it is not about exclusion, that is the way of Empire and Religion. It is about belonging, family, love poured in and out.

Hear that…

Love.

It takes a critical heart and ear to be able to speak out against the simplicity of exclusion, hate and censorship, or we end up down the rabbit hole of war-religion, and book burning.

It takes…LOVE…


A second post was necessary because the Lectionary gave such rich stories from the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament for Sunday June 9– Pentecost Sunday. What’s a lectionary? It is the way readings are designed (one from Hebrew Bible, one Psalm or portion, One Gospel, and One Epistle (letter)) for each Sunday so that in 3 years all texts are touched upon in Sunday worship.¬† Aside from the birth of the church (Acts 2) and the ancient myth of Babel (Genesis 11) there was a gospel reading (perhaps a youtube video to come)…but there was a Psalm and a writing of Paul that I think speaks to our current time, where politically, religiously and everywhere we are becoming so entrenched we are unable to actually discuss topics for growth.

The last provincial election in Alberta illustrated this point, especially with producing a legislature made up of only 2 parties. Essentially one must say I hold to this or that. The party machines do not have to actually listen to constituents. It also crops up in Environmentalism, sports, religion… no middle ground of consensus or question asking allowed… just blind devotion and if you are not of the blind devotees you are the outsider.

Let’s pause and wonder what that means? The ancient prayer attributed to St. Francis has a line in it about Seeking to understand and not be understood. Even 800 years ago we had this glitch. Listening to build a response, to correct, or to pummel our belief system NOT to actually listen to the person and see what is happening below the surface. This is how we lose the focus on addiction treatment because we treat the addiction not the root causes (lack of belonging, trauma). Why we are lost in a society of chronic anxiety (what if I don’t hold point a or b, then I do not belong, I am not worthy). The list can go on and on.

Over the past several years I was finally sidelined by a life of ministry due to, finally diagnosed, Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (due to a-typical PTSD).  It led to my current book as I entered into the treatment and healing process, Soul Ripples, which first started out as a story of mental health in my family, and then laser pointed to how those stepping stones led to me in ministry, and seeking to answer the question of who is my neighbour?

The answer though is found first, in the quote of Francis of Assisi, seek to understand not be understood. Understand those before me, understand those who came before me, understand how it works within my own life…for creation is interdependent.

This brings us to our first reflective piece from the Psalms. These are ancient poems, prayers, hymns and songs that reflect the story of God with Creation, and Creation with God, in all its glory and ugliness. Consider these words from Psalm 104: 24-35 (ESV):

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
    which teems with creatures innumerable,
    living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.[b]

27 These all look to you,
    to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit,[c] they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

 

In our thankfully dying or dead Christendom there are three doctrines that have created the inter-generational and cross creation traumas that still permeate our world today. The doctrine of Dominion, Discovery and Colonialism. Colonialism is the might makes right, our god is mightier than your god so we are coming in to take control as we were not there it is now ours (plant a flag if you will) definitely ripples from the ancient world until today (for Trekkies this the Cardassian, Klingon or Romulan mindset). The other is Discovery, which Rev. Mark Tremblay of Knox Presbtyerian in Calgary had an excellent discussion on June 10 about. I will give a sound byte at best, but it is the idea that due to discovery a new land it is now ours to do with as we see fit–our right to exterminate or proselytize at the point of the sword as we see fit (carried through from at least the Crusades, but also a formed vengeance response in my opinion from how the Roman Empire treated Christians before Constantine converted circa 325 CE making Christianity and Empire Religion and birthing Christendom). All these backed up by politically informed translations of ancient stories and teachings (as even after Protestantism, the churches were mostly driven by Monarchs ruling by divine right).

Doctrine of Dominion comes out of the stories in Genesis 3, original sin or blessing depending on your point of view, as Adam and Eve are removed from the garden they are given the earth… The idea that fuels dominion is it is ours to basically use as we see fit.Which has led to some atrocious practices overtime. The rise of environmentalism is a good thing for it recaptures that we were blessed to be caretakers of creation for it is interdependent with us. This is what we can learn and share with our Indigenous family. The challenge is to understand what that means.

Instead as we work to move through the death of Christendom how to care for creation has become screaming echo chambers where you are either a dominionist or an environmentalists. That is wrong. Extremism exists in all movements. Why I say it is wrong because it removes all of the human family from the equation, it accepts a some left behind philosophy which is not what resonates within the words of this Psalm. For Canada today it is becoming the bridge of healing, and seeking to understand. Declaring a ban on single use plastics is not effective. What is effective is a discussion with all who will be impacted. It can be as fascious as I dislike paper straws to some persons with disabilities who literally need a single use plastic straw to drink for life.

What do you do with this? You do not knee jerk to answer with whatever your stock answer is. You do not throw out terms of medical exemptions to further stigmatize. You talk to citizens and stake holders and find out what is possible. What can be easily banned (plastic bags can be replaced by hemp, or compostable bags) and challenge industry of cigarettes that filters are no longer allowed, you then move to the challenge looking at places like Nordic countries that have ways to transform garbage to energy. See what begins happening? You look to a problem, you address it in a way that comes to a solid grounding of moving through and dealing with the issue with the best impact to creation as a whole, but no citizen is left behind. For change management understand that every change is a form of grieving, for some losses have been compounding regardless of ideology and for health, to end hate and anger, we need to address it honestly, openly and give space for healthy release and redirection.

Why?

Well, see I think if you hold to the words of Jesus of Nazareth, then you have to think of Paul. He was a lynch mob leader, high religious authority that through mystical experience came to discover what authentic love and belonging were (what God’s love is big enough for all, no qualifiers? Yes it is, Jesus said so). Anywho…look at this reminder language as Paul tries to break the ideological entrenchment of insider/outsider in the early church between Jewish and Non-Jewish believers in a letter he wrote to the gathering in Rome (Romans 8:14-17):

¬†For all who are¬†led by the Spirit of God are¬†sons[a]¬†of God.¬†15¬†For¬†you did not receive¬†the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of¬†adoption as sons, by whom we cry,¬†‚ÄúAbba! Father!‚ÄĚ16¬†The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,¬†17¬†and if children, then¬†heirs‚ÄĒheirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,¬†provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

This is why Christendom was politics, power and control. It was explicitly what Jesus and his early followers fought against. It created a caste system and, in the vernacular of some old police procedural shows and mysteries “NHI” (no humans involved). Paul echoed as strongly as he could that the old ways, the old chains were shattered, we were family. The adoption language has been used to enforce the barbarism of Christendom, most recently Residential Schools in Canada, for it allows the idea that it is up to us to be a refuge and civilization-share the faith, the nice language we cloak our institutionalized genocide in, because they were “heathen” or NHI.

But here’s the thing…Jesus was adopted by Joseph. The Empire saw Jesus, Joseph and Mary as NHI, even those Jesus built community with it is how the religious saw those folks. Hitting close to home? Who are the NHI or your movement? May not be overt hate statements, could be like the straw ban, well y’know but the planet…

Or it could be the old stand by “I hate the sin, but love the sinner”…

Nope.

Family.

Love no qualifiers.

It is the qualifiers where we get into trouble. It is in Dominion, Discovery, and Colonialism. As we continue to reconcile, speak truth, and attempt to listen where our structures do not allow for true healing. Where we have a report after listening of decades of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls where it fits definitions of genocide but international law does not allow for statements to be made strongly to that effect. In essence those that would take the stand could then be the one’s prosecuted for it, which is not right. We are the grandchildren of a system, echos are still reverberating, but what drove it is dead or dying…the Quiet Revolution Quebec had in the 1930-1940’s, is echoing across Canada.

But we do need to listen, and not to respond or continue to slam with facts. We need to listen to those that affirm, question, and deny… listen to understand what is happening in their own hearts. You can not destroy hate and anger with more hate and anger, but you can heal it with love.

And some savvy words spoken in wisdom…for wherever one is on the spectrum of whether it was genocide or not…one thing as a nation we need to truly affirm is that those commissioned to protect us as citizens, our police forces/services, have allowed serial rapists and serial killers to propagate unchecked within our borders for decades because of who the victims were.

We let horrors happen to our neighbour, because we did not want to look in the mirror and challenge our underlying assumptions of life. Which truly, if you have taken on the Christian Journey as laid out by our Brother Jesus of Nazareth, it is a constant re-examining…

When you approach ethics, morality, values and those undervalued who are your NHI’s?

Are you willing to leave someone unprotected or behind to remain unchallenged or comfortable in your ideology?

Or

Are you willing to listen, and love for a better world.


An ancient fable is what the second letter to Corinth reminds me of, do you note the similarities as we go through?

wolves

Back and forth communication is what appears to be happening with Paul and the gathering in the Roman Colony of Corinth. It is intriguing as I am sure there is intergenerational trauma at play within the Freedman and Veteran, as well as complex PTSD. It is a struggle in their beings to be who they are meant to be, as the past has an insidious hold upon them. I hypothesize this existence based on the history of the area, and the Empire, but also that Paul opens up the second ‚Äúofficial‚ÄĚ letter not with harsh correction, but a gentle guiding pastoral hand (2 Corinthians 1). That is he points to the comfort in God.

Not only that, but that by doing the healing work, not only will it benefit yourself, but it will flow out to others. A mutual healing in a communal course change. As he points to his own struggle in not being able to come to the gathering just yet, he lays out some points of healing that have been misused (2 Corinthians 2):

Now¬†if anyone has caused pain,¬†he has caused it not to me, but¬†in some measure‚ÄĒnot to put it too severely‚ÄĒto all of you.¬†6¬†For such a one,¬†this punishment by the majority is enough,¬†7¬†so¬†you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.¬†8¬†So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.¬†9¬†For this is why I wrote, that I might¬†test you and know¬†whether you are obedient in everything.¬†10¬†Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ,¬†11¬†so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for¬†we are not ignorant of his designs.

-Epistle of 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (English Standard Version)

It is a weird twist when you think of the trauma this community is resting in. Paul writes that they are to forgive the sinner, yet is that truly at the heart? I love how he points out the chain reaction of trauma and pain that will happen. He also points out that harbouring the hatred is unhealthy for the whole community, the Teduray would call it a bad gal bladder, something that would poison the whole system. What Paul is pointing out is a process of truth and reconciliation. That is that the truth is known to all, it is something that cannot be hidden under a bushel or away. The community knows who he is, then they work to restore him to the gathering if the person is willing.

It is the journey of the New Covenant. Do not let poison of another destroy you. Speak the truth and the effect of the truth.

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts

-Epistle of 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 (English Standard Version)

The new covenant is one of wholeness, not rote rules. It is not a strategy, it is about values, it is not legalism, it is life. Paul is moving into a discourse laying out the differences using his frame of reference for the Laws given to Moses (2 Corinthians 3). We can take the mysticism words of pain out of the journey. Unfortunately due to the institutional Christendom (like Empire) that grew after Constantine‚Äôs conversion words like God, Jesus, Christ, and other religious language can trigger as much trauma, as Paul was writing to use them to comfort. It is why in Marian theology she is used in visions‚ÄĒno baggage due to the evil of humanity.

What it comes to though is Paul pointing to the wholeness that awaits for you. Whether it is through crystal therapy, energy healing, psycho-therapy, life coaching, dream work, spiritual direction, yoga, tai chi, etc… it is about having your true self written on your heart, not just in the documents the world uses to describe you. The true you.

The Love You.

The Heart you.

Who is the new Covenant you?

What is written on your heart?

The True you.


It is funny when I started this series on the Epistles. It was just a step of my recovery as I await the outcome of wait-lists for my specialists. It was to look specifically at James. It became a renewal of daily practice of sacred reading and mulling. Listening to the words through my heart lens. Some good things emerged, some not so good. Seizures happened, so did flashbacks. Mindfulness, focus, body scan, DBT and repeat. Why? It is essentially good for my healing. I am sitting to write the conclusion of my reflection on Ephesians, it leaves only 5 Epistles (1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans, Hebrews & Philippians) in the Christian Testament. I may or may not complete it– but the soul work up to this point has removed sludge and healed some of the soul in moments before the next reboot. Which is good.

We enter into Ephesians…

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.¬†2¬†And¬†walk in love,¬†as Christ loved us and¬†gave himself up for us, a¬†fragrant¬†offering and sacrifice to God. (Read 5:3-6:9)…

The writer brings familiar words. Words about relationships, intimacy, slavery, families. Words that are misinterpreted, misconstrued. Used today to support environments of hate, violence and pain. For it casts an authoritarian figurehead of a family that is the be all and end all. What they truly are is a rallying call to the community to step out of the commodity ran world where everyone is a number, a designation, a tax payer, a 1%, a debtor and debtee, where a label and a trick of birth sets your course for ever and ever amen.

It is the cry to remember that the gathering is not the usual run of the mill day to day, but something different. To step out of that hierarchical commodity system and into the world of BELONGING. Authentic, and true home with the true you.

To remind each person, and the community they are not alone. They are not ill-equipped, they have tools:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Epistle of Ephesians 6:10-20 (English Standard Version)

The allegories. The rallying metaphors of the battle cry. The weapons to be used in the political anti-imperial proclamation that is their Gospel. Stand against metaphoric and true demonic evils of world and self in what you have been equipped with during this pilgrimage to the Heart of the Sacred.

What? That’s right. You have been given gifts, talents, knowledge and using them to continue healthy momentum is holy wisdom. What are the gifts you have? Talents? Knowledge? What happens when you apply them in holy wisdom? What happens with your life? And yes, this includes the healthy-supportive professionals, and healthy social supports in your circles of support.

It is a journey. A daily practice. A renewal to enter into a deeper love of your inherent being, lived out. Spread hope.

Expand your soul (whole self).

So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brothers,[d] and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

-Epistle of Ephesians 6:21-24 (English Standard Version)

Peace be with you.

Take time for your soul work. What would a letter written to you and your community look like in the spirit of Ephesians? What soulpansion would you be called to? What would you be reminded of?

Be the writer of your own wisdom genesis.

 


It may or may not be a spoiler at this moment in time for you, but so apropo. In the new Aquaman movie there is a scene where to save Mera and himself, Aquaman takes them into a whale saying “if it was good enough for Pinocchio.” Later in the movie Mera discovers it is a children’s story (or to Arthur a movie). Astounded that such wisdom could come from this source. But isn’t that the truth of stories in our lives? The ancient and living mythologies that speak into our values and characters? Allows us to understand our own selves.

I therefore,¬†a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to¬†walk in a manner worthy of¬†the calling to which you have been called,¬†2¬†with all¬†humility and¬†gentleness, with¬†patience,¬†bearing with one another in love,¬†3¬†eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in¬†the bond of peace.¬†4¬†There is¬†one body and¬†one Spirit‚ÄĒjust as you were called to the one¬†hope that belongs to your call‚ÄĒ¬†5¬†one Lord,¬†one faith,¬†one baptism,¬†6¬†one God and Father of all,¬†who is over all and through all and in all.¬†7¬†But¬†grace was given¬†to each one of us¬†according to the measure of Christ’s gift.8¬†Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
¬†¬†¬†¬†and he gave gifts to men.‚ÄĚ[a]

-Epistle of Ephesians 4:1-8 (English Standard Version)

The soul expansion the writer is calling the gathering too, is quite reminiscent in the moment Mera realizes that it is a story that has provided the knowledge to save their lives. The journey of the Aquaman movie (like Black Panther) is that of a person coming into their identity, disparate pieces of a whole breaking through the silos into a holistic self.

 

9¬†(In saying, ‚ÄúHe ascended,‚ÄĚ what does it mean but that he had also descended into¬†the lower regions, the earth?[b]¬†10¬†He who descended is the one who also¬†ascended¬†far above all the heavens, that he might¬†fill all things.)¬†11¬†And¬†he gave the¬†apostles, the prophets, the¬†evangelists, the¬†shepherds[c]¬†and teachers,[d]¬†12¬†to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for¬†building up¬†the body of Christ,¬†13¬†until we all attain to¬†the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,¬†to mature manhood,[e]¬†to the measure of the stature of¬†the fullness of Christ,¬†14¬†so that we may no longer be children,¬†tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in¬†deceitful schemes.¬†15¬†Rather,¬†speaking the truth in love, we are to¬†grow up in every way into him who is¬†the head, into Christ,16¬†from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,¬†when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

-Epistle of Ephesians 4:9-16 (English Standard Version)

Both these modern cinematic stories like a new age Hamlet, tell the story of coming into one’s own being. Stepping outside of what is known. The comfort of the old norms, beliefs and structures. One’s old anger and fears that are holding them back. Hearing the truth that is being spoken in love to become whole. Where faith and self connect. Where love and hope become one.
It is knowing that our gifts, talents and passions fit within a broader context. Each of us doing what is necessary, just like parts of the body to keep the world moving. Or on a smaller level the community, to the home to the self. Each part has its role, each role as necessary can be rediscovered or re-wired if needed. The highest good is being who you are, discovering in LOVE.

¬†Now this I say and¬†testify in the Lord,¬†that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do,¬†in the futility of their minds.¬†18¬†They¬†are darkened in their understanding,¬†alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to¬†their hardness of heart.¬†19¬†They¬†have become callous and¬†have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.¬†20¬†But that is not the way you¬†learned Christ!‚ÄĒ¬†21¬†assuming that¬†you have heard about him and¬†were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,¬†22¬†to¬†put off¬†your old self,[f]¬†which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through¬†deceitful desires,23¬†and¬†to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,¬†24¬†and to put on¬†the new self,¬†created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

-Epistle of Ephesians 4:17-32 (English Standard Version)

Don’t continue to walk in falsehood.

In the moment when the true self emerges. Embrace it. Love on you.

The gremlin-saboteurs have been turfed. The internal jihad won. Each day, is a renewal of your soul. Affirming who you are. In moments of stumbles, going back to basics to renew the soul. Do the soul work. Know who you truly are. Surround yourself with those that aid you to grow, not toxicity that sludge the soul. Take care of you.

Be the hero of the story. Aquaman- Black Panther. Emerge into your true self, the King/Queen of the monarchy that is you. And remember as verse 32 says:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

And remember, you are included (and most important) in the one another.

 


Somewhere’s between 62 CE and 150 CE someone who may have been Paul or a Pauline disciple wrote to the gatherings in Ephesus.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful[a] in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Epistle of Ephesians 1:1-2 (English Standard Version)

The gatherings, young Timothy led for a time. The great port cities of the Empire in Asia Minor. When there was a rise and run of persecution executions, but mostly economic exclusions. It was not meant to address specific heresies or issues, but rather to expand the soul of the gathering in their faith lived.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b]for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known[c] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[d] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[e] to the praise of his glory.

-Epistle of Ephesians 1:3-14 (English Standard Version)

I love how many read these words of predestination and have shaped it into this understanding that even before creation some have been selected to paradise and others destruction. I mean slow down your heart and think of that for a moment. A resonating of hope and love, and then a Creator that would create just to torment?

Uhm, No.

What is being expanded here in the soul work is the understanding that all have been created to be their true self. Through our own world of the shadows, through the gremlins and saboteurs our subs-conscious, ego and others have built into us…we are unable to connect. This is the guarantee though that all are able, and all will at one point or another whether in this life or the next.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[f] toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

-Epistle of Ephesians 1:15-23 (English Standard Version)

The life, death and rebirth of Brother Jesus becomes the allegory of the life of each of us. The symbol of Baptism (or other ritual honouring the end of the old, and beginning of the new) shows the path. That we are the new-old creation. The one meant to be. It is a shocking writing here, for it pushes through the exclusion attempting to overwrite itself on a religion struggling for survival. When in the darkness one has the drive to shutter away, whether it is grief, depression, anxiety or other even the ancients knew that you must find a safe place to step back into the light.

The writer was reminding the gathering of this.

And you were¬†dead in the trespasses and sins¬†2¬†in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following¬†the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in¬†the sons of disobedience‚ÄĒ¬†3¬†among whom we all once lived in¬†the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a]¬†and the mind, and¬†were by nature¬†children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b]¬†4¬†But[c]¬†God, being¬†rich in mercy,¬†because of the great love with which he loved us,¬†5¬†even¬†when we were dead in our trespasses,¬†made us alive together with Christ‚ÄĒby grace you have been saved‚ÄĒ¬†6¬†and raised us up with him and¬†seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,¬†7¬†so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable¬†riches of his grace in¬†kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.¬†8¬†For¬†by grace you have been saved¬†through faith. And this is¬†not your own doing;¬†it is the gift of God,¬†9¬†not a result of works,¬†so that no one may boast.¬†10¬†For¬†we are his workmanship,¬†created in Christ Jesus¬†for good works,¬†which God prepared beforehand,¬†that we should walk in them.

-Epistle of Ephesians 2:1-10 (English Standard Version)

Showing that existence outside of the Source is about the compartmentalizing of one’s being. That is when we separate the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental from other pieces. When we approach ourselves this way it becomes easy to loop into despair, and spiral into darkness. It becomes easy to supplant care and treatment, with addiction. It becomes easier for others to see the addictive behaviour as the source not the symptom. These are fallacies we still fall into.

It is about diving deeper. For where love exists is first in ourselves and discovering that. Silencing the voices and sludge energy, purging it. So our love of self can be shaped for others. This is the root of hope. It brings peace to the holistic self. It allows one to feel authentic joy. It is a step of faith to first achieve self love.

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‚Äúthe uncircumcision‚ÄĚ by what is called¬†the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands‚ÄĒ¬†12¬†remember¬†that you were at that time separated from Christ,¬†alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to¬†the covenants of promise,¬†having no hope and without God in the world.13¬†But now in Christ Jesus you who once were¬†far off have been brought near¬†by the blood of Christ.¬†14¬†For¬†he himself is our peace,¬†who has made us both one and has broken down¬†in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility¬†15¬†by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in¬†ordinances, that he might create in himself one¬†new man in place of the two, so making peace,¬†16¬†and might¬†reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.¬†17¬†And he came and¬†preached peace to you who were¬†far off and peace to those who were¬†near.¬†18¬†For¬†through him we both have¬†access in¬†one Spirit to the Father.19¬†So then you are no longer¬†strangers and aliens,[d]¬†but you are¬†fellow citizens with the saints and¬†members of the household of God,¬†20¬†built on the foundation of the¬†apostles and prophets,¬†Christ Jesus himself being¬†the cornerstone,¬†21¬†in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into¬†a holy temple in the Lord.¬†22¬†In him¬†you also are being built together¬†into a dwelling place for God by[e]¬†the Spirit.

-Epistle of Ephesians 2:11-22 (English Standard Version)

Hitting home that if we continue out of fear, then the darkness buries the light (like under a bushel). We may have work (toil), we may have housing (shelter) but we do not have purpose, and we do not have a home. For a home is where there is no false divisions. The writer in discussing the legalism reminds the reader of Paul’s own journey of acceptance by the Way. The Apostles were fearful that one who had once hunted them was now trying to work with them. Could he be trusted? Was there a change? How would they know?

These are the questions of one emerging from the darkness. Whether it is illness, addiction or despair. From a life of crime or of trying to fit the usual. That is of being what you were not meant to be.

Stepping into who you are meant to be, is stepping into the labyrinth that daily will take you to your core- the love heart of the Holy Mystery.

¬†For this reason I, Paul,¬†a prisoner of Christ Jesus¬†on behalf of you Gentiles‚ÄĒ¬†2¬†assuming that you have heard of¬†the stewardship of¬†God’s grace that was given to me for you,¬†3¬†how the mystery was made known to me¬†by revelation,¬†as I have written briefly.¬†4¬†When you read this, you can perceive my insight into¬†the mystery of Christ,¬†5¬†which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.¬†6¬†This mystery is[a]¬†that the Gentiles are¬†fellow heirs,¬†members of the same body, and¬†partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

7¬†Of this gospel I was made¬†a minister according to the gift of¬†God’s grace, which was given me¬†by the working of his power.¬†8¬†To me,¬†though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given,¬†to preach to the Gentiles the¬†unsearchable¬†riches of Christ,¬†9¬†and¬†to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery¬†hidden for ages in[b]¬†God,¬†who created all things,¬†10¬†so that through the church the manifold¬†wisdom of God¬†might now be made known to¬†the rulers and authorities¬†in the heavenly places.¬†11¬†This was¬†according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,¬†12¬†in whom we have¬†boldness and¬†access with¬†confidence through our¬†faith in him.¬†13¬†So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering¬†for you,¬†which is your glory.

-Epistle of Ephesians 3:1-13 (English Standard Version)

It is a beautiful image for any who have struggled for change in the world. As I wrote in reflections on 2 Thessalonians. It is about hearing from the margins, those that are forgotten by society and what it means for them to belong. This is what the writer is reminding the hearers of. The times Paul was in prison, that others say he was suffering, he is pointing out that sometimes being locked away becomes the strongest message to the world. This was seen with Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and Martin Luther King Jr, with his writing from his own cell.

The jarring nature when others here what is happening. Especially with Paul being a once celebrated citizen of the Empire, it shows how much he believes in the cause of equality and universal love. That he is willing to put his own reputation and being on the line to ensure the message gets out.

It also is a metaphor for our own chains we wear before coming into our true being. How we allow the usual world to shackle us, and we accept it as it is. Without question. Then there comes that time in everyone’s life when,

a question arises.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,¬†15¬†from whom¬†every family[c]¬†in heaven and on earth is named,¬†16¬†that according to¬†the riches of his glory¬†he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit¬†in your inner being,¬†17¬†so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith‚ÄĒthat you, being¬†rooted and¬†grounded in love,¬†18¬†may have strength to¬†comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and¬†height and depth,¬†19¬†and to know the love of Christ¬†that surpasses knowledge, that¬†you may be filled with all¬†the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

-Epistle of Ephesians 3:14-21 (English Standard Version)

As the writer illustrates with this chapter’s closing, when the question arises we have two choices: ignore it, or live into it. Whether it is through contemplation, mulling, journalling, art, dance, prayer, meditation, energy work- the soul work is living into the question.

As we enter into 2019, when the questions arise:

will you live into it?