Tag Archives: abundant life

Most Important

Sometimes I just need to remind myself of this…
In no particular order, at some point in time it was decided that the most important thing to God was…

  • sacrifice
  • rules
  • baptism
  • communion
  • going to church
  • Bible study
  • proving the Bible is true
  • being pure
  • love
  • ritual
  • order

None of these things… really truly not one of these things is the most important thing to God.  The most important thing to God is us.  Just us.

And the most difficult thing about that is that as soon as we learn it, God wants us to participate in telling, showing, living that into the lives of others.

The last distressing and revealing thing we discover is that the most important thing to God is not ME… it’s us.  And it is us being with him.  It’s when God is included in us being us.  That’s the most important thing to God.  All of us being us with him.

God’s love is perfected in us… 1 John 4:12


Putting the Pieces Together

Let’s say then that sin isn’t breaking rules. And that’s important enough to repeat. Sin is NOT breaking rules. rules2Sin is creating a dead spot in our soul by breaking a relationship with someone who loves us. It is choosing to create separation. That separation is from what is life-giving. Life-giving sensations, feelings, sensitivities are all part of our whole natures – our souls and when we choose against that we deaden some part so that it doesn’t respond as it should. When it doesn’t respond, we don’t act in the way we like to act. We create false experiences of relating with other people that separate us from them and in some cases causes them to choose separation from us and others as well.

The Bible tells us that first human beings did this. They chose to deaden their relationship with God. And so, instead of being life-giving to the world and to oSo,ther people, they began to regularly, intimately and intricately create separation and deadening experiences in others. We passed it on, like an infection. And we see it happen that way every day, in subtly gentle ways and in massively horrific ways. In can be passed along, like a cold, in common interaction, like an advertisement that takes a heart-felt truth and turns it into a sales promotion, by whining ourselves into isolation and even by selling other humans.

One of the things that teaches us that sin is not breaking rules is that Jesus is not made sinful by being with us, touching us or associating with us. What became known as “holy” was seen as clean and pure. We were told that God was distant from us… clean and pure, unable to abide the touch of sin. A friend once described this as similar to a ink line on a silk shirt, as when some doesn’t realize the pen is still open and puts in into the pocket, marking a short line across the material.penshirt It is ruined. There’s no getting the ink out of the silk. In this same way, my friend said, God can’t allow sin to touch him.

The problem with that is Jesus, who came and lived with us. Jesus touched people who were sinful, who were told they were out of the reach of God and who, it was claimed, could “infect” someone else with their sin. But that’s all “breaking the rules” sin, the Law. Jesus came and reinterpreted the Law and taught us that we had no idea what it meant. Some people who read Jesus’ reinterpretation, in the Sermon on the Mount, will tell you he makes righteousness beyond the reach of everyone by what he says. But what Jesus was telling us was that we got the point of the Law wrong. The Law wasn’t a set of rules that we had to avoid breaking. The Law is God saying, “Don’t do this because it will hurt you, it will deaden a part of you. Do this instead because it will bring you life.”

So, Jesus didn’t die to make us pure and holy. He died by receiving the consequences of all the death created by human beings throughout history. All the death we create within our souls and within the souls of others, Jesus received so that a way could be made for us to re-grow the dead parts into life-giving, healthy parts.

What Jesus brought us was the means of finding life, of living with each other and growing into wholeness in our souls.

More to come…


Consider the Lilies…

What’s your image of abundance? abundance 1What comes to mind when you think of abundant life? For some people it is money and we’re told on a regular basis that money satisfies all needs… but is money life? abundance 2Is it really the thing that makes the “world go around?”

I think it is interesting to think through “abundance” from the point of view of “enough.” Take “enough” as an image to hold in your mind for a little bit. What would enough feel like to you? If you had enough clothes to get through a year of weather changes – something light to wear in the summer, something warm to wear in the winter, something that made you feel cool to wear… whatever… what if you had enough so that you were covered, comfortable and capable of moving through the days. And suppose you had enough food. You have a choice of vegetables, main dishes, special sides, desserts with which to have little simple celebrations of days or a week, but you were fed. And add on enough space in which to live – clean, dry, warm, cool, safe. And then there are people to know – friends, relations, new and interesting people who have ideas or frank advice. And suppose you also had work – a job that assisted people to get through life, to get things clear up, or in place or just feeling better about themselves – and by your work you fed others, cheered up others, made others feel significant.

What if your food, your clothes, your habitat, your relationships and your labor were filling up your days in a reasonable, steady manner? What if your life had enough? Would that be a picture of abundance? Is “enough” the same as “abundance?”

I was watching a report on wealth and a woman was presented who had somehow – by selling a company or creating an idea someone bought – made $23million. She was wealthy she said. That’s how she described herself until someone asked, “Well, do you own your own plane?” She checked into it and discovered that even with $23 million she still wasn’t really in a position to own her own plane. And she said she was “suddenly impoverished.” She didn’t have enough in life… even with $23million.

What’s your picture of “abundance?” What do you see in your mind’s eye? I’m going to spend the rest of this week taking pictures of abundance, just things that capture my attention and make me think of life being abundant. We’re looking at abundant Life at First Presbyterian in Lancaster, PA. If you’re around and want to bring your pictures of abundance, do that. Bring pictures of abundance with you on Sunday or send them to me here and I’ll see what I can do to get them printed out.

For me this is just an exercise in crediting marvels, in observing what I’m seeing. I want to take some time to see how much of enough it takes to make abundant? How much enough is there in abundant? I’m hoping I’ll see and understand abundant better.