It’s all about me, Jesus,
And all this is for me,
For my glory and my fame,
It’s not about You
As if I should do things Your way…
Have you ever seen these song lyrics up on your overhead projector on a Sunday morning? Ever sung them by accident? 😉 Most of us know they say the complete opposite of the well-known worship song and make fun of its sentiments – and of those who are singing them. But maybe sometimes this attitude is not so far from the truth of how we live; do you know the saying, ‘Christians don’t lie – except when they sing’?
That’s pretty tough – where am I coming from? Perhaps at the moment I’m simply especially aware of the discipline of the Lord as He works on my character by taking away any control over circumstances I thought I had, while daily adding more things to trust Him for! I really don’t like it, but as Hebrews 12 goes on to say – just after where I finished yesterday – ‘all discipline is painful at the time’. It sure is! And the older we get the deeper our loving Father goes, touching the flaws that are rooted into who we are and all those ingrained habits we have formed over so many years, looking to change us for our good and the good of those around us – to show His own love and glory in us. That’s why Paul chronologically starts off by saying he is the ‘least of the apostles’ (1 Corinthians 15v9), later calls himself ‘less than the least of all God’s people’ (Ephesians 3v8)… but at the end of his life he is the ‘worst of sinners’ (1 Timothy 1v16). Once upon a time did I really pray (or sing!) ‘I want to be like Jesus’? Whoops – dangerous prayer!
Today I read this and at first it seemed a bit ‘new-agey’… but it has really made me think!
If we are to see as God sees, we must first become mirrors of ‘what is,’ what is right in front of us. We must become a ‘no-thing’ so that we can receive some-thing else as it is. Transformation of consciousness is this: We must be liberated from ourselves as the reference point for reality, stating our preferences moment by moment and making mental commentaries on every event—up or down. It really does not matter whether we like it or not—it just is. A spiritually transformed person stops looking at reality as an object, or even God as an object for my consumption. God becomes the co-seer with us, not the seen. Can you imagine that? We really need to be saved from the tyranny of our own judgments, opinions and feelings about everything, the ‘undisciplined squads of emotions’ that T. S. Eliot criticizes in his poetry. Our ego chooses to objectify everybody and everything else in the world—including God. God is never an object but always the one who sees with us. As Meister Eckhart put it, ‘The eyes with which we look back at God are the very same eyes with which God first looked at us.’ That rearranges everything rather nicely.
Richard Rohr, taken from Radical Grace Daily Meditations p8
What do you think? I can see why evangelicals don’t like Rohr! He is about breaking down the boxes and certainties that have kept us so safe and right; he is mixing everything up and using the ideas found in other religions not to argue with but to back up Jesus’ message – because obviously if Jesus is Master of all Creation His truth is expressed in all of it! Rohr talks freely about ‘transformation of consciousness’ and becoming a “no-thing”… which sounds dodgy!
But who really prefers the summer sun when it’s behind a cloud? Who wants to wear a veil and only see darkly, exhibiting and speaking only 40% God and 60% me? Perhaps the universe does have a clearer imprint of the Saviour on it than I do when the image seen in the mirror of my soul is covered with fingerprints. ‘We must be liberated from ourselves as the reference point for reality’ – wow. It’s the sun in it’s bright blue sky that is the reference point – as Copernicus and Galileo discovered – and ‘it really does not matter whether we like it or not—it just is‘
In the post Secret place/public face I mentioned the impression of a prison cell I recently envisaged as my hidden inner heart. I have been wondering why the shiny steel walls I saw seemed so sterile and hard – am I really that barren inside? But it has since struck me that if the Light of the World walks into that space with His face ‘shining like the sun’ there will surely be a multiplication of dazzling sunbeams, a reflection of glory from the walls! It cannot be a dark, confined hovel, but ultimately shiny – because He wants to shine in me. He want to paint me holographic yellow and gold on the inside, make the walls disappear into the distance, reflect back the image of Life ad infinitum, like a silver tardis 🙂 That is so encouraging to this battered heart: the One who breaks down walls – walks through walls (John 20v19) – is coming in to turn it all around. His is the likeness I can reflect as I put down ‘the tyranny of my own judgments, opinions and feelings about everything’ and just let Him be the Lord. He comes into a confined space and makes it bigger – opens up panoramas and pictures, changes everything from the inside out by His own supernatural presence….
‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ 2 Corinthians 3v17-18
It is not a prison after all, but – if I will let it – this cell can be an agent of transformation!