Sunday, November 30, 2008

Channeling GOD

As I've written here on several occasions and in various ways, the thing
I ponder most often about our Faith is this single question:
What does GOD do, and what do I do, in my life? How is it possible,
for example, that I work hard to achieve something and then turn around
and give thanks to God for it? Sometimes it certainly does seem that God
is completely absent in our daily lives and that it is WE who
"do all the work"... Shouldn't we then thank ourselves when things
go favorably for us? Or when we sometimes "succeed" in our struggle
against sin? Or when we perform some act of Kindness toward someone else?
Aren't these, and so many other good things, a direct result of our own efforts?

Well the more I understand the Faith the more I come to realize that this
precise juxtaposition of God's movements and my movements is the absolute
"ground zero" of the Faith: We Christians believe that the very Holy Spirit
of God comes to LIVE inside us - inside our very being - when we turn to Christ
and renounce the Old Life; we believe that the person I call "me" is actually
now TWO identities, and that the Christ-life (the second Identity) intends
to make us New Persons from the inside out...

There was a movie in 1990 named "Ghost", in which Patrick Swayze's character
is murdered and later uses the body of a small-time "medium" (played by
Whoopi Goldberg) to communicate with his still-living girlfriend... Now of course
the whole subject of "mediums" and "channeling" and so forth isn't something
Christians subscribe to, but these scenes in the movie can be seen as perhaps
a kind of illustration of the Christian idea that WE -- you and me, human beings
right now, right here, today -- ARE, literally, the Body of Christ in the world today.

This is not merely a philosophical idea, or an interesting theological musing;
Christ has come to live IN us, to establish His kingdom through us, to
the glory and praise of God. Everywhere we go, God goes with us, not only
above and beside us but also IN us; everything we do, everything we look at,
every thought we have, happens in the company of TWO persons...

God's method is an inside-out Transformation, a Metamorphosis,
in which He works relentlessly to accomplish two things: Personal change
in us, and outward expressions of Love and Grace and Mercy to as many people
around us as possible through us. Indeed, the "me" that God intends to produce
is a person that is not only in complete harmony with His Will, but also one who
can be USED by Him to do the very work He would be doing if He were,
as He once was, encased in a body of flesh and bone.

This is where virtually every other World View and Religion gets it all wrong:
Most of the Religions of the world -- and certainly New Age thinking -- focus
on working toward the "best You" you can be, and the Eastern religions center
on a "you" that achieves its OWN "peace", "nirvana", "balance", etc. But these
all miss the point: What good is my own "peace" when the end result still
leaves me at odds with a Just God? How can we settle for a "nirvana" that falls
far, far, short of the Glory that God intends for us? You don't create a
champion by setting up mediocrity as the goal, and the Saint isn't made so
that he or she can commune privately with God.

God wants to CHANGE us and also to USE us -- to "channel" Himself through us,
so to speak -- to accomplish His ends. The musician practices long hours so that
not only can he enjoy fine music himself, but also that the orchestra as a whole
can play fine music.

And as we "practice" our Faith, being changed by God in the process, we are
becoming fit to be used by Him -- literally and physically -- to DO His work.
When you eat a typical candy cane, which part are you eating, the red stripe or
the white one?

Who knows? Does it matter? It's the sweetness of the whole that we enjoy.

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