Thursday, November 08, 2007

The complexity of spiritual health

I was thinking today how very complicated it is to live a spiritually healthy life. Certainly a spiritually healthy person’s center can be quickly articulated: someone who loves the Lord God with all heart and mind and strength and soul, and one who loves his or her neighbor as the self. That’s health all right. But how does anyone get to that point?

At our midweek Bible study yesterday, a group of us began to wrestle with some words in Luke 6 that form the core of Jesus’ ethical teachings. The ones that tell us to love our enemies and always return good when treated badly, and to stop being vengeful.

How against human nature such words are! We all want to punch out those who are hurting us or are hurting those whom we love. Jesus seems to be asking us to receive the hurts, not as passive doormats, but as those actively seeking to return good for evil.

At one point in this very powerful discussion, one person vocalized what we were all beginning to see more clearly: this path leads to the cross. It took Jesus there and we have to go there as well. Again, we must go not as passive victims, but as those actively seeking righteousness. And we must never forget: Easter Sunday ALWAYS follows Good Friday.

As we ended our study in prayer last night, we knew that Jesus had been in our midst. Love flowed around that table as a group of beat-up people facing multiple challenges again said, “I’m Yours, Lord. Thy will be done.” The kind of peace that really does pass understanding settled, however briefly, upon each of us. What a luminous moment.

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