“If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’
then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”
Jeremiah 20, Maundy Thursday, the Reading, Morning Prayer, the Daily Office Book, Year One
I believe that there is in everyone an immortal soul, a body of consciousness which survives our human mortality. I believe it is the spark of God, the eternal life of all things and individuals, the first source of our perceptions of all that is innately good in us, which propels us to the virtues which include love, mercy, reason, beauty, the sanctity of the life and compassion, which are also personified in our hearts and minds by the image of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. I think here is where our individual personalities are conceived, in the creative tension in the relationship between our soul's known reality and the world's directed reality, all towards our individual expressions of life and its living.
Therein is the struggle, the struggle between our Christ nature and our misdirected sense of survialism, out of balance and run amok constructing so many defensive walls which we think are built to keep ourselves safe from outside threat, when in truth they serve as prison walls. The Spirit in us, God’s breath, the first gift of our creation, longs to be set free, and we instinctively know that our true joy is to be found in living out that joyous love, but we resist because the first predicate of love is to be vulnerable. We know this and it burns like a fire, in our hearts, minds, bodies and eyes. There is a time when we seek to quench that fire by focusing on some obsession; work, money, success, fame, alcohol, sex, drugs, shopping, virtually anything. There are times when for some, the obsessions run very dark towards the absolute evil denial of anything good who acknowledge only their emptiness and pain. Then they seek to convey that lone thing they acknowledge, their utter self-absorption, through acts of destruction; physical, emotional and spiritual, either to themselves or others, seeking to be the last one standing, and therefore the only reality.
Yet, the fire remains, the reality of the truth of our being. No amount of denial can quench it, and eventually, in this world or the next, we become weary of holding it in. How is the fire quenched? By the breath of God within you, the reality of who you are, who we all are. How do we deal with the defenses we've built? Let the breath of God blow them down.
“You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon her; *
indeed, the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants love her very rubble, *
and are moved to pity even for her dust.”
This portion of this morning’s Psalm 102 is for me the real promise of God, to all who surrender their defenses, laid low to rubble and dust, when we accept that today, every day, is the day appointed to receive God’s compassion and mercy! For me this is the practice of living out the soul within, the great gift of who we are in the friction of our daily living. Every day we, out of God’s compassion, can look upon the ruin of what we were, and love the very cause of our ruin, ourselves who built the fortress in the first place, who saw the weight of vanity collapse it upon itself, into rubble and dust. Through God’s compassion we can love our desolation; we can again love ourselves, heart and soul. We can again complete the circuit in God’s love and again begin living the joyful life of vulnerability, for better and for worse, all healing in our shared love with God.