Friday, 16 March 2012

'No Man is an Island'

As we pursue this idea of Lent stripping us, that we are revealed for what we are in our essence, it may well be easy to say that it reveals how we are 'individuals'. Yet such an idea, that 'we are all individuals', is anathema to Christian faith, however loudly some may aver. And indeed in purely philosophical terms it must be denied, for how an we know that we are 'individuals' without comparison with the other? So even our 'Individualism' requires others.

To be an 'individual' is to be less than that which we Are in Truth.

The phrase 'the Image of God' is one of the most dangerous in Scripture - [God's Love is from the First a Risk] - for through our sinfulness we all too readily reverse it's meaning. That instead of  taking our reference for what it means to be Human from the God who makes himself known to us in Christ, humans all too readily think our 'best' ideas of what We take to be human, and project them onto 'god'. We create 'God in our Image', a broken and shattered image, 'exchanging the Glory of the immortal God, for a Lie'. 

But let us turn our gaze from this human tragedy, to the glory of Immortal God, whom our faith teaches us is Father, Son and Spirit. Three in One and One in three. 'Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence'. Thus in God's being what do we find,  not Individualism but Persons in Communion. Only within the Being of God can we begin to comprehend the Human, and here we discover that I cannot speak of 'My life', nor you of 'Your life', in any sense of possession. For the Father freely lays down His Life in sending the Son into the World, the Son who only does what he sees the Father doing, freely lays down His Life - neither saying 'My Life', rather saying 'My Life is in effect 'Yours', Given to you. And this Self Giving is given full expression in, to, and through us in the Spirit - 'God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us' 

It is in this laying down our lives that we discover that Life is not so much In us as Between us.

Lent, if we will let it is given that we might learn Not to call our life our own, and so like the manna kept overnight, discover it is turned to maggots, but rather through the disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving relinquish our hold on the life given to us that it might in truth become Life - called into communion and community, into Lives shared, for it is only in the sharing that Life comes into Being, in the space Between.

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