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Love and Identity – A Reflection

July 2, 2020
A Rocky Mountain Sunset

As I reflect on this particular sunset in the Rockies and our five years of ministry here in Estes Park, I keep coming back to identity. One of the central challenges to the church (not just the congregation I am serving, but the larger church universal) is our identity. Some churches identify themselves by their buildings. Others identify themselves by specific programs. Others pride themselves by their past.

Just what is it that makes the church unique? Is it doctrine? No. Is it a particular style of worship? No. Is it their facility or program? No. What makes the church and individual congregations unique is their witness to the love, peace, mercy, and justice of God. How does the church relate not just to the power brokers, but to the folks who have no power? Jesus spent a lot of time teaching and preaching about the importance of the ministry to the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the oppressed. Jesus was teaching the reality of the Law and the Prophets in a radical way that threatened the organized religion of his day. His message has continued to challenge organized Christianity down through the ages.

The key to following Jesus is putting ego aside. The key is to look at the world and our mission through the eyes of the ones whom Jesus reached out to. He reached out beyond the safe space of the Temple and Synagogue. He reached out to the very ones whom the religious establishment poo-poo’d. These words of Thomas Merton speak to this concern today. He spoke in the 1960’s as a prophet and he still speaks as a prophet sixty years later. For that I am thankful! Hear these words of his and may they speak to us today.

Love is the revelation of our deepest personal meaning, value, and identity. But this revelation remains impossible as long as we are the prisoner of our own egoism. I cannot find myself in myself, but only in another. My true meaning and worth are shown to me not in my estimate of myself, but in the eyes of the one who loves me; and that one must love me as I am, with my faults and limitations, revealing to me the truth that these faults and limitations cannot destroy my worth in their eyes; and that I am therefore valuable as a person, in spite of my shortcomings, in spite of the imperfections of my exterior “package. (Love and Living, p. 34-35)

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  1. Reblogged this on Anniegoose's Blog and commented:

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