Monday, February 22, 2016

In emptiness I am filled up

"All things come from thee, O God, and of thine own have we given thee."

Kenosis. Self-emptying. It's ironic that in seminary, while in direction with Fr. Gerald, this was the constant theme. And yet, as I have progressed through my adult life, I still have not learned that core lesson: before God can fill me, I need to be emptied of self. 

The emptying is not really a throwing away but a deepening realization that I really own nothing and have genuine control over nothing. That realization applies most radically to matters of the Spirit. If I would dare to enter deeply into the Spirit's life, I must be prepared to realize that I am opening myself to the great perichoresis - that inner dance of the Trinity. My emptiness provides a ready conduit for the life of God to course through me giving, taking, receiving . . . not me but God giving, God taking, God receiving from himself, by himself, to himself but all through me. 
I become as a great electrical grid. I am not the source of power. I only provide the means for the power to get from here to there and once there to accomplish "that for which it was purposed", which is ultimately simply the life of God in God's creation. 

Does that diminish my importance? Not really. How could the power of Niagara Falls get to my light fixture to enlighten my dark room if not for "the grid"? It is not only important, it is essential. In all of its sophistication from high tension wires to delicate electronic controls -- it's the means by which power is distributed and accomplishes its purpose.

Is this not the way with God? How else is God's creative, redemptive, and sustaining power to be delivered to this creation except through me and countless others like me? We are "the grid". But it is not MY power -- I am only the means by which that power is delivered. It is through me that God works God's purpose out . . . and only if I am empty of any obstacle. Otherwise the power short circuits, is frustrated, and is set for purposes not intended. In these obstacles, I frustrate the will of God.

My grace for today: show me the obstacles I place in the way.

-- read Ephesians 3:14-21

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