Friday, March 31, 2017

Lent Day 31 - Secret

I haven't let the thoughts of others get to me for a while. A few years ago a situation arose unexpectedly, throwing me for a loop. I had been put in a leadership role, inviting others to help successfully execute the task. At first, everyone was on board and wanted to help. Soon it became apparent one person realized she wasn't in control of the event. And so it began. Negativity came first. Then subtle threats of disruption and secretly making comments behind my back to the other players in the group (who happened to be my good friends). Quite frankly, I wasn't surprised. My gut when first inviting this person to join the team was outright hesitancy. But, she knew the ropes in this area and I thought I could make it would work. The moment I realized her cooperation going south, I took myself out of the communication role with her as I continued to lead the team. I can't say I wasn't angry or disappointed. But Jay quickly reminded me (after I warned him I was going to react as a human first, then calmer to react as a lay apostle!) exactly Who was in control of this project. We so quickly forget Christ is ever present with us and responsible for outcomes we may not have anticipated. The project ended up being canceled, which was a blessing in disguise. His timing, not mine.

The Gospel today (John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30) shows us the faith Jesus had in God, not fearing the thoughts of others:

Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, "Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from." So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, "You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me." So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.

The beauty of the quote below from Anne in her book Staying in Place is . . . there is no secret we can keep from God, and our motives must be fixed on Him:

"Jesus also showed me Himself as He travelled to the place of His death. I saw the condemnation, the irrational and seemingly unlimited hatred. (Hatred is always limited in power because it can only end in destruction and death. Whereas love is unlimited in power because it sparks continual life, growth and transformation.) Jesus showed me this in order to help me navigate something in my own life but I saw that He had the power, through the Father, to stop the whole thing. He could have easily showed all of His tormentors the truth about themselves. With words full of power and truth, He could have shown He was God by revealing to them each one secret truth that only God could know. There were ways He could have avoided the Crucifixion. But He overcame that part of His nature. He quashed it. He remained fixed in His humanity, driven by a Spirit which colluded only with the Father. The Trinity had been given complete dominion in the Lord’s humanity so He was like a person with blinders on. In a sense He allowed the hatred, abuse and viciousness to drive Him further and further into love and the Father’s will. He KNEW the Father’s love and there was no choice for Him to make of desisting from the path. Therefore, He cast Himself into the role of the Crucified One with no out. He allowed Himself no opting out of the experience. The fullness of the suffering was taken with exactitude. Had he lived through it in His humanity, would He later have asked Himself, “Why did I allow them to do this to Me?”

No. He did it for love of His Father and His Father’s children, all of whom He considers His brothers and sisters and all of whom He considers as indispensable to the loving creation of the Father that is humanity."

Lay apostles, there are going to be times we are tempted toward anger . . . when things don't work out the way we want them to. Instead of looking at a situation with a worldly view, look with a heavenly view. Understand the driving force behind events. Things may go adrift because the outcome isn't what He would want. Most importantly, ignore the thoughts/secrets of others who condemn. He sees us and our intentions as they truly are. It really is all that matters.

Thank you, Lord, for your calming peace and understanding when things become difficult. I couldn't do it without You!

God bless,

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