Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who do You Say that I Am?

During Lent we will be following a local series of lections.If you are looking for the Common Lectionary References try here Revised Common Lectionary
In The Diocese of Adelaide on this 3rd Sunday in Lent, 18th March 2009, we are focussing on Mark 8:27-38

Does it really matter who or what we think Jesus is?
I have been privileged to rediscover Thomas Merton in the last few weeks, and as so often often happens with spiritual writers they speak afresh many years after first being encountered.
One of the things I hear Merton say is that we should take the search for God seriously,but that we should not become doctrinaire or dogmatic.
It is not that these things are unimportant, but that in the end it is our pursuit of God
and not our level of understanding
or depth of learning
that is the point.
This perhaps also points us to a truth about this question
that we encounter in this passage.
"Who do you say that I am?"
There are theologically and historically correct answers
but in the end what is being drawn out here
is more personal than that.
Merton says we should have "an awakened heart"
in order that we may be able to respond to God in love.

Jesus puts this differently by saying
If you recognise in me something that needs to be followed
a life that is authentic to God.
Then you don't just sit on that
You "take up your cross" and follow.

We all know Jesus
or know about him
if we are to follow then we need to act.
So how have you been going in Lent,
have you been able to listen and to act.
Is your heart a little more awake?

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"© Abbey of Gethsemani

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