Posted by: dacalu | 14 February 2009

A Christian Response

The Christian model of the world, as one made up of souls and bound by love, leads to a very important response. It leads to a Christian response. Primarily, we might call this the care of souls as the old phrase puts it. Each of us has a responsibility to look out for souls, including our own. We seek a world where those souls can be open in love to God and one another.

Call it wounds, or selfishness, or original sin–each of us has a shell that keeps us from the rest the world. It feels like insulation and protection, but by covering up portions of our souls, it prevents them from ever touching God. It prevents us from being whole. This shell can accrete slowly over the course of our lives, as we respond to small (and large) injustices. Living with other souls, our rough edges rub up against each other. We learn not to trust other people with our inmost selves and gradually we separate ourselves from all but our closest friends.

I cannot say whether we are born with shells (original sin) or if we only acquire them with time, but I know that much of our society encourages us to thicken and harden them. Secrets and shyness must be learned. Perhaps we start life wanting things primarily for ourselves, but I think the desire to take things from others comes later. Ask yourself how many people you trust. There is a naivete to trust, but few things can be as rewarding as trust for strangers that turns out well; the Good Samaritan, the companion on the road, the secret benefactor.

Blindly trusting all we meet would not be an easy way to live life, nor even a wise one, and yet being worthy of trust by all we meet would be a worthwhile goal. If enough of us did that, then the world would be a better place and trust would be a little easier all the way around.
Rewarded trust turns out to be the kind of thing that thins our shelves. By learning to trust others, we slowly open our hearts to them and show more of the true self created by God.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’”

In recent days I have come to view this saying as core for my life–as a definition of my responsibility as a Christian. Each of us sits at the bottom of a well, surrounded by our shells and fearing to trust both God and other people. We have the ability to fish for people, to draw them out of themselves and into community. We have the ability to lure souls out of hiding and make people see themselves as more than body or mind. More than trusting, and more than being worthy of trust, I aspire to actively bring forth the image of God in everyone I meet–to make the world a place in which they can be fully and unashamedly themselves. Not just Christians, but everyone.

“God expects but one thing of you, and that is that you should come out of yourself in so far as you are a created being made and let God be God in you.” -Meister Eckhart (a Christian mystic)


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