6th Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43:
Paul in his message to the Romans calls upon us to be our Christ selves. Another way of saying it is that we are called to be our true selves, our spirit selves, our authentic selves. What does it mean for you to be your authentic self?
The language that Paul uses isn’t helpful for our time. Why? In the scripture Paul calls upon us to follow the spirit and not the flesh. Sadly, for many centuries, people have interpreted this to mean that are bodies are inherently evil and our bodies tempt us to sin, especially women’s bodies. So for centuries the church has tried to impose many rules on how we use our bodies to protect us from our animal selves. It has imposed penalties on those who break the taboos. It has used its rules around sexuality to keep women as slaves of men. This led to all sorts of unhealthy attitudes about our bodies and the relationship between men and women.
For me, the church has warped our sense of a human sexuality and turned it from something beautiful into a tool for those with power to manipulate others into doing things that will benefit their masters. It has led to us abusing our bodies and bodies of others. It has also silenced the wisdom of our bodies and that is why there so much physical, spiritual and mental dis-ease now. How comfortable are in your in your own body? Did you know that the whole of you both spirit, mind and body are sacred and divine?
Thankfully there has been present from the beginning of Christianity to today groups of people who have opposed this notion that the body is inherently evil. Even in early Christianity, the church over and over said that Jesus was both fully human and fully God. It was like saying that Jesus was both divine spirit and sanctified body. More so, it was made very clear that when Jesus was resurrected it wasn’t just his spirit. It also included his body. Also the stories of the disciple’s encounters with Jesus were bodily experiences, such as demonstrated by the story of Doubting Thomas.
There are more and more Christians, like myself, who feel called to see ourselves as both body and spirit. We cannot separate these two parts. We cannot have one without the other.
As I am learning more about the Enneagram I am discovering how close the Spirit is. The wisdom of God is never far away whether you feel it in your body, see it through your eyes and/or sense it through your mind. I believe God is present within us and around us. God is present in the people, including ourselves and in the whole of creation. It is never far away!
Too often we see ourselves as defective. But God never sees us that way. God has blessed each of us with love, patience, energy and wisdom to be a Co-Creator with God. As long as we are caught in this lie we will be stuck in hopelessness. We will try all sorts of things to fix ourselves or fix those around us. But then we discover that money won’t fix it. The latest hip book won’t fix it. The right church won’t fix it. However the only way to change the world is to change ourselves and the Good News is that we have everything we need to begin the transformation process.
Up to now many of us have gone through trials and tribulation to survive in our world. How we survived is a combination of what we learned from those around us who passed on their survival skills and our and our personality. When we are young we use whatever we come up with to survive. When we use them habitually as we get older we call these fixations.
A fixation is a behaviour we use over and over again to deal with issues in our lives where we feel frightened and/or insecure. When we use it often it becomes like a habit. For example one of my fixations is security. I have missed great opportunities in my life because I was frightened to do something or go somewhere I wasn’t familiar with. I awfulized worrying about what was unlikely going to happen. Have you ever done that?
Our goal is to become fully present in our Christ selves. To work on this is a life long journey. There is no quick fix. Each of us need to be willing to begin peeling off all the lies and fixations that block us from being our true selves. This will take a lot of courage and grace for yourself and those around you.
It is important to remember that you don’t need to try and do this alone. In fact I would recommend that you don’t try this alone as you will need people to journey with you as it won’t always be easy.
A good place to start is to honor your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. For example, we all need to be touched in respectful ways. I will never forget a nun saying to me in a group that she had sexual needs in that she needed human contact, relationship and touch. We know that if babies don’t have it they will die.
Our bodies are meant to be used for the glory of God. How are you using your body? Have you found your vocation and found ways to live it out? Are you taking care of your body with proper food and exercise? I love the image of the body being like a temple. If you would take great care of your church why wouldn’t you take great care of your body? Do this with joy and not as a penalty for your sinfulness.
I would encourage you to find a tool and/or a practise to help you to become more fully present such as painting, pottery, sports, meditation, yoga, massage and Reiki. I am finding the Enneagram to be a great tool to help me find who I truly am by discovering and releasing my addictive fixations that have held me back for much of my life. It is also helping me to discover more and more of my God given wisdom that is always present if I would just pay some attention.
The Enneagram and other spiritual/personality tools has helped me to recognize that there is great guidance that comes through the head, heart and gut energies of our bodies. For us to be healthy we need to pay attention to all three energies. Most of us get into trouble when we are fixated on wisdom from only one. This gives us a distorted perspective which leads to emotional hurt and frustration.
I invite you to begin or continue your journey of self-discovery as your great gift back to God. If each of us would embark on this journey for healing and wholeness the world would become a much better place.