Whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
And all this is from God.
2 Corinthians 5:17
These were the words that confronted us last night in the gathering of the Authentic Freedom Contemplative Community. At first glance, these words may offend our ecumenical sensitivities. And yet, if we are able to look beyond the temptation to perceive this as just another attempt to create separation by belief and denomination, we can get a glimpse of the universality of this message. As one of last night’s participants observed, “When you receive God into your heart, you and your life are forever transformed.” I could not possibly have said it better!
Whatever we ultimately want to call it, when we allow God – love – peace – joy – contentment into our hearts, our life is forever transformed. All the old things fall away – our fears, our false perceptions, our prejudices, our resentments, our judgements. With the love of God residing in our hearts, we see with new eyes, hear with new ears and perceive the world through acceptance and love. Compassion, rather than judgment rules our lives. Even those things we formerly perceived as “evil” we now understand to simply be “unripe”, (“Bisha”, the Aramaic word usually translated as “evil” in the Christian scripture is more accurately translated to mean “unripe”.) and acknowledge the invitation for patience as that which is unripe comes into maturity.
Accepting the love of God (here represented as Christ) into our hearts is the intention and purpose of the contemplative life. Every time we come to our spiritual practice, we are saying “yes” to that invitation to allow God to reside more fully within our own beings. It is as if we are watering the seed of God that is waiting to be born within us so that we can come to our own spiritual maturity, loving, compassionate and free. How are you watering that seed today?