Ephesians 6:12-20 — “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
A Prayer: God of worlds both seen and unseen, created and yet to be formed, give me the words to convey to my sisters and brothers in Love that their work does not go unappreciated. Guide my fingers to brings about words that strengthen their hearts that they may continue in the work of beautifying this world. Help me to give freely that which I have received freely so that they may know that while this walk of service may be solitary they are not alone. Draw us to one another so that when we are tempted to give up and conform to the crowd, we can recall that we are not the only ones who have walked this road. And when the struggleles come, help us to remain mindful that every step we take toward consciousness brings everyone we touch closer to You in some way. For as Christ taught, “They who receive you receive Me, and they who receive Me receive The One who sent Me.” In the Way of Christ I pray.
Since starting seminary, I have been thinking a lot about authority. Back in the day when I “spoke boldly” regarding my spiritual walk, I intimidated a lot of people. Very often people would say, “you made me feel this…” or “you made me feel that…” In response, I would try to subdue my expression or keep quiet about my thoughts on certain topics. For the most part, I am a “live and let live” kind of person unless someone specifically invites me into their circumstances. This is one way that I try to avoid conflict. But, I found that conflict still tried to come to me like a moth to a flame. Some people would tell me things or bring up certain subjects around me because they knew how I’d respond while at the same time not wanting to hear what I had to say. If I give in and speak, usually they challenge my authority and argue with me about why they think the way they think. By the end of the conversation, they have projected their crap onto me and then they walk away satisfied that I “just don’t get it” and they get back to business as usual.
I’m sure some–if not all–of you reading this know what I am talking about. I bet all you have at least one friend or family member who consistently makes the same ill-fated decisions and then comes to you for advice only to ignore it again and again. At times you probably feel like it is pointless. You may even feel slight pains of regret and discontent if you think about all of the energy you’ve given trying to help people who don’t seem to really value your help. Eventually you begin to question yourself. I know I have. I’ve taken people’s accusations to heart and asked myself if I really thought I was better than them. I’ve admonished myself for possibly judging them, even when I didn’t really feel like I was doing it in my heart. And, I have asked myself, “who do you think you are to even consider that what you have to say is worth listening to.” Somehow along the way, I began to apologize for and question my God given authority to call it how I see it and have in some way succumbed to the invisible wounds that come from daily living in a world that is addicted to self-satisfaction.
Everyday, there are those of us who quietly go into battle in the unseen worlds of emotions, feelings, and thoughts. We are constantly subjected to propaganda that tells us that we are insufficient and that something outside of us is going to make everything better–even if it’s for just a moment. Most people fall for this garbage, some even promote it too, and then there are those of us who question it. We are the warriors in these unseen worlds. Somehow (I vote for God’s grace), even if we can’t directly overcome the challenges of this life, we know that something is not right. We may try to fit in with the crowd sometimes, we may even contribute to the junk from time to time, but at the end of the day we feel drained by the whole experience.
We long for a world where we can just be. We look for good where no one else can see it. We try hard to forgive others when they treat us unfairly. And even if we’re not “religious” we know deep down that there is a Power beyond us and our temporary wantings that is alive and present and organizing this world for good. When we are blessed enough to see the Higher Truth we want nothing more than to rest in this knowledge forever. But, our desire to share it with others so that they may feel that same joy draws us back in and so we inevitably struggle in this world hoping that we can hold on to a piece of that Higher Reality until we are blessed to touch it again. A lot of times we end up feeling frustrated because we know that there is a better world available to us that we could be enjoying right now. But instead, we stick around and have our intentions distorted for the sake of our loved ones; often not receiving as much as a “thank you”. To this Jesus would say, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” And that’s what I want to say to you too.
Thank you for every time you chose the road less traveled. Thank you for all of the times that you struggled to turn a negative into a positive. Thank you for all of the times that you stood up for the rights of others even when you had nothing to gain by doing so. Thank you for letting judgments on you fall away. Thank you for reading writings that take you toward more conscious living. Thank you for daring to think differently than those around you instead of just accepting harmful belief patterns. Thank you for trying to give your children a better life than the one you experienced. Thank you for trying to know God for yourself. Thank you for walking away from toxic relationships. Thank you for not jumping on every new fad just to feel accepted. Thank you for letting yourself be loved. Thank you for loving first. Thank you for forgiving those who never sought forgiveness. Thank you sticking around.
Whenever you do anything toward Love you are walking in the Way of Christ and likewise are extending the good news to the world. You don’t have to be a preacher or a seminarian, you don’t even have to go church to stand in the authority Love granted to you by virtue of your very existence. Even if everyone you know and care about can’t see what you are doing, Love stands by those who stand in Love. So speak boldly in Love. Your work does not go unnoticed even though it may be unseen.