Friday, April 3, 2009

Christian Spirituality IV: whoever lives in love, lives in God

Christian spirituaity is about what God is doing in us and through us.
In the Old Testament, the atoning sacrifice was made so that God could continue dwelling in the tent of the tabernacle, even though the people sinned.
In Jesus Christ, the goal is that God may dwell in us, and we in God. “He became human so that we may become divine” says Athanasius. John repeats this idea over and over. v2 When we acknowledge Christ, God lives in us, and we in him. v13 He has given us of his Spirit, so God lives in us and we in him. This mutual indwelling, what does it sound like? By his love, God includes us in his divine life. We don't need to strive for union with the divine, God simply gives it to christians freely. It’s as though God has pulled up another chair at the meal. God has made a space in himself for us, so that we can join in the dance. Through his Son and Spirit, God gives us a part to sing in the love that he is. And the key indicator that we have the Spirit, that we are born of God, that we know God, is that we love like he does. “Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in her”v16
This is what christian spirituality is. Loving like God loves. Beloved, let us love v7. We love because he first loved us . Giving ourselves for the good of others. Getting out into the nitty-gritty, difficult world, that sometimes won’t like us, and loving. When we love the person in front of us, whoever it is, this is a spiritual activity. This has massive implications for what Christians consider spiritual. Luther The great Reformer got this better than anyone else. If loving our neighbor is our spiritual activity before God, then the whole of life is our spirituality. If you are a teacher, and you work to educate your students, to enrich their lives because you love them, this is a sacred activity. If you are a plumber, and you fix people’s toilets because, let’s face it, life is better with toilets than without, this is part of your spirituality. If you are a pensioner, and you put up with the noisy kids next door, because you love them and want them to have fun, that is part of God working in and through you.
This is particularly true when we come to church.

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