Into the Fire

First let me say that the loving God I believe in does not bring suffering.  Suffering is part of life and He stands with us in the suffering.  Today is, after all Good Friday.  This is my lamentation. 

In the 1990’s Fr. Richard Rohr spent several years studying initiation rituals from different times and cultures.  He distilled his learning into 5 themes or teaching and used them as a basis for a weeklong transformational retreat.  Last week he shared the themes over 5 days in his daily devotions.  These are my brief comments on his lessons:

  • Life is hard – In my sweet short life I have seen discrimination, assassinations, wars, famines, floods and genocide.  I have lost family and friends.  I don’t know why life is hard.  
    • And yet, my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28).
  • We are not that important – Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;”.  If you believe in the body of Christ, God was not talking about “a” man. God was talking about humanity, male and female.  There are 7,655,957,369 people in the world.  If we each carry the image of God, the spirit of Christ, we are just one manifestation of God out of 7,655,957,369 walking around today.  You are important to God but maybe not so much in the history of the world.
    • And yet, do you not know that your name is written in heaven? (Luke 10:20).
  • Our life is not about us – Until we can see God’s image in the other 7,655,957,369 people we share this planet with we are missing the point of life.  If we want to see God we need look into the eyes of his people.  All of them.  He loves them as much as he loves us.  His love is unconditional.
    • And yet, I live now not my own life, but the life of Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
  • We are not in control – If this pandemic has taught us anything I would say this lesson must be near the top of the list.  We never were in control and never will be in control.
    • And yet, can any of you, for all of your worrying, add a single moment to your span of life? (Luke 12:26).  
  • We are going to die - It is said that in some rights of passage the initiate was required to dig his own shallow grave and spend the night sleeping there. 
    • And yet, neither death nor life. . . can ever come between us and the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).To go deeper visit Fr. Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation for his take on these life lessons:

After 9/11 Archbishop Bruce Springsteen wrote a prophetic song titled “Into the Fire” as a tribute to the 343 firefighters who were lost rushing into the fire.  I believe the courage and dedication of those firefighters can be attributed today to our healthcare professionals as well as all those preforming essential services as they run daily into the fire.

May your strength give us strength

May your faith give us faith

May your hope give us hope

May your love bring us love

May your love bring us love

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Into the Fire (Live In Barcelona)

In Jesus name and all the holy names of God.  Amen

Mark Autterson 

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