Spiritual Cramp

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

“John and his message were authorized by Isaiah’s prophecy:

'Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!” (Matthew 3:3 The Message)

Thomas Merton suggests that part of the difficulty in crawling out on a limb is that we’re afflicted with what he calls a “spiritual cramp.” He writes, “The things we really need come to us only as gifts, and in order to receive them as gifts we have to be open. In order to be open, we have to renounce ourselves; in a sense we have to die to our image of ourselves, our anatomy, our fixation upon our self-willed identity. We have to be able to relax the psychic and spiritual cramp which knots us in the painful, vulnerable, helpless ‘I’ that is all we know as our selves.

“The chronic inability to relax this cramp begets despair. In the end, as we realize more and more that we are knotted upon nothing, that the cramp is a meaningless, senseless, pointless affirmation of nonentity, and that we must nevertheless continue to affirm our nothingness over against everything else—our frustration becomes absolute. We become incapable of existing except as ‘no’ to everything serves as our pitiful ‘yes’ to ourselves—a makeshift identity which is nothing.” (-“Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander” New York: New York: Image Books, 1968, page 224)

John the Baptist calls out to each of us to identify our “spiritual cramp” and to accept the grace, mercy and love of the Christ Child anew.  Giving birth to the baby Jesus once more in our hearts.

For further reflection see Isaiah 11:1-10 and Matthew 3:1-12.

Prayers: For Maureen, Zachary, Nicholas and all who mourn the death of Terry Herzog.  God’s Grace Community Church (GGCC) as we face fiscal challenges with the hope of Advent this December. The sick. Climate change and all who are recovering from the recent fires in California.

Terry Herzog’s funeral will be this Friday, December 7th at Discover Community Church. One of the hymns will be “Just a Closer Walk with Thee." Here is Johnny Cash's version of that beloved hymn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxNIel9otsY . Let us walk together with Christ.

Still in One Peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

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