Sunday, February 11, 2018

Precious in my sight

Joyce Sasse
Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings - “Don’t be afraid” was the song of the Angels, according to the Biblical Story, sung at the time of Christ’s birth … a time when the Great God Almighty was seen to identify most closely with humankind.

At the beginning of Lent we remind ourselves of this basic understanding, especially in the face of those who preach about mortal sin and hellfire.

Oblate Priest Ron Rolheiser writes “Fear of divine punishment and hellfire can, admittedly, be effective as a (conversion) motivator … But its wrong!” That kind of bullying not only intimidates individuals but “often leaves religious and emotional scars that can last a lifetime.” He continues. “Preaching the divine-threat dishonours the God in whom we believe.”

“Where have you been?” “What have you discovered of God?” These might be more appropriate ways for church leaders to approach both their congregants and enquirers. Instead of posing answers to questions people-of-faith aren’t asking, the better way might be to help folks explore and develop their own spiritual insights. The vitality of a living God can speak to and through any one of us.

Those with a vision of justice and peace-building, for example, are thus empowered to find ways to ensure children are not abused, women are no longer ignored, and those once labeled LGBTQ are treated as persons.

If we understand ourselves to be “precious in God’s sight”, by extension that includes the refugee and immigrant and persons of other heritages and faiths. It helps us more readily recognize the “abilities” of those we once thought to be “dis-abled”.

Where have you been? What have you discovered of God? In talking with each other about these matters we can understand more clearly the spiritual truths that direct our lives.

Be not afraid. All creation is precious in God’s sight. What a gift!

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