Friday, November 6, 2009

What then are we to say about these things?

"The Great Leveling" is a scene, and probably the only one (although don't quote me on it) in the 2003 movie Luther, played by Ralph Fiennes, which portrays the violence of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. I was supposed to show this movie scene wed; remember I am introducing the Ignatius Spiritual Exercises to Wednesday Bible Study ladies at my church. Anyway, this scene was going to set the stage for my lecture but I didn't use it. Instead I shared my Parsi story to reveal how all too easily we can get caught up in what is truth, knowledge, correct practice, doctrines and reject others' and sometimes even our own lived experiences. In doing so we may be getting distracted from God's love, purpose and will for us. Here's the story: One of my childhood friends was a Parsi but whenever I mention the word in America I often get corrected: I am told there is no such thing as a Parsi (people), there's only Farsi (language) :) In the same way, we can all too easily reject God's love for us or fail to discern what he's asking of us in our life, even when we are faithful followers for Christ. We're such fallen creatures with so many hang-ups that feeling beloved by God is yes, first and foremost definitely by grace only. But a response to God''s love and a desire to grow in holiness and become perfect for Him, by doing the good work that is to be our way of life is a matter of choice too that involves our free human will, and trust, and faith. This is one of the things that the Apostle Paul tries to explain in both Romans 8: 28-39 as he waxes lyrical about God's love and in Ephesians 2: 1-10 when he talks about the incredible gift of God we hold right now: "For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life." In these passages, Paul is not only proclaiming individual salvation through grace, he's also describing God's task of saving fallen creation through the redeeming and good work of Jesus Christ.  Morever, the 7 questions that follow his What then are we to say about these things? should encourage us to make Christ formation our topmost priority. We must pray for the grace to want and have the mind of Christ, a key thing that Ignatian spirituality helps us to discern.

Scripture for Lectio: Ephesians 2: 4-10  (NRSV)
Scripture for Lecture: Romans 8: 28-39 and Ephesians 2: 1-10
Lecture Title: "What Then Are We To Say About These Things?"
Handout: Please see Jean for an important replacement of one of the handouts, the Ignatian Principle & Foundation.

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