Friday, January 14, 2011

Truth That Sets Us Free

"If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  -- John 8:31-32 (NJB)
 The Jews to whom Jesus was speaking these words misunderstood them.  They asked him when they had ever been slaves and pondered aloud why he would then say they would be free when they already were.  As is frequently done with Gospel stories, the people Jesus talks to often miss the point.  Fact is, this is a dense verse.  In its 27 words there are four places that cause rather profound questions to arise.

The first is how to make His word our home?  Other translations say if you abide in my teaching.  If you were to boil Jesus' teachings down to one summarizing phrase what would it be?  Our home in Christ has to rest in His nature as God.  God can be a scary if our conception is of the Judge who is critically watching every move we make; anxiously awaiting our mess up so as to send us away.  God is quite another matter if like Thomas Keating says, "If you trust God, you know that no matter what you have done or not done you are loved by God.  In fact, God knew you even with your bad character..." and still he died for us.  Knowing this fact brings us home.

The second question is what does He mean by disciple?  Disciple is more than a follower or hanger-on.  Disciples don't traipse around mimicking the Master.  Disciples are engaged practitioners of what the Master is teaching.  Jesus sent them out 2x2 to practice what they had seen.  Likewise, if we adopt our place in the house of the God of Love then we should practice.  I told my daughter just tonight that she can't hope to learn the flute without practice, practice, practice.  Neither can we be disciples unless we are putting what we believe to the test and risk practicing what we think we have learned.

The third question is what is truth?  I think the answer to this question then has been answered.  We live within the Realm or house of One who loves us and understands us better than we can even understand or know ourselves.  Accepting this Truth we are compelled to practice this truth and behave in all circumstances as though it IS The Truth.  Living The Truth finds us falling in line with becoming and living a whole lot of virtues that lead to a radically different world than the one we see splashed on the newspaper every morning.

Finally, the fourth question is how does the truth make us free?  The ultimate freedom is a spiritual one where the certainty of The Truth causes us to shed the care and worry about non-essential issues.  There were two Christian women martyred in 204 CE by the names of Perpetua and Felicity.  You can read their amazing story in the Christian Ethereal Library.  They represent the letting go of worldly worries that keep the majority of us tied in knots.  They were fervently devoted to The Truth and they find a peace and freedom few of us know.

So, know the Love Which Will Not Let You Go, risk practicing it in everyday life, and experience the Truth of that Love freeing you such that the worries in life slip into non-significance.  There's a simple summary that's thousands of times harder to live than to say!  Happy disciple-ing.


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