Sunday Lenten Conversations: Six
Gallen-Kallela, Akseli, 1865-1931. Hand of Christ / The Palm of Peace
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.
Excerpts from The Final Unmasking, Unspoken Sermons III by George MacDonald
(Questions for conversation added)
Introduction: Respond to “That we are in the dark about anything is never because he hides it, but because we are not yet such that he is able to reveal that thing to us.”
Will you welcome any discovery, even if it work for the excuse of others, that will make you more true, by revealing what in you was false? Are you willing to be made glad that you were wrong when you thought others were wrong?
God will be fair to you—so fair!---fair with the fairness of a father loving his own--who will have you clean, who will neither spare you any needful shame, nor leave you exposed to any that is not needful. The thing we have risen above, is dead and forgotten, or if remembered, there is God to comfort us.
Question: What do we fear to have exposed in us? How might we gain freedom from fear?
Who has not known the insolence of their meanness toward the poor, all the time counting themselves of the very elect! What riches and fancied religion, with the self-sufficiency they generate between them, can make man or woman capable of, is appalling. Mammon, the most contemptible of deities, is the most worshipped, both outside and in the house of God: to many of the religious rich in that day, the great damning revelation will be their behaviour to the poor to whom they thought themselves very kind.
For the moment that the sole adequate punishment, a vision of himself, begins to take true effect upon the sinner, that moment the sinner has begun to grow a righteous man, and the brother human whom he has offended has no choice, has nothing left him but to take the offender to his bosom--the more tenderly that his brother is a repentant brother, that he was dead and is alive again, that he was lost and is found.
Question: Dorothy Day said: “I really only love God as much as the person I love the least.” Think about who you find difficult to love, and how you might learn to love them.
Let us remember, however, that not evil only will be unveiled; that many a masking misconception will uncover a face radiant with the loveliness of the truth. And whatever disappointments may fall, there is consolation for every true heart in the one sufficing joy--that it stands on the border of the kingdom, about to enter into ever fuller, ever-growing possession of the inheritance of the saints in light.