O LORD, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I
would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you
will not despise.
"Part of the liturgy for many churches includes the words 'Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.' This threefold pattern, known as the paschal mystery, describes how true transformation is found on the far side of detachment, relinquishment and letting go. Through many min-crucifixions the life of Christ is born again in us. Christ's pattern of letting go is our paradigm for life." --Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
~~What is the relationship between the "broken and contrite heart" in the above psalm and our ability (or inability) to let go, detach, and relinquish all? Maybe when one offers sacrifices and offerings to God (whether literal burnt sacrifices and offerings as in the Old Testament or our more palatable, modern notions of sacrificing something of value (e.g. prestige or security) or offering a portion of our finances), there is still a bit of control retained in the act. I will give God this particular portion of my earnings, but I choose what to do with the rest. I will sacrifice my Saturday afternoon to serve this community or family or person, but the rest of the week is mine. But God delights in a broken spirit--not because He's malicious, but because He has our transformation in mind--and real transformation is "found on the far side of detachment." Meaning, there is pain in letting go of it all and a resulting brokenness, but it is only in this brokenness that we begin to allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ who, as David Benner so aptly explains wants our deepest happiness and fulfillment. Our creator knows that our deepest meaning is not found in ourselves. It's only when we come to the end of ourselves and find Him that we realize our true identity as God's beloved and real freedom, real life and real transformation can begin. Thank you, Jesus.
Below are two quotes from earlier this week that I am posting here in order to reconsider in light of these thoughts....
Literally humming with barely restrained joy
alive with the knowledge of a greater hope and a greater purpose
that which makes all others fade away
a glorious rending of the veil to reveal something infinitely more precious
I come to the end of myself and find you there
Author: Elisabeth Komae Li
“Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.” --Richard Rohr
~~What happens when we are unwilling to trust and unable to accept God's love? What needs to happen in order for us to get to a place where we can trust and we can accept Love? What deep pains and old wounds are keeping us from letting go and experiencing our greater purpose and deepest happiness? There is a kind of death that needs to happen here, but remember that God is a God of resurrection and death never has the last word.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (MSG):
But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. . . In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!