Thursday, 19 May 2011

Step Nine

Gospel John 13:16-20 

After he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
no servant is greater than his master,
no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.

‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: Someone who shares my table rebels against me.

‘I tell you this now, before it happens,
so that when it does happen
you may believe that I am He.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me,
and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’

Step Nine;  Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

In the spiritual life there is much talk and thought about the idea of an Eternal Now - Paul Tillich wrote in 1963 -

The mystery is that we have a present; and even more, that we have our future also because we anticipate it in ‘the present; and that we have our past also, because we remember it in the present. In the present our future and our past are ours.

The future and the past are ours to fix as wounded forever or imagine as unable to heal.

Our other choice is to use the now, to use the present, to make amends. There is a less common definion of amend which means to enrich, as soil is enriched by digging or adding goodness.

Adding 'goodness' seems such a lovely idea. That those we love, that those who love us in spite of the hurt we have done can be enriched because they recognise that we have changed. Because we have become the people that they have seen beneath the need to control and the temptation to seek for more. And not for a moment of 'sobriety' but, hopefully for the eternity of 'Now'.

 How much more powerful the  prayer - 'just for today'.

The truth is we can only change ourselves - meaning that we can only make amends, we can only enrich without injuring others by acting in obedience, in listening to and living out what the Greater Power, what our God asks of us. So that whatever harm we have caused them can be cast into the Forever Gone, because it will not happen again. For we have been redeemed by Love.

Paul Tillich again:-

One cannot be strong without love. For love is not an irrelevant emotion; it is the blood of life, the power of reunion of the separated. Strength without love leads to separation, to judgment, to control of the weak. Love reunites what is separated; it accepts what is judged; it participates in what is weak, as God participates in our weakness and gives us strength.



claire said...

I learn so very much from your series, Word. I have a dear friend whose church is Al-Anon, and I now can see why. There is so much goodness here, in the uncovering and accepting what was done wrongly, faced, and forgiven.
There is a lot here for me to think about. Thank you.

Word in the Hand said...

Thanks Claire - steps for life I regard them as. And of course getting to number twelve is not the end.
blessings mx+