Greetings to all the Saints and great blessings in the name of Jesus the Christ. As many of you know I just recently came back from my second experience at MROP and this time as an initiated male. The trip was awesome and I had the great blessing of seeing some of our men this year coming out of their rituals with the weight of fatigue on their faces but the glow of revelation in their spirits. I to experienced a revelation while participating in the closing ritual and have decided to share that with you this month.
The words of John 15 came to me as we went through the final ritual of communion with the men at John Knox ranch.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
At MROP there is much talk of learning to release the "ego"…that selfish part of our natures that often leads and directs our actions and attitudes. As the words of Christ in John came to me I began to wonder exactly what it was that Jesus was saying. I have always believed that he was just foreshadowing his own sacrifice here, but a bit of research has changed my mind and deepened my understanding of this verse. The Greek word translated as "life" is "Zoi" which means exuberance, vitality. The Aramaic/Hebrew word used here is "Hayim" which translates as "psyche" or "inner desire". These two translations brought me to a new concept.
Jesus was not talking about the act of giving up ones biological life for another…although this is a noble deed…it is not nearly so hard or so impacting as giving up one's desires…one's ego. Jesus is telling his disciples to give up that which will separate them from love. He uses the concept of being a servant…"I no longer call you servants…" Because through their trials the disciples had learned to let go of serving their inner natures…serving the ego…and had learned to be fully in love with God…and mankind.
We all seek to be "better" Christians…to deepen our spiritual journeys, but how do we do it, how do we move to the next level? No amount of learning, sitting in classes or a pew will move us there…Jesus says if we want to go deeper we have to give up our most prized possession…our life…our ego…our desires…so that we might come into union with God's will…which is for us to love one another without demand, without discrimination…fully in the grace of our Father.