Saturday, February 11, 2006

Soul Hospitality

The supreme gift that anyone can give another is to help that person live more aware of the presence of God. You see Jesus doesn’t love some esoteric image of God in you; Jesus loves you. He loves me.

Jesus loves the real you; not what you think is the real you. Far too often we don’t even know our true self and so we get deluded into living out of a false sense of identity.

Basil Pennington says that our false self is made up of what I have, what I do and what others think of me. It is created from the false premises of possessions, occupation and perceptions.

Think of how you introduce yourself. It tells you a lot about how you want others to see you. The whole idea of ‘managing first impressions’ is an exercise in refining our false self, not in moving into deeper levels of community.

Instead of looking at how we can manage our own appearances, what if we focused more on understanding others and discovering who they really are. Moving from a self-centered identity to an other focused identity can actually help us become more authentic. It at the very least helps us get past our preoccupation with what we think others think of us.

Listen to what David Benner says: “Think of feeling safe enough with another person that without weighing words or measuring thoughts you are able to pour yourself out, trusting that the other person will keep what is worth keeping and, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” All because they’re not worried about your or their own image, and perhaps because you first gave them that very same gift of soul hospitality.

1 Peter 4:8-11
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to him forever and ever. Amen.


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