Morning Prayer opens with a confession that is meant to prepare our hearts to worship God by clearing out and setting aside actions and thoughts which block us from knowing God’s presence. At the conclusion of the confession the priest or lay leader offers absolution which concludes with “… and by the power of the Holy Spirit, keep you (us) in eternal life.”
All these years and now I see the absolution affirms we already are in eternal life. Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit open eternal life to us NOW. This is not a wait and see what I might get after death situation. By following Jesus and surrendering ourselves to the way of life Jesus shows us, we participate in all that is eternal.
That is Good News!!
Jesus tells us again and again God’s Kingdom is the now and not yet, but eternal life is here all around us if we but see it and enter it. Today’s morning prayer reading from John 9 is another story of Jesus healing the blind and striving to give sight to short-sighted Pharisees, some in this case complaining the healing happened on the Sabbath. Eternal life is easy to miss when our narrow focus misses the point of Love.
Jesus offers the roadmap to eternal life and the Holy Spirit shines on one step at a time in my experience. Shifting seeing, focusing on God and loving keep me on the path.
Seeing beyond the small self: Remember worrying everyone at a large gathering notices your latest bout of acne or a stain on your clothes. How easy it is to worry about what I call our small selves and striving to have this self liked by all and fit in. Sometimes the small self lashes out at others or in violent hate seeks to make itself seem better by hurting others. Spend some time with God in silence knowing you belong and are deeply loved; you do not need to protect the small self but rather let it go. This is the call to lose our life in order to save it. Let the small self go.
Focus on the divine within and all around us: This follows from the first. It helps to look for God in nature, people and situations we encounter. Our shift in focus steers us away from small self worry and reminds us we are loved and belong.
Love with action: With a new way of seeing through the eyes of Christ and knowing we are beloved children of God as is everyone else, we are free to act with love. We can practice measuring each act by whether or not it is grounded in love. With a heart seeing with love, we can act in love and we can refrain from acting out from the scared, selfish small self. May we offer ourselves and care for one another.
When we read in scripture about believing in Jesus may we consider “belief in” means seeing with Jesus’s perspective and trusting in His Way of living is eternal life. May we receive the gift of transformation to see with Jesus’s eyes of Love and Life (eternal) rather than with the narrow eyes of Pharisees worried about healing on the Sabbath.
We are in eternal life now – that is the joy and power we find in Jesus Christ and are sustained in by the Holy Spirit.
May the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.