Rebellion or Restoration?
One of the greatest challenges of the spiritual life is to receive God’s forgiveness. There is something in us humans that keeps us clinging to our sins and prevents us from letting God erase our past and offer us a completely new beginning. Sometimes it even seems as though I want to prove to God that my darkness is too great to overcome. While God wants to restore me to the full dignity of sonship, I keep insisting that I will settle for being a hired servant. But do I truly want to be restored to the full responsibility of the son? Do I truly want to be so totally forgiven that a completely new way of living becomes possible? Do I trust myself and such a radical reclamation? Do I want to break away from deep-rooted rebellion against God and surrender myself so absolutely to God’s love that a new person can emerge? Receiving forgiveness requires a total willingness to let God be God and do all the healing, restoring, and renewing. As long as I want to do even a part of that myself, I end up with partial solutions, such as becoming a hired servant. As a hired servant, I can still keep my distance, still revolt, reject, strike, run away, or complain about my pay. As the beloved son, I have to claim my full dignity and begin preparing myself to become the father.
– Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal
From Psalm 51
“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me….”
What Easter, or as some of you call it “Resurrection Sunday,” means is Christ’s death for our sins…. He did that. Now it’s our turn to forgive ourselves as he forgives us to this day and always.
I hope we all let the ‘magic’ of Easter work in us.
“Here is the God I want to believe in: a Father who, from the beginning of creation, has stretched out his arms in merciful blessing, never forcing himself on anyone, but always waiting; never letting his arms drop down in despair, but always hoping that his children will return so that he can speak words of love to them and let his tired arms rest on their shoulders. His only desire is to bless.” Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal
Let’s be new, better people who feel better because we’ve finally truly let God’s forgiveness sink into our hearts and minds and which gives Him an easier temple through which to do His work. A prayer works wonders….
He came to us. We must come back to Him. And, of course…..enjoy the ham, watching children find eggs, and eating candy, too…. Have a VERY….