November 14, 2014: Freedom for the Other, Part 1
‘Jesus and His apostles reclined at table and He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you”…’ (Lk 22:14, 15)
Jesus’ ‘eager desire’ to give Himself to us liberates our freedom to give ourselves to one another. We already glimpsed how His self-giving at Calvary releases the flood and food that render us good gifts. We then must give the gift! How else will the body of Christ become whole without our gift? We must eagerly desire to offer ourselves to persons who share our passion for Jesus.
Many of us who have experienced inordinate desire for others may struggle with such an eager desire for fellowship. We are tempted to interpret our yearning for fellow saints as lustful or prideful; we fear we may infect other members with impurities. We then restrain ourselves foolishly, misperceiving our isolation as wisdom.
Does not Christ dwell in you? Is He not magnified and glorified in our seeking His face together? In my efforts to overcome same-sex attraction, I have found that I must press into fellowship amid a mixture of motives, certain that the prevailing power of Jesus in me and in the Church will render me a good life-giving gift.
My fears and illusions burn off as I offer myself in His name and for His purposes in the fellowship. I find my yearning for community is satisfied as I seek to build up the Church. In this I am merely being faithful to the Bridegroom Jesus. The Bride is better off because of me.
And I because of her. Bonhoeffer writes joyfully of ‘body’ life: ‘The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer. With great yearning, the imprisoned apostle Paul calls Timothy “his beloved son in the faith” and implores his coming in the last days of his life…The believer need not feel any shame when yearning for the physical presence of other Christians, as if one were too fleshly. A human being is created as a body; the Son of God appeared on earth in the body for our sake and was raised in the body.’
We too gather in the one Body to become bodily gifts, one-to-another. What breaks the power of illusions about the other is our renewed awareness that we are mere icons of the Savior—imperfect mediators of His love. That frees us to give and receive gifts without getting caught in the trap of idolatry. We do that when we conform others to our needs rather than releasing them to the Creator.
We are all gifts, freely washed and fed by Jesus, freely given to build up the body. That frees us to welcome what others can give and to freely give only what we can. Jesus alone frees us from playing ‘savior’ or placing someone else in the role of saving us. He frees us to be like Him—a free gift that springs forth from His saving hand. In Christ, we help others realize the gift that they in truth are.
‘Live in freedom, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil.’ (1Pt 3:16)
Please join us as we pray for:
Ohio, Crispin & Annelyse DeBellis – Coordinators: For strength and vision for Cris & Annelyse, for existing groups and to see new groups established. Blessings on partnership with their church to establish more Living Waters groups throughout Ohio.
Aguas Vivas: Cordoba, Argentina, Maria-Innes – Coordinator: For Lord’s guidance, strength and protection as they their first Aguas Vivas (LW) group.
Harrisburg Diocese: Discernment for timing and team of new Living Waters group.
“Courage for Pope Francis, that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”