October 31: Transformation of Desire
‘Therefore I urge you, brothers, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ (Rom. 12: 1, 2)
Our wounds and lusts must pass through the fire of the Cross. Holy love purges every disciple. And every part of us is impacted by the fire. He who withholds no good thing from us asks that we yield up everything to the flames so that what is false might be exposed and burned up. What remains is the truth: the golden, imperishable truth of the self that lives only in grateful dependence upon Jesus.
The purging that prepares us for deeper, more authentic communion with our Bridegroom can only be described as a wound of love. It is born of love and intended to anchor us more securely in love alone.
Here we can and must draw from two vital traditions. Evangelicals are utterly clear in the Cross as the way to salvation—God’s costly yet free gift in the God who shed His blood to reclaim our lives. Catholics tend to emphasize the sanctifying work of the Cross as we imitate Christ in following Him through the sufferings of this life. The fire of divine love insists on both: we enter in through the fire of Another’s obedience and we are changed as we surrender to those flames. We enter through the Cross and we become like Him as we accept the little crosses that wound us and invite us to lean on our Beloved.
Through the fire we are changed. Conversion is a lifetime process of cleansing and being conformed to Himself. I experience this in two ways. My love for others has changed as I become aware of many motives that draw me toward some and distance me from others. Jesus purifies me constantly in love of neighbor so that my offering to persons I serve might be purely good.
That is especially true of love for persons to whom I am sexually attracted. I must ask myself: am I willing to sacrifice what pleases me in order to give another what (s)he needs? My King teaches me to be self-aware and yet impartial, motivated by the other’s good (including my wife’s!) I shall carry that good cross all my days, for love’s sake.
Secondly, I ask Jesus for His heart constantly for His Church, His Bride. It is all too easy to mutter against her or simply to detach from her due to myriad disappointments. I ask Jesus constantly for His desire for her to become mine, which requires that He purge me of cool love. Through a painting, He gave me a vision of a beautiful bride in white, who had stumbled then tumbled into a stream.
She looked startled as she sat with a torn and muddied dress in a couple feet of water. Broken by the fall, she was nevertheless exquisite and right in the middle of where she needed to be—the cleansing flow of Her Bridegroom’s love for her.
We are her; to love her is to have mercy on ourselves. In this long engagement, in between betrothal and consummation with our King, we do well to welcome His cleansing and extend it quickly to His members on either side of us in the stream.
Please join us as we pray for:
1. Georgia, Bev Gammalo – Coordinator: For strength and vision for Bev, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
2. Aguas Vivas: Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Miguel & Elisabeth – Coordinators: Direction for timing and team for future groups as they finish second ContraCorriente pilot with church leaders.
3. RHN: CPR Outreach, Sheila Wisler, acting director: search for a new director and whether to attend Living Waters training.
“Courage for Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”