A wonderful reflection, by Barbara Livingston, can be found here. Read it before you read the following…
I would like to reflect on Barbara’s (and Bill’s) reflection.
Embrace, embrace, embrace… Immerse, immerse, immerse… Be in the present totally – immersion – crushed to (as regards) death by death and expanded to Life (animated and filled)by resurrection in Christ Jesus. With much vigilance, constancy, and focus I/we fight the inner battle against avoidance of the truth; delusional thinking, and enslavement to our passions (death-dealing tendencies that control me/us). St. Cyril says in his Catechetical Lectures that one of the fruits of baptism is continual identification (really not figuratively) with Christ Jesus in His dying.
Yes, yes, yes… But, but, but …
My/our tendency is to escape from the truth of the present, which is full union with Christ Jesus, and flee to the past or the future or reshape the present into something it isn’t.
The fruit of the discipline you mention in Hebrews21.1 is shared with us in verse 11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Finally, over time (for it does, as you remind us, in concert with all the saints TAKE TIME), the mind is purified and descends into the heart there to abide in peaceful union (intimacy) with the Savior.
The present is the ONLY place of joy. The present is the ONLY place where I/we can participate in the life of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Union with God is possible and real ONLY in the present… Why? Because, as you so aptly put it, that is where I/we are… We are NOT in the past or the future or the fantasy/illusion about our self-strength or unfulfilled dreams about what “should have been”. We are here and now. It is here and now that the fullness of God’s mercy/grace is present and available to me/us for practical/real (not theoretical) transformation.
The ruthlessly trusting embrace of The Present One (otherwise known as “I AM” [not the tense] and as God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at work) in fullness “just as I am” is the doorway into greater and deeper “intimacy” (functional union) with the Lord.
The fragrance of salvation is, therefore, the fragrance of embracing the crushing joy of the present with trust. We are myrrh in the crushing/raising hands of the Living God. Let me quote from an article by Rebecca Totilo in which she outlines the significance of myrrh and crushing:
The Hebrew word for Myrrh is Mowr which means distilled and comes from the root word Marar which means bitterness.
During the Messiah’s final agonizing hours in the Garden of Gethsemane, the weight of the world’s sins crushed our Savior like a wine press, causing Him to sweat great tears of blood. His bitter sufferings can be compared to Myrrh, a highly-prized spice used for perfumes and incense, extracted by piercing the tree’s heartwood and allowing the gum to trickle out and harden into bitter, aromatic red droplets called, “tears.” When the myrrh flows from the tree, it is distilled in bitterness.
As joint heirs with the Messiah, we are to share in His afflictions according to 2 Corinthians 1:5, so that His bride can be triumphant through the bitterness of suffering. Myrrh represents the bitter sufferings of Yeshua as a man on earth, whereby He learned obedience unto death by emptying himself of His own will (Hebrews 5:8, Philippians 2:7-8).1
Baptismo / Immersion – it is a fearful thing to fall (intentionally commend ourselves into) the hands of the living God!! But the fearful thing is the ONLY THING – the ONLY WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE – offered to us by Christ Jesus. Be crushed in the hands of God and be infused with the Life of God. His life becomes your life as you “expand” in Him and are filled by Him and live in Him and He in you.
Thanks Barbara and William…
The Lord bless us all in our dying and rising our baptismo our immersion unto life in the present to “The Present One”.