Last week: the living God dwells within. This week: the whole cosmos, and today the whole church, exists within each of us.
Smith insists these are the *foundations* of the Christian life. Yet most of us have not been trained to think in this way. We have been taught to think of ourselves as independent pieces of a whole. We have been trained that our responsibility is to *mimic* Jesus, rather than to allow His Spirit to enact within us what we cannot do for ourselves.
But indeed, here is the basis of the entire Christian life: not what we do but what God has done for us and IS doing within, among, and through us.
Do you believe that?
Do you experience that?
How do you live it?
If all of your own spiritual virtue comes from a Protestant work ethic of willing yourself different by the moral and/or social teaching of the Gospels or a Catholic ethic of guilt, then on what basis do you comprehend how to offer compassion to another? How do you even know what compassion is until you have fallen and known what it is like to be picked up and cleaned… to hold your wounded self tenderly as you wait on the Spirit of God’s slow, steady work. I love that today Smith locates our lapses of compassion not in moral depravity or weakness but in those places within ourselves that still need healing and liberation.
Perhaps today is a good day to go back and read Luke 4:16-21. Notice how Jesus is sitting there opposite you. Notice how he letting you in on a secret: His Spirit is actually within you setting the captive free. At least, that’s what She wants.
Who. Are. The. Captives. Within. You? Really. Don’t be shy with the Spirit who is already there with each one. Acknowledge to yourself all those parts you within that you have shamed into submission rather than allow them be integrated into true abiding Shalom.
Now, holding them all in awareness (as many as you can today), slowly, intentionally, and with loving curiosity – pray the prayer that Smith offers for today.
the Rev. adwoa Wilson