True – Ulterior Motives
Often, I have wrestled how to communicate that in living a life of mission; a life centered in the Kingdom – compelled and consumed by the very things the Christ is consumed with, having the same character, values, passions, convictions; a life where it is normative that a Christian loves the world – and through that and that alone comes the opportunity to see transformation take place. Through that comes a real earned right to answer questions, offer counsel in the context of a safe relationship, and speak hope.
I’ve not done it well. I’ve not been able to share it so that if a saint or some one who does not hold the same hope as me were to read it, I would be true, but kind, safe and not making them a project. The saints at Northumbria Community in Northern England have done so much better than I.
Read yesterday’s Finan Reading for August 28th;
“Do not have ulterior motives. We must be prepared to love someone as they are, not in the hope that eventually they will become a Christian. Obviously if we love them we want the best for them, and so desire that they have a relationship with God themselves; but if we could not go on loving them just the same, even if they never ‘came through’, our love is conditional, and inadequate. Suppose we help our neighbor with his garden ‘because it’s a good witness’. That is not really good enough. We should do it because we want to, because we care, and that is the practical way of caring (then it is a good witness). The neighbor is surprised, and questions in himself why you aere doing this. If it is because you want to, that may impress him. But if the next day you invite him to church, he concludes that the farden was an excuse to get under his defences and make it difficult for him to say no when you invited him to church, since he then feels under an obligation to you. His initial delight that you should be so unselfish turns instead to distaste. What a disappointment – he thought just for a while that you might care about him or be wishing to be friendly. Obviously he was wrong.”
Ouch! These dear sisters and brothers in this ancient Celtic monastery engage the people around them and even globally. They get what I’ve been trying to say and they even speak with that satirical sharpness that I’d often do, but not leave the pleasant after-taste.
One thought as I read this yet again: If we love them to “get under their defenses” and yet when they do not respond, or respond quickly enough for us, do/did we ever love them? For the Christ loves them in their present state and continues to do so unconditionally… for He so loved the world…
May we love in real world pragmatic ways. I testify that this selflessness is powerful and works to actually create the thin space between this world and the spiritual. They taste and see, they smell the fragrance and they come to long to know the power behind such love. This was the force of St. Patrick. This is the spiritual power for today.