June 5, 2011
Transformation-Light to the Nations
Accepting the call of God to be transformed and carry the light of God into the world, however, is not something you do in your own strength. Too often we (and I speak for myself here) think that it’s all up to us to be “extraordinary: extra thoughtful, extra friendly, extra involved…you burn your candle at both ends…You begin to wonder whether it is God you are serving or only your own ego.” (Taylor)
Taylor points to Isaiah 49 as our reference when we feel burned out.
And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God has become my strength—he says, ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’"(Isaiah 49:1-9)
Early in Edward Hay’s book, the dragon gives George “a hermitage mirror.” The Dragon says, “Look into it and be alone; be quiet and you will see the shadow side of yourself which is usually invisible. You will see that what you consciously deny is there.” At the end of the book, George is ready to leave his family to go with Igor, the dragon, on the ultimate quest. Before they leave, Igor again hands the mirror to George.
Igor smiled as he watched and said, ‘Turn it over, George, and look in the other side.’ Slowly I turned the mirror. There on the other side was the brilliance of ten thousand sunrises-the image blinded me with its intense beauty. And out of the center of the explosion of sunburst, a golden chalice appeared-the Holy Grail!
My whole being was saturated with light, and my heart throbbed like thunder as I felt my body expanding beyond the furthest reaches of the cosmos. ‘Yes, George,’ said a voice that came from everywhere. “Thou art that.” You, George are the Holy Grail!’”
If we are as Hays implies, the Holy Grail-the container that holds the Holy, then the world is indeed upside down. Taylor says, “God’s ‘yes’ depends on our own…God’s birth requires human partners-a Mary, a Joseph, a you, and a me-willing to believe the impossible, willing to claim the scandal…accepting the whole sticky mess and rocking it in our arms…surveying a world that seems to have run amuck and proclaiming over and over again to anyone who will hear that God is still with us, that God is still being born in the mess and through it, within and among those who will still believe what angels tell them…”
Taylor states, “it is too light a thing, you servants of God, that you should spend your strength doing your duty when what you have been called to do is to ignite, enflame, combust, burn, shine with the glory of the God who has chosen you, and given you to the world, bright lights to the end of the earth.”
Are we spending too much time doing what we think is our duty and not enough time being the Holy Grail that George saw in that hermitage mirror? Is your light under a bushel or on the lampstand to light the room around you?
*quotes from Gospel Medicine by Barbara Brown Taylor and St. George and the Dragon and the Quest for the Holy Grail by Edward Hays.