Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From the Inside Out

Copyright © 2011 by Chris R. Glaser. All rights reserved.

Jesus offered the spiritual insight that content is more vital than form:

“Not what goes into a person is what defiles a person, but what comes out of a person’s heart.”

“Woe to you … Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.”

“Do not pray on street corners so your piety can be seen by others, but go into your pantry to pray in secret.”

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” 

“Your faith has made you whole.”

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Thus Jesus emphasizes a theme of his own Jewish tradition:

“Yahweh does not look on the outward appearance, Adonai looks on the heart.”

“I shall write my laws on their hearts.”

“Their hearts are far from me…” 

“Unless their hearts turn to me…”

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind…”

As the contemporary adage goes, "Spirituality is an inside job."

During a retreat I led at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, a ceramic artist explained the process of throwing a pot on a spinning wheel. You begin with a lump of clay and reach one hand to the inside as the other hand holds the clay in place. He said of the creative process, “How you shape the inside of the bowl determines the shape of the outside of the bowl.”

A week later, leading a similar retreat at Kirkridge, in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, a physical therapist explained the nature of physical healing. She said, “A wound heals from the inside out.”

Spirituality also moves from the inside out. That’s why Jesus insisted, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Said another way: “Transform yourself—your way of thinking, your way of doing—so you may welcome the commonwealth of God.”

Attending to our interior lives shapes our spirituality and heals our spiritual wounds. Praying “thy kingdom come” invites transformation of our souls and of our world.

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