Yeshua says: Happy are you when they hate you
and persecute you.
But there is a place they will never find
where you cannot be persecuted.

(Matthew 5:10-12)

I do not know if I have ever really had the experience of being “hated” or “persecuted”.
I understand this has happened to people down through the centuries. Certainly, it happened to the earliest Christians who were of course all converts to this faith and for whom conversion often meant being cut off from their families and ostracized by their community. It was a costly business.

Identifying as a Christian does not cost me as it cost those who first professed Christian faith. But, I do want to find that “place” in myself which those who are persecutors “will never find”.

I want to find that place “where you cannot be persecuted.” I know I have touched this place at times. I know I have experienced that place within myself that does not live at the whim of every external force to which I am subjected.

The journey of the spiritual life is a journey to find within myself that state in which I am free of the constant tension of living at the beck and call of the latest incident, word, or person to come crashing into my life. I know that it is possible to live with what the early Christian desert mystics called apatheia, dispassion or equilibrium.

This is not about not caring; it is not about being indifferent to the pain and anguish of the world around me. It is certainly not about failing to experience deeply the realities of life as they are. It is about not being constantly taken by all those external forces I have in the past allowed to control my inner state.  It is about finding that steady strong place from which I am able to live my life with true freedom.

It is the place Paul identified when he announced,

It is for freedom Christ has set us free.

And it is here that I am able to

Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

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Today I will watch for those places in my life where I get hooked and will trust that there is a deeper reality that does not need to be taken by all that I experience.

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