Saturday, August 15, 2015

Living Outside of Yourself

    One of the blessings of having children (or grandchildren) is being able to experience old things in a new way.  Things that had become ho-hum for us as adults, like going to the zoo or making a snowman, now become new and enjoyable all over again because we are experiencing them from the perspective of another person.  We get outside of ourselves and find our joy in someone else’s joy, like when we see a familiar movie with someone who hasn’t seen it before. 

    This same sort of thing is also true when we are close to someone who is dying.  Ordinary, seemingly insignificant day-to-day things become much more precious to one whose days are numbered.  And as we see that in them, we learn better to appreciate the little things that are blessings in our life. 

    This is how God would have us live, not lost inside of ourselves where things grow stale and empty, but seeing through the eyes of others, sharing not only in their joys but also their sorrows, as Paul says in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” 

    This is a good thing to keep in mind when we are praying the liturgy, particularly in those times when divine service is starting to seem boring to us.  See the liturgy through the eyes of a new Christian, to whom the mercy of Jesus toward us sinners is a wonderfully new gift.  See the hymns and prayers through the eyes of one whose body is failing them, to whom Jesus’ suffering is cherished and priceless, for whom the sure hope of the resurrection if very tangible and real.  Then we will perceive things rightly again.  God would have us live outside of ourselves, in our neighbor by love and in Christ by faith.

    For Jesus is one who lived outside of Himself.  He not only made our joy and sorrows His own, He also made our sin and death His own.  He didn’t just see things through our eyes, He lived our very life for us to redeem us from our self-focused ways.  His joy is in bringing us joy in the forgiveness of our sins.  He revels in giving Himself and His gifts to us, pouring out on us life and salvation freely.  His glory is to glorify you and raise you up in His resurrection.  He lives in you, so that you may live in Him and share in His life forever.