Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > The Contemplative's Way of Serving

 
 

The Contemplative Way of Serving

Christ in the Foreground

Jun 12, 2009

Saying For Today: It's difficult to be anonymous and at the same time to let your light shine forth! Yet this is an important characteristic of a contemplative. *Stephen Fitzhenry


Welcome to OneLife Ministries. This site is designed to lead you prayerfully into a heart experience of Divine Presence, Who is Love. While it focuses on Christian teaching, I pray persons of varied faiths will find inspiration here. Indeed, "God" can be whatever image helps us trust in the Sacred, by whatever means Grace touches us each. Please share this ministry with others, and I hope you return soon. There is a new offering daily. And to be placed on the daily OneLife email list, to request notifications of new writings or submit prayer requests, write to barukhattah@embarqmail.com .

Blessings,
Rev Dr Brian K Wilcox, MDiv, MFT, PhD

Pastor-Teacher, Author, Workshop Leader, Spiritual Counselor, Chaplain

Brian encourages support of the 4-Star Christian organization Compassion, which supports children worldwide; for more see www.compassion.com .

OPENING PRAYER

I am nothing
You are Everything
Make me Your Christ
Christ who makes your Church Yourself

In Love, for others,
dissolving, let there be in my mind
no thought of my,
except as my has become You.

*Brian K. Wilcox.

LISTENING TO SCRIPTURE

28 So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature individual in union with Christ. 29 To get this done I toil and struggle, using the mighty strength which Christ supplies and which is at work in me.

*Colossians 1.28-29 (GNT)

RECEIVING SACRED TEACHING

The dean of a religious school spoke to the dean of another religious school from the same denomination, “The ministerial graduates of your school are known as the best preachers of all graduates from our schools. How is that?” The dean called up his Professor of Preaching and asked, “Why do your preaching students have the reputation of being the best preachers from all our schools?” The Professor of Preaching replied, “Well, I teach them what the other Professors of Preaching in the other schools teach; like, how to research, how to use the biblical languages, how to detect literary devices, and the importance of praying about the message. But, I teach them something that is the secret to their success.” “What is that?” asked the dean. "I teach them to remember and practice one simple thing after they stand up to preach- Get yourself out of the way.

*Brian K. Wilcox

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St. Paul says his intent is a mystical one: "bring each one into God's presence ... in union with Christ." No person in himself or herself can do that. That would be an impossible task, an arrogant or ignorant one to assume without reliance on Divine Grace. Yet, St. Paul is fully engaged with his natural powers to do just this: "I toil and struggle."

Here is the key to St. Paul's success in ministry: "[U]sing the mighty strength which Christ supplies." Where is this "mighty strength"? "In me," says St. Paul. Not in the text. Not in the message. "In me." "In you." God in you. This does not mean the text or message cannot be infused with Grace, with Power, only that is not what St. Paul focuses on in this passage.

Stephen Fitzhenry, in "Qualities of a Contemplative Soul," writes: "It's ridiculous to think we can do anything of value solely on our own. The spirit of anonymity allows the Spirit to be the contemplative's atmosphere, propelling him or her further into mystery."

Fitzhenry, additionally, posits the attitude of a contemplative, which is a key ingredient in spiritual power: "It is the desire to be known only to and by God, to fold into a space in which the individual is not recognized as being special."

Spiritual power pertains to this spiritual attitude. The acceptance to step aside for the Spirit to emerge to minister to the other, and you get no credit for it - for only Christ to be seen, heard, and felt through you to the other.

And, with this, is the acceptance and rejoicing that the True You, who chooses to surrender the self, is a Secret known only to God - where you and Christ are one In Love beyond the "sight" of others.

To be so known only to God, allows one to be more known through Christ, to those God assigns the contemplative to serve in Love.

The less I am seen, the more Christ can be seen. The more I recede into the background, the more Christ moves to the foreground. This requires constant vigilance of self-surrender, a dying on the cross, that Christ's resurrected Life might move and touch through your whole being in His Be-ing.

QUIETLY RESPONDING

1) Have you had a time when you felt Christ working through you to help someone else, and the "you" was no longer doing the work, no longer in the foreground?

2) Have you had a time of doing something to help the other, and you had no thought or wish to receive any credit?

3) Have you ever been passed over for a work you wished to do for Christ, or turned aside after doing it as not fit to do it, and felt at peace with that?

Blessings!
Rev Dr Brian K Wilcox
June 10, 2009
barukhattah@embarqmail.com

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*References to Stephen Fitzhenry are from "Qualities of a Contemplative Soul," In Spiritual Life: A Journal of Contemporary Spirituality. Fall 2006.

*OneLife Ministries is a ministry of Brian K. Wilcox, of SW Florida. Brian lives a vowed life and with his two dogs, Bandit Ty and St. Francis. Brian is an ecumenical spiritual leader, open to how Christ manifests in the diversity of Christian denominations and varied religious-spiritual traditions. He is Senior Chaplain for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, Punta Gorda, FL.

*Brian welcomes responses to his writings or submission of prayer requests at barukhattah@embarqmail.com . Also, Brian is on Facebook: search Brian Kenneth Wilcox.

*Contact the above email to book Brian for Spiritual Direction, retreats, or workshops. You can order his book An Ache for Union at major book dealers.

 

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