June 27, 2020

Right Relationships For Spiritual Life (Proper 13a)

(Available on John Gishler Youtube June 28)

 Today’s Readings challenge us to develop right relationships in this life as we prepare for our resurrection life in Jesus Christ. Last week we were challenged to love God more than family. This week we are challenged to die emotionally and spiritually to anything that competes with our love of God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. This involves painful challenges to the development and healing of our spiritual lives.


1. Right relationship with God

Having a right relationship with God is essential to our spiritual resurrection life. The challenge is that God loves us and gives us free will. Free will leads to wrong choices. Wrong choices pollute our soul and make us unholy and unable to be in God’s holy presence. We usually need to go through a long process of self-examination, confession and asking Jesus for forgiveness to heal and break our slavery to sin.

·      God begins by reaching out while we are a long way off

·      Through the order and beauty of nature

·      Through times of trouble and hardship

·      As we read the Bible, pray and listen

·      Through experiences of the Holy Spirit

·      Natural progression from learning, to experiencing to believing

·      Key is to grow in our knowledge about God and experience His love for us


2. Right Relationship To Our Neighbour

This is the hard part as we often have neighbours we like but who do not share our love of God. Jesus uses the word “welcome” (Matthew 10.40-42) to differentiate between our relationship with neighbour who is a believer (prophet, righteous person and disciples) and those we must love in the more general sense of caring for those in need, kindness, truthfulness, justice, fairness and respect:

·      Love can mean telling people about Jesus to encourage them in their search or respecting their free will (as God does)

·      Evangelicals can do harm by over-aggression

·      Liberals can do harm by accepting heresy as truth and saying nothing

·      Hard part is how to balance love that respects others free will – with love that shares the Good News of forgiveness, healing and resurrection life


3. Right Relationship with ourselves

Paul talks about freeing ourselves from the slavery to sin. (Romans 6.11-23). This is a spiritual life and death matter.

·      Not loving yourself is a sin – can be calling God a liar about creation being “very good” (Gen 2.31)

·      Justice in the spiritual dimension is very legalistic (example of little girl and postman)

·      Many people have identity issues – not wanted, not loved, wrong sex, bad person (all lies)

·      These are the crosses we bear

·      Bearing means we move them  - by facing, confessing, receiving forgiveness and are freed

·      How we grow spiritually in our relationships



Good News is that as we get into right relationships with God, ourselves and others we experience the gifts of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, wisdom, faith, healing, prophecy etc.

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