Last night was the first meeting of the Executive Board of my church's Parish Council. As the new chairman of the council, it was the first of these meetings that I have attended. At the conclusion of the business portion of the meeting, I started to tell them about some things that are going on in my personal life lately. It was so nice to spend just a few minutes of time talking about who I am as a person, what is going on in my life, what my hopes and dreams and aspirations are. Since then, I have given a lot of thought to what it means to share these things with people at Church. And the conclusion that I have reached is that not sharing is a monstrous distortion of what it means to be a Christian.
We are created in the image and likeness of God. And specifically, in the image and the likeness of the Holy Trinity. Just as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, they are in perfect union with each other. To be truly human is to be in union with other humans and with our Creator. Furthermore, we believe in a God who became a man, sharing in our humanity so that we could share in His Divinity. We also believe that the Church is the Body of Christ, that our salvation lies in our being one with each other with Christ as the head of the Church. To choose to exist as isolated individuals is truly to deny all of these things in practice regardless of whether we agree to them in theory. This isolation, it seems to me, is the very essence of sin. If we truly practiced unity with one another, we could not lie about our neighbor, steal from them, murder them, use them for our own gain, or abuse them.
So tonight at the first meeting of the full Parish Council, I shared the abridged version of how God used financial ruin, and a stay in the hospital to bring me back home to the Church, and how I vowed to return to the Church as a servant which is why I agreed to be on Council and why I agreed to run for Chairman despite my fears and trepidation. And once again, I saw how this little bit of sharing is what begins to tie us together as Christians.
For a while now, I have been sharing things through this blog, and on various other sites I am on, but there is something very different about sharing things in person. What I write here may be read by many people, or no one at all. People may be brought to tears by what I write, or they may roll their eyes. This is not a personal medium, even though there are people writing and people reading. There appears to be a connection between writer and reader, but in most cases this is little more than an illusion. I don't know most of the people that will read this, and so while it might make me feel good to write things down, and it might help someone to read it, we still are not united together in a substantive way.
I have been doing much more sharing in person lately. I have shared my joy, my sorrows, my struggles against temptation, my sins and my faults with people, and in return I have received love, forgiveness, acceptance, encouragement, and consolation. The truth is that if we are even a little bit serious about being a Christian, we have this desire within us to share, and to have others share with us. It is imprinted in us as beings in the image and likeness of God. We have just forgotten how because we live in a fallen world that encourages us to stay separate from each other.
We may start by sharing bits of information about ourselves, but over time we begin to actually share our whole self. And I am finding that the more I do this, the more blessings I have to be thankful for, and I spend more time sharing myself with God.
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