THE UNBROKEN WORD

The Crucible of Ownership – Part I

“I am yours and you are mine.” These words ring out in song, scripture, and in many commitment ceremonies over the decades. The Song of Solomon and Isaiah 43 are two places where I find these particular words calling out to us.

For many, these are scary words. I don’t think I ever thought of them as scary, but certainly hard to understand. For me, this was because of distance or boundaries to God made clear by the nuns catechizing me as a child. Every time I had an experience of God’s love, it was complemented by the knowledge (instructions) that God was to be feared, and I was to behave if I had any chance of even meeting Him in the afterlife. There was little discussion of God’s continued presence in the world and, in particular, Sr. Rosario’s classroom. (Humor intended).

The separation between God indicated to me I had to keep God on the pedestal, just like the statues in the sanctuary at St. John’s in Trowbridge, England. I was to keep my distance and have reverence in all things when in the sanctuary, and then we could let loose a little when back in the playground behind our school.

There was a duality taught to me, which is still perhaps present today, but more importantly, I was conditioned in another way. God made me, (Baltimore Catechism), but I didn’t own God, and God didn’t own me. My relationship was to be at one level alone; adoration and obedience. All else was forbidden; even if it was not verbalized, it just was not taught.

So moving to the next level, the idea of a God of fellowship and friendship was not easily attainable to me; after all, I could not be friends with God, could I? Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that the Church in the 1960s was preaching a God of fear alone, it wasn’t, but the point for me was I was being told I could not attempt to get too close to Him.

As it happens, this was juxtaposed with my experience of God. At my First Communion, I had a mystical experience (I didn’t know what it was at the time), where I truly felt the physical presence of God inside my body. It assured me that despite all the teaching that I could not get close to God, they could not prevent God from being as close to me as it gets—being inside me!

So, I am going to return to the title of this reflection—the crucible of ownership. If I am yours and you are mine is a true statement (which I believe it is as it is written clearly so many times in scripture); then what does that mean for my relationship with God. Do I own God? Does God own me? Do we own each other?

Ponder these questions during the week, and we will continue to examine this question further in another seven days. Have a blessed week.

The Crucible of Ownership – Part I

What do I own?

My health,

My home,

My car,

A motorcycle,

Furniture.

Perhaps.

What do I own?

Relationships,

Shares in organizations,

Shared activities.

Not really.

What do I own?

Love,

Courage,

Humility.

No. I don’t own them.

What do I own?

Inner peace.

No. But I know what it feels like.

What do I own?

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