How do you respond to the idea of death, with resistance or acceptance? The dramatic stories of this holy week in the Jewish and Christian traditions remind us that we must be willing to face death directly in order experience salvation. Are you in tune with the small deaths that you are confronted with daily? As spiritual seekers, we die to our attachments to the world.
The Hebrew word for distress in verse 5 is metsar. This word implies being bound in something tight or being squeezed. We would never dream of tying ourselves to an out of control vehicle, unless we wanted to experience some sort of pain. This is the exact same effect of tying ourselves to external or material things that are in constant chaos. We suffer extreme pain. In our distress we can call on the Lord and place all of our cares into God’s hands. Then we can certain of being safe and secure (set in a broad place). We no longer need to struggle to suppress our unwanted thoughts and feelings, if we take refuge in the Lord.
The creative power of God (right hand) raises us up and out of the confusion of our physical and mental fixations. If we open our hearts and minds, Spirit can show us the straight and narrow path (open to me the gates of righteousness). This is the way to our inner Christ. Only when we surrender our lives to God can we enter into our spiritual domain. It is important to give thanks for each step along the spiritual journey, because thanksgiving makes our experiences more fruitful. As we make this shift, we repossess our spiritual inheritance of abundance, health and happiness (salvation).
Over time we begin to realize that there is no quick way to spiritual understanding. It requires discipline and work. Our formal, intellectual consciousness (builders) rejects the Christ presence within us, because our intuitive, spiritual impulses do not fit with worldly standards. The path seems to be less than promised. If we persevere through these doubts and allow Spirit to do its work (this is the Lord’s doing), we will experience greater good than we can even imagine in our lives. With the Christ presence within the cornerstone of our consciousness, all power and glory is ours (success).
When we approach the altar within, we must come with the intention of giving up the old and erroneous thoughts for new, Christ-infused ideas. Thanksgiving raises our awareness (extol) of our oneness with God. But the previously deeply ingrained ideas, habits and thoughts battle the new ones fiercely. Through the spiritual disciplines of prayer and praise the new thoughts are strengthened and multiplied. There is turmoil in our lives during this struggle but in the end Spirit is always victorious. We are reborn into a new understanding of and relationship with God.
And so it is! Amen!