What does it mean to live resurrection daily? It means dying to ways that are not life-giving for ourselves, others, and creation, and rising to ways that are. But what does this look like? In a series of blogs this Lent, I’ll take a look at how several writers have interpreted this question.
Richard Rohr, one of the most influential spiritual teachers in the world today, has often addressed the challenges of ego, or the False Self, in his books. Either consciously or not so consciously, we put on the False Self in order to accommodate what society believes is “successful.” It is the polished version of ourselves, in which we’ve denied all our weaknesses and overworked our strengths. It is a mask we hide behind because we are ashamed of what we believe we really are. But Jesus teaches us again and again the most counterintuitive of messages: We grow spiritually much more by getting it wrong than by doing it right. Rohr writes:
“If there is such a thing as human perfection, it seems to emerge precisely from how we handle the imperfection that is everywhere, especially our own. What a clever place for God to hide holiness, so that only the humble and earnest will find it! A “perfect” person ends up being one who can consciously forgive and include imperfection rather than one who thinks he or she is totally above and beyond imperfection.” (Rohr, Falling Upward, xxii.)
So, one obvious way to look at daily resurrection is that we need to die to the False Self and rise to what Rohr calls the True Self. In his book, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, Rohr turns his attention to the True Self. Taking its title from a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, Immortal Diamond explores the deepest questions of identity, spirituality and meaning. This book likens our True Self to a diamond, buried deep within us, formed under the intense pressure of our lives, so that it must be searched for, uncovered, and separated from all the debris of ego that surrounds it. In a sense True Self must, like Jesus, be resurrected, and that process is not resuscitation but transformation.
Here is an excerpt from Immortal Diamond that gives examples of ways that we can live resurrection, daily, now:
- Negativity: Refuse to identify with negative, blaming, antagonistic, or fearful thoughts (you cannot stop ‘‘having’’ them).
- I’m Sorry: Apologize when you hurt another person or situation.
- The Power of Positivity: Undo your mistakes by some positive action toward the offended person or situation.
- Lies: Do not indulge or believe your False Self—that which is concocted by your mind and society’s expectations.
- Your Relationship with God: Choose your True Self—your radical union with God—as often as possible throughout the day.
- Look Within: Always seek to change yourself before trying to change others.
- Do For Others: Choose as much as possible to serve rather than be served.
- Good: Whenever possible, seek the common good over your mere private good.
- Look After Others: Give preference to those in pain, excluded, or disabled in any way.
- Justice: Seek just systems and policies over mere charity.
- Your Voice: Make sure your medium is the same as your message.
- L-O-V-E: Never doubt that it is all about love in the end.
These ways of living resurrection are pretty general, allowing for interpretation and ambiguity – which is as it should be, because each of our lives is different. And I am reminded of our associate pastor Diana Bell’s frequent charge to the congregation: “It’s all that simple, and it’s all that hard.”
What do you make of this list? Which one hits home for you? The two that caught my attention were #4 and #6. Not just because these are the areas where I feel I fall short (which, I confess, they are), but because of the idea that it is in addressing these areas that I will, in fact, uncover my True Self.
What do you think?
Many blessings as we continue to explore Daily Resurrection through the season of Lent –
 Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2013), pp. 211-212.
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