Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shalom (Balance pt. 2)

Paul, in his letter to the Philippians (and elsewhere) promises to those who will walk in steadfastness and unity, the peace of God which transcends all understanding. In the commentary I am using, the author places this statement in the context of God's perfect shalom, his "wholeness and well being"
Shalom, or 'wholeness" is a guiding motivation of many Boston Unitarians and is one of the reasons I love them.
James Walker (see all posts: Walker) speaks of balance and wholeness in continuing excerpts from "The Daily Cross":

"But, when we speak of the worth of a man, we always make it to depend on what he is in himself; that is to say, on the habits he has formed ; not on the amount of discipline which he has undergone, simply and abstractly considered, but on the effect this discipline has had on his character; on the degree of harmony, purity, and elevation of soul which he has actually gained; in one word, to adopt the language in which the Scriptures express the change, on his having been " born again," on his having become " a new creature."...we see at once that self-denial is not the Christian character, nor an essential part of it, but only one of the instrumentalist's by which the Christian character is formed. Self-denial does not belong to us as Christians; that is to say, as perfect Christians : for, in the perfect Christian, duty and pleasure become one; no place is therefore left for self-denial: it belongs to us as persons who aspire to be Christians, who are learning to be Christians...In saying this, however, I do but say that, in point of fact, it belongs to us all; for what can be truly said of the best of us, except that we are learning or aspiring to be Christians ? — some in the midst of the process, some just beginning, others only thinking about beginning, if indeed so much as that. In respect to all such persons without exception, the gospel teaches that it is only by self-denial, — that is, by crossing, restraining, and subduing the lower tendencies of our nature whenever they interfere with the higher tendencies of our nature, — that each one can bring his character into harmony with itself, and subject the whole to the law of Christ..."

Shalom. And Blessings

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