Josh j Smith


Descending
March 4, 2005, 7:45 pm
Filed under: theology
Lately I have been thinking about Easter. Mainly because it is Lent and this year I have decided to participate in the rich tradition. I decided to give up deserts. I failed a few times, but for the most part I have been keeping up with the fast. This journey is really helping me to discover selflessness. To deny myself. Nouwen would call it – living the descending way. Not only is Lent affecting my diet, but I have sought to live this descending way and discover what it really means. So, here is what I came up with so far.

Prayer is descending myself spiritually before God. I have noticed this past week when I was struggling with sin over and over that I avoided God. I felt that I had to fix myself before I went and talked to him. Just like when you broke something and you tried to fix it before you talked to your parents. “I can do it myself.” “I don’t want anyone to see that I screwed up.”

Community is descending myself before others. When Engelina and I were in marriage counseling we talked about Adam and Eve and how they made fig leaves right after they sinned b/c they realized that they were naked. Sometimes I think that it would not be so bad to be naked with a women. But think about it…Someone you don’t know at all – that is a little awkward unless you are intoxicated. I know Adam and Eve knew each other, but never had seen each other before the way that they saw each other after they sinned. Their eyes were open, everything was exposed to them. So they covered what was different between them. Now I look at that and think what a shame…Two attractive people who are attracted to each other are not able to be naked with each other. The nakedness was only the beginning. Next it was their feelings, their thoughts, their actions, and their mistakes. Living the descending way means stripping myself in front of others. Not my clothes, but everything else. That way I cannot hide who I am and what I struggle with. Living the descending way siphens the grease off our heart and frees it to be in commune with others and God. Only Jesus loves me purely and can show me how to love others the same.

Love is descending myself. Whether it is to God, friends, family, strangers, or enemies. 1 Corinthians 13 speaks of how love is allowing for the greater good of others by my personal actions and attitude. Love for Engelina is not the fuzzy feeling inside…that is diarrhea…love for Engelina is not using her to please myself in any way. It is to build up, to forgive, to serve, to pray for…on and on. That is the descending way. Love is it! Once I learn to love God, others, and myself then prayer and community is life and breath of living the descending way.

Peace to you all
jj smith

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