Sunday. I woke up thinking how much more gratifying it is to live life as the Beloved. Complete, perfectly loved by the Divine, without the need to seek (imperfect) love from fellow createds. I have known that perfect Love. The moment came unbidden. It was a split second, just as my eyes were halfway open after meditating in a yoga studio in Modesto, CA. It was a Saturday in March 2013. I had been meditating daily for three months to alleviate the anxiety attacks that started four months earlier. What I felt was this: I was awash in approval, in favor, I was being seen (by God) at my utmost self, in whom He took delight. I write this now and remember that in Scripture, that was how Jesus emerged from His baptism. A dove appeared, a voice said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Oh my gosh! I have known that piece from the Bible since I was a child, and just now understood it in my spirit.
This afternoon, leaning against the dishwasher, I thought, "Why do they call it 'the sacrifice of praise'?" ("We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord.") Is it such a big sacrifice to praise God? I guess if you didn't love Him it would be. But maybe "sacrifice" in this context isn't something that hurts, something that requires that we give up what means a lot to us. (Although yes, we'd have to give up our ego to surrender to God in faith. That would be a sacrifice of needing to be in control.)
What if sacrifice means an offering, like in Old Testament times? I think that's closer to how it was meant to be read. Jesus, the ultimate Sacrifice, put an end to sacrificial lambs and other innocent animals, because He alone was the perfection that could please God.
As we approach the throne of God to worship, we would be empty-handed if we did not bring the sacrifice of praise and acknowledge the extreme sacrifice made for us by His Lamb.
I was raised to believe that as a person born with original sin, I am tainted unless and until I have accepted Christ as my Savior. Then I can inherit the Kingdom as one of God's children. But that second part, being a child of God, well, I hadn't really given that much thought as an adult. To me it simply meant keeping a pure heart, staying innocent, guileless, faithful, kind—all the good stuff. You tiptoe to the throne, head low, hoping God the Dad is in a good mood, has seen you being good like Santa does, hears your troubles, grants your prayers very soon after you pray them.
But to worship as the Beloved! To simply open to the veiled truth that as the vessel of the Holy Spirit I am already and always filled with His perfect love, whether the emotional weather is stormy or calm, regardless of debt, deadlines, life-threatening illnesses or crude, rude, aggravating people getting in my face. Worship isn't merely a refueling of my spirituality. Love doesn't run out like that. Not perfect love, anyhow. It brims and overflows.
To worship as the Beloved strengthens me to spill unconditional love with every step, over every encounter with every person, animal, object, being, in every situation. To worship as the Beloved is to turn my face to the blinding light, keep it there, and keep seeing that Light in my darkest moments. It is to take only the minimum time possible to get past the jabs, the insults, the hurts, the slights, the disappointments in flawed fellow createds so that I can focus again on that Light, that completion that I am only in Him.
"He who began a good work in you
will be faithful to complete it in you...
You are his treasure
and He finds His pleasure in you." ~Philippians 1:6