As a nation, I submit, we are in a dark moment right now. Why?
Could it be that we are too consumed with our selves? In the Gospel, the witness to God-Come-Down-in-the-person-of-Jesus, we hear it said we must sell all we have to live a life of peace with God. I take that to mean we need to let go of who we think we are or who we think other people think we are and back off this notion that I know fully who I am; that I am invested totally in my self and that is all that matters.
None of us are ever totally aware of who we are. Things happen. Life has changes. We change. None of us are the way we were ten to fifteen years ago. None of us! Unless you are so self-centered that who you are right now is who you have always been and will always be. There is dynamism to life that in turn creates dynamism in who we call the self.
When Jesus says sell all you have so you may enter that relationship with God that God wants with you, Jesus is saying let go of our fixated sense of self and be open to change; open to the indwelling presence of God and open to others. You see, when I am so sure I know who I am, I draw big lines between you and the “me” I like to think I am. If you are not like “me” forget it. That’s the issue. None of us knows 100% who we are 100% of the time.
So. Why not set aside what I think is “my self, me” and make space for grace; take my self off the God throne and put the One who created me and you on it instead. And then be my self as I learn more and more as life progresses.
This openness, this tenderness towards my own self- identity will open me up to you. If I am learning to know who I am, then I can do the same with you. As I let my self be, I can let you be. And then we can be open to relationship. Not closed behind some sense of rigid identity but open to relationship with myself, my God, and my fellow human beings.