“It is an entirely relational universe. If, at any time, we try to stop this life flow moving through us, with us, and in us, we fall into the true state of sin (and it is much more a state than a momentary behavior). What we call “sins” cannot really separate us from God, because Divine Love is unilateral and unconditional and is not dependent on our receiving it. Rather it is our lonely and fearful illusion of separateness that makes us do sinful and selfish things.” -Richard Rohr
So much of my own spiritual journey has come to revolve around relational spirituality— this idea that all things, at all levels of creation, are in constant “orbit” with one another. It is a pattern of behavior that we see manifest in protons, neutrons, and electrons as well as planets, stars and even people.
What I love about relational spirituality is that through this lens our focus begins to shifts away from the object alone: electron, planet, person and onto the movement between the objects. Just like the planets orbit the stars (near and far and near again), we move in and around one another– and our spirit, tethered to the love of God, flexes and extends as well. There is no need for judgment about this dynamism for it is the nature of things to move in this manner.
This type of near and far, flex and extend, also allow us to understand how Jesus was able to both receive and let go of everything as well, including his earthly life. Cling to nothing for it is given, then taken back, and then given again, the universe seems to say, as does our Creator.
Jesus was a master of this way of spiritual living. He exemplified how to embrace the fullness of what is given to you, and then let it go with the same grace as it was received. There was nothing he renounced or resisted and when we can act with this purity of being, we are finally able to empty ourselves entirely and receive again. It’s an unending cycle which allows Divine love to become manifest in the world.
As Cynthia Bourgeault remarks of the Christ in her book “The Wisdom Jesus”: “Thus he came and thus he went, giving himself fully into life and death, losing himself, squandering himself, gambling away every gift God bestows. It was not love stored up but love utterly poured out that opened the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven.”
May we grow into this way of living, emptying ourselves so that God can fill us again– becoming living vessels for a living Spirit.