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Saturday, February 2, 2013
Today’s Reading | Ephesians 2:1−10
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (NRSV)
Paul declares those dead who follow the “desires of flesh and senses.” Food, drink, sex, status, luxurious comfort, and exotic adventure come to mind as such desires. However, other forces we may not readily recognize can block our aliveness in Christ.
The Enneagram is an ancient Sufi teaching that resurfaced in recent decades within Christian spiritual direction. It identifies nine types of persons differentiated by a particular need each seeks to fill: the need to be perfect, helpful, successful, refined, wise, obedient, cheerful, strong, or easy-going. Another characteristic that distinguishes these nine types is what each person seeks to avoid: anger, need, failure, ordinariness, emptiness, deviance, pain, weakness, or conflict. A person’s efforts toward avoidance or filling the need can be driven by patterns as powerful as an addiction. According to the Enneagram theory, one never changes one’s basic typology. That could be discouraging: left to our own devices we would be lost.
But the Enneagram also points toward spiritual healing made possible by our recognition of the limitations in what we habitually pursue and by our turning to God for balance and wholeness. The good news of the gospel is that we are freed by the grace of God, who created us in Christ Jesus for good works.
Open my eyes to recognize how I pursue false ends, O God. Help me depend on you with a humble spirit to transform me to be the truest and fullest self you created me to be in Christ. Amen.
Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission
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