I love the idea that Epiphany celebrates the inclusivity of all people and all nations. How is it possible to grasp this idea beyond what we know from each of our corners of belief systems? I recite the line “One holy catholic and apostolic church” every time I go to mass.  There has been a growing sense in me of this truth.

Sometimes, I need to borrow a bigger idea of God from other faith traditions in order to get a better grip on this reality.  Richard Rohr enlightened me the other day with this statement.

“I think the genius of the Dalai Lama and of Buddhism is that they do not get lost in metaphysics and argumentation about dogmas and doctrines. They stay at a different level and thus avoid much of the endless disagreement that we find within Christianity. They do not argue about “what” but spend all of their time on “how”—which we have tended to neglect while we argue about “what.”

Now that we are leaving behind the liturgy of Advent-Christmas-Epiphany 2013 I am pondering a small summary from a very large space.

Jesus came to show us our divinity.

As I move toward the unknown of 2014 I am taking with me a huge emphasis on the word “us”.

I grew up Roman Catholic and before I was old enough to really grasp some of that deep heritage, I left the church for a very conservative and fundamental view of God then later came back to my inheritance.  By that I don’t really mean the Catholic Church although it is literally true.  I mean, I came back to the idea of inclusivity without wasting time on a theology of exclusivity.  Going back to my Catholic faith was hugely instrumental in this expansive idea.  How wonderful to now see a Pope (Papa Francis as I call him) who is putting this idea into  action.

Rather than the typical New Year theme of resolution (which never works for me), I hope to focus on the idea of renewal.   I want to be more about letting go of the bad or even the good, in exchange for the better and best. One of those growing ideas for me is that I am letting go of the idea that Christians are saved and others are not.  There is a whole lot of mystery there and I am okay with it.  I leave you with this picture painted by Father Laurence Freeman who says one of the signs of our love for Christ is in our response to our view of other religions.

“If we drew a line in the sand that included Jesus with all of the “saved” on one side of the line and the “unsaved” on the other, as soon as we draw the line in the sand Jesus would move to the other side”.

Where shall we flee from his presence?

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Val Dodge Head

Val Dodge Head, M.A., lives in Grand Rapids, MI, and serves on the CenterQuest staff as the communications coordinator and a variety of other roles. As a spiritual director and teacher, she loves to build bridges between the good and bad and to envelop herself in various forms of contemplation, all of which have helped her see God in all things good, true, and beautiful wherever and in whomever it leads.

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