Meister Eckhart was such a profound theologian. When I read his writings I really feel inspired to be more, to love more, to live more and to seek more. I think that part of what is so appealing about the man is the profound nature of his thinking and theology coupled with the clarity of his sayings/teachings/writings. He understood that as human beings we all have so many layers, so many sides, so many issues, and so many faces, so many everything. He posits, “A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.” How true indeed. Especially today – we have in our little minds more knowledge than ever. We have information at our fingertips, and we quickly move it from there into our minds and then we love to share it with others (this blog is exhibit A). Yet behind this mountain of stuff that we carry around with us, is the essence of who we are. We need o do as Eckhart suggests and learn to know ourselves. We need to peal away the layers, as it were, to get to the core of our own God given heart. And why is this so important?
Tonight I was at the induction of The Reverend Christine Downey as the Rector of the Parish of Southern Trinity in Harrow. The Reverend Dr. Dalice Sim was the Preacher and she gave a great homily about being servant and not manager. She was encouraging to the congregation and reassured them that they were receiving a devoted servant leader as a rector. She reminded them that they are called into this ministry and that they too have to work to bring the Kingdom to reality – at times helping to tell the story of a God who loved so much that He became one of us, so that all of us children would be forgiven, loved and healed. The evening was great and it served as a reminder for me of my own induction at St. Mark’s over 8 years ago. I still remember how excited I was that night. I remember how I was scared that I did not know what I was doing. How I felt as though I was in way over my head. I remember thinking, “what if all these people knew who I am behind all of these layers that comprise Kevin?”I found myself thinking, “Would they still want me as rector?” I was very insecure at the time – I continue, as God’s child, to recover from this disorder. (I believe we all have this challenge – some more so than others). In many ways at that time I had not yet gone into my “own ground to learn to know myself.” I have since realized that coming to St. Mark’s by-the-Lake was a part of moving past the many layers of Kevin to reach that ground where I could examine who I am and get to know me better. Each day I try to focus my energy in such a way that I might find a new way to give, to love, to forgive, to heal. Some days I feel that being priest is easier than others but the one thing that I am certain of is that it is much easier to be priest when you have come to grips with who you are and how you relate to the world around you. It is clear to me that the more we take time to get in touch with our own person, all of that person, weakness and al, the more we empty ourselves and the more we empty ourselves of the many layers and make room for God to be present and to work through us. Eckhart says, “God expects but one thing of you, and that is that you should come out of yourself in so far as you are a created being made and let God be God in you.”
Tonight was a great reminder of how we minister together as communities, and how important the role of priest is in the midst of that community. It leaves me again tonight pondering how we all can be better at letting “God be God” in us. Take time this week to peel away the layers of who you are – put aside the barriers and embrace the graciousness and rectitude. As you unpack the layers leave plenty of room for the Holy Spirit and God will be God in you!