“Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. 21:5
As I sat and watched that giant flickering flame slowly and methodically burn away the wax until there was nothing left but some ash and a glass jar, I was reminded of how the Holy Spirit consumes each of us. With a gentle invitation, we are inundated with the Spirit of God, led and guided to each new step. Yet, often, we forget of that imminent presence, and rather, lead ourselves down a rabbit hole. And more often than not, we find ourselves bare and empty, asking ourselves the whys and hows and whats of where we have ended up.
The necessity of the Holy Spirit to allow us to burn ever so slightly away until we are nothing but some ash and the glass jar of a body is a reminder that we cannot go this road alone, nor will we, regardless of our preference. We each must be burned to the core, at some point, to lay empty and open to the guidance of our Master.
In looking at Christ’s life, we must know that we cannot escape our own crucifixion. Yet, unlike Him, we put ourselves on that cross because of our choices, thoughts, and words. In looking at His lifeless body, and hearing His words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” we, too, must know the words we must echo.
The beauty of the crucifixion is the reality of the resurrection. Just like the changing seasons, we are sculpted from old into new, from pain to freedom, from sorrow to joy. We are burned by the light of the Spirit from the inside out, where we let go of our own human ways and give of ourselves to the One who created us.
How do we learn to free ourselves from the entrapping of human frailties? We learn to abandon our own two feet. We jump off the cliffs of life (metaphorically, of course) and allow God the opportunity to catch us. We are hindered only by ourselves, by the casings we have formed around our lives. All too often, we go at this alone, thinking we know the answers; yet, in doing so, we find that we are only further and further away from the goal.
As humans, we are confined to the fears that ensnare us. The worries, anxieties, and uncertainties we avoid facing keep us in the messy life we have created for ourselves. To change this, we must dare light the end of the wick with the match of the Spirit. We must invite Him to consume us, once again, to give way to the new freedoms that pour out once we are burned to the core. Only then can we truly be free and know the newness of who we are supposed to be as children of God.
Betsey Sawyer is an attorney and adjunct professor in Mississippi, and works for Women of Grace as the Mission Advancement Coordinator. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Photo courtesy of Eliza Kennard Photography)