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Becoming a Living Sacrifice:
Living to Give!

Why were any of us born? What are we doing here? If it wasn't our idea, what "on earth" did God have in mind?

Does this trip called "life" matter? Are we to learn something here, do something, or become something? I think so. All three must be true.

I think we are here to (1) learn to love, (2) to find those who need it, and to open doors of healing and transformation for them. (3) In the process we become part of God's kenosis, the pouring out of God's life for everyone.

I don't think that we were born simply to learn to be good or righteous or perfect so that we could go to heaven. I think that this world and this time matter, matter enormously.

What if, before the Beginning, inside God, there was a great idea, the idea of giving life! Why not? Life comes from love, and God is Love. God could create living beings who could give with God's own love. We begin to love when we recognize there is someone to love, to respond to, to need, to choose to give to - and that even includes God. We choose to love God. We don't have to!

What if God, the all-time Giver, made us each to be a blessing to each other? Suppose that, deep down, we knew: "I was born to be God's gift!"

Suppose we never lost the feeling of knowing where we came from, and why. Suppose we always felt wrapped in the love and life of God. Suppose we knew that God does not have to be coaxed or bargained with to care about us? - or knew that we do not have to give God presents which no god could need! - or realized how ungrateful it is to give up something that God created to bless us, - or recognized that to destroy our lives or someone else's in order to say we honor God is a tragic confusion.

Sacrifice is found in every religion on earth. In ancient times, all religions believed that we must give up to God the things, and even the people, we prize the most, even to the point of killing them. But how would that help God? Hebrew scripture says that God created life and then, repeatedly said it was good! Why would it please God to destroy the goodness that love made?

There must be another way to understand sacrifice, a way that is natural to everyone who truly loves. It is not imposed by a religion or demanded by a god. In fact the Prophets died for that message. Jesus died for it. And later, Paul encouraged the new Christians by writing:

"Present your bodies, a living sacrifice,
whole and acceptable to God."

A gift always costs something. Sometimes it becomes a real giving up, and the cost is great. But the important thing is that, if it is given as love, and not paid to settle a debt, we do not notice the cost. Life is not abused for God, but used for God.

What more can we give to God and our world than our love and our lives - used with wisdom and purpose, training, and sensitivity? Why were we born? It must have been to live as a gift, a gift from God, to say what God would say in human language, - to do what God would do with human limitations and gifts. That must have been the point of Jesus who lived that way and taught us how. Remember? He once said: "I can do nothing without the Father who dwells in me." I think he was leading us in the Way.

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Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, whole and acceptable to God.
–Romans 12:1

My earthly life is given to me to give back to God. It is not to be destroyed or stunted in misunderstood devotion. As a reflection of God's own self-giving, its purpose is to give life abundantly.
 
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