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Living in Jesus' Heart: Reflections on John 6:51-58

I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness (Jn. 12:46).

Every now and then I still sing the words and tune to that Sunday cchool song, "Into My Heart." They are good lyrics for adults as well as children. We do need to invite Jesus into our hearts, to invite his light to illumine our darkness.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, poet, author of 70 books, social activist, and student of comparative religion. He was instrumental in establishing dialogue between Christians and Buddhists. His influential autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain is a modern Confessions of St. Augustine.

He once met the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists. The Dalai Lama confronted Merton with this question: "What do your vows oblige you to do? Do they simply constitute an agreement to stick around for life in the monastery? Or do they imply a commitment to a life of progress up certain mystical stages?"

After much hesitation, Merton said, "I believe my vows can be interpreted as a commitment to a total inner transformation of one sort or another, a commitment to become a completely new man. No matter where one attempts to do this, that remains the essential thing." (Fenhagen, 4-5)

Our passage from John 6 offers good news for us, for wherever we are attempting to invite Jesus into our hearts. Wherever we are, we already live and move and have our being in Christ.

We abide in him as he abides in God.

That puts things in a whole different light!

Sources Consulted
James C. Fenhagen, More Than Wanderers: Spiritual Disciplines for Christian Ministry (Seabury Press, 1978).

8/12/2012 4:00:00 AM
Alyce McKenzie
About Alyce McKenzie
Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.