There is much in our Christian tradition that speaks to fullness and emptiness. Scripture often speaks of how the empty will be filled with good, and there is a whole theology of emptying (kenosis) related to the incarnation. Jesus went from the fullness of the godhead, and emptied himself in becoming human (and we are invited into this kenosis as well!). There is also the language of “the fullness of____” (e.g. “time”, when all the moments of earth’s history had gathered into just the right place for the incarnation to happen—see Paul’s letter to the Galatians). And we’ve already noted the very beginnings of the story, when the earth was formless and empty—and the rest of the creation story is about its filling: first with light, then water, vegetation… and eventually the animal kingdom and humanity. The Psalms ring with “The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD” (or, in some versions: “The earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.” The word is the Hebrew chesed, which is itself so *full* of meaning!). A world full of God’s goodness and love. That is where we live our lives. Do you ever look around and recognize just how full your world is of goodness? Even when some things seem to have gone so wrong? And yet, our lives are full, too, of far too much “else,” too. Even the good things fill our moments and our attention in ways that don’t leave space for new seeds to be planted, new life to emerge. And so, in following Jesus, there is an invitation not only to fullness, but to emptying as well. One way that has traditionally be done is through the practice of fasting—of allowing ourselves to be empty of something, for some time. It’s a difficult practice, this embodied way of stepping into emptiness. And yet, it opens up so much space in us. Space to be filled with new iterations of goodness, of love. What does it feel like the invitation is for you right now? To name the goodness filling your life? Or to make space by emptying (or both?)?
Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2023-08-16 14:19:02 UTC