The gospel for Sunday 21st June, 2nd Sunday after Trinity, is from St Matthew; it is very dense and has so much going on. It has the reassurance that ‘the hairs of your head are counted‘ – ie God knows and cares for you that deeply. But it also says that ‘those who try to gain their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.’
I wonder if The Message translation might give a bit more insight: “If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”
Reading this makes this saying a bit easier to understand I think. It is about focus. Gaining life, holding on to life, so often ends up making us focus on material possessions and status – our job, home, money. And whilst all those things do indeed make life more comfortable, they are adjuncts, not essentials. When people come to crisis points, when people are facing their own imminent death, it is people and relationships that generally are the points of importance, and often of regret.
For our true being does not lie in possesions or status. It lies in our relationships – with ourselves, with God, and with each other. How many of us are doing things that we simply have to do, but which bring no joy or excitement? But if we are truly in touch with our souls, we know ourselves and what brings us passion and makes us feel alive!
That’s the kind of life that I think Jesus is talking about here. This is what ‘finding yourself’ is really about. It’s about saying I AM rather than I HAVE. Knowing our true inner nature so that we can allow our souls to shine, to feel fully alive and able to find the joy in each day (even the bad ones!), to be in positive relationships with ourself and others. It’s about letting go of the I HAVE, so that the I AM – our true divine nature – can shine forth.