I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes God. How would I describe my relationship with God? Or how I relate to him and how I see myself with Him?
Here’s an old and old-fashioned mushy song:
“I just want to be where You are dwelling daily in Your presence. I don’t want to worship from afar, draw me near to where You are.”
As the mystery of God unravels for me, when I realise He is at work, He is out there, in the trenches, fighting, saving, loving, restoring, giving, serving, this song has profound implications. When I realise He is dwelling in me, that I am His dwelling place, transforming and changing me with His love and that He lives in me and others, this song has profound implications in how I see God in me and God in the world.
I just want to be where You are is no longer a protected, sheltered compound they call church. It is out there, in the world, that grace that preserves the world and keeps it amidst all that threatens to tear everything to pieces. God is in His world, making things new. I just want to be where You are is no longer just serving a cloistered cluster of people and making it my life’s greatest goal and satisfaction. I just want to be where You are is stepping out into the dark world, walking with the Light, being part of the company of little lights to the world together with that big light.
What do I do to be where He His? Oh, more than I could ever imagine. And yet far lesser than the clumsy ambitions my poor imagination can conjure.
Being a worshipper, singing those romantic, self-defying, self-denying things. That’s dangerous guys. Very dangerous.
But that also brings us straight to the ever-present Help that is our God, that mighty arm that saves, that face that as image bearers we see.
As it becomes evident that the one we call God is not sitting in His throne at a distance soaking in the Hallelujahs of elders for strength and power (like a megalomaniac), as it becomes more evident that He is more like a Captain Kirk sitting on His seat at work with His friends, as it becomes evident even that He is in His planet earth working and being with people through His Spirit, we become transformed as to what “being with God” and “drawing near” means.
Being with Him is a serene, peaceful existence that surpasses all understanding: you keep having to give up the tyrannous anxiety of the distant future, for the lighter yoke that Jesus gives. And yet it is also means a lot of hard work keeping up with the Ultimate Worker, the Servant of All, the King of Kings. It means we see His pain, anguish, joy and love, and we share it with Him.
Being with Him, you learn to live in paradoxes like that.
The gentle, peaceful soul who invades my days with gentleness and peace.
The rich bustle of voices who hear each other and me, a weekly table of joyful, faithful communion.
The little storm of anxiety that brews at every wind of bad news, building up in intensity when devising solutions and resting only when the problems have gone away.
My quiet and still haven, broken only by voices I wish to hear, by thoughts I count as precious, more precious than gold.
A perplexing question took me off guard today in my waking hours.
“Now that you have known and experienced God’s love (and I have, over and over again), how have you experienced loving God? How do you love God?”
It was a devotion based on John 14:21-26, on an app called Pray as you Go.
How do I love God. I rummaged through my recent life, my collection of behaviours and attitudes, almost frantically, like a treasure hunt. Which one? You must remember I just woke up not long. I searched that sack of days and events of the past week, yanked around for patterns of loving God.
Wait, to love God is to obey His commands. Have I been obeying His commands? Not the broad-based overarching principle ones (like loving neighbour too), but in the specific ways He has led me and continues to lead me. Is my life one of obedience, or performance?
Not just that. How am I experiencing loving God? Am I basking, delighting and revelling in this mutual exchange of love? Or is it a job with a to-do list. Is it a life-giving friendship, or does it resemble more of a business meeting?
Damm this question is good.
Love can save even the darkest souls.
– Snow, Ep 14 Season 6, Once Upon a Time
It’s episodes like these that I know why I watch Once Upon a Time. It reinforces and nails this repeated lesson into my heart. This, that love transforms us, it makes us new, makes us more fully ourselves. It doesn’t let us go scot free when we have messed up, letting us go our own way again the moment it meets us. It doesn’t leave us when we fail, and come back when we are fine. Love is very much in our dark nights as He is in our days. Love sits with us, and dines with us, and we with Him, if we lets Him. And He changes us, with love, in time. And that this is the resurrected (or as Elevation Worship aptly puts it, “resurrecting“) life. God is resurrecting us. Love itself, Grace itself, resurrects us.
Christianity is much more about living and doing than thinking. As Thomas Aquinas, no Catholic lightweight, put it, Prius vita quam doctrina (“Life is prior to doctrines”).
Perfect spirituality is just to imitate God.
Excerpt From: “Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self” by Richard Rohr. Scribd.
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The first rule of life in modernity does seem to be ‘everyone for themselves’. When a choice has to be made between these values, modernity most commonly sacrifices the old ties of kinship and social cohesion (family, ethnic group, village, social group, even nation) to the advancement of the individual’s private life.
Christian Comeliau*, 2000 (The Impasse of Modernity; Zed Books)
It is one thing to discuss development and progress, and another thing to wonder why we need it. Development and modernisation is so embedded into our psyche that we run headlong in its currents, like a car-race computer game, dodging obstacles and collecting coins and level-ups while going full speed forward, without looking at the whole picture as itself, playing it over and over again to master it to the end. It’s just the way things are, so learn up the rules and play the game – the one with most spoils wins at the Hall of Fame.
Such are games and such is life in the modern world.