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Interspace, Inner Space, The Place Between

“And what did you learn in school this year, Little Monk?”

“Oh, LOTS of cool stuff, Father!” I responded, as we sat relaxed in the great Hall of Fire at His House. We stared into the flames, feet toasting comfortably on little footstools near the andirons, sipping mulled cider. It was a quiet evening, a “waiting” evening, a “restful” evening between the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. For the moment… for THIS moment… all felt well with the worlds.

“Good!” He smiled. “Like what? Tell Me of something.”

“Well, I learned Your Name… again.” (I sorta mumbled that last bit, because over time, it seems I get new understandings of His Name.)

“Ah,” His eyebrows raised as diplomatically He looked back towards the hearth, prompting me to continue with a slight nod. “And what word is that for you now?”

“Well I saw You at IT one night. I saw You doing IT. Jesus walked up on me as I marvelled. I asked Him what I should do… whether I should join in with You… and He said no, that I should just settle back and enjoy the beauty of IT. Leave You be.”

“And what did you see, Little Monk?”

“Well… um… I saw You…” I sort of hesitated and coughed a bit, looking down. “I saw You… well… Dancing. You know, You were dancing and singing with the Heavenly Host. The music was breathtaking. You just swirled, and reached, and leapt. And everywhere You reached, or looked, or sang, or as Your robes swirled… that, that STUFF came off and spewed out in every direction. You know what I saw! I saw you doing IT!”

“Ah, I see…” He mused. And I knew He COULD see. As I recaptured what I saw Him doing in the limited nature of my own little mind and image/symbols, He could then recapture that experience, even in His Own Unlimited mind and Realities.

And…” He prompted, gently. “What is IT? What was I doing? And what have you learned now as My Name?”

In those moments, You were Joy! Boundless, rapturous, passionate, profligate, Utter Joy! You danced in Joy! You danced without restraint of passion, movement, or being. To behold You was Joy. Around You was Joy. Within You was Joy! One could barely breathe for the density of it…

And as You spun, reached, gazed, sang… from You came beams, streams, great currents of Light… and the Light was Love… but not ‘love’ like a feeling or a sentiment. But LOVE like a force! Like a nuclear explosion! Like a stream of plasma from the face of the sun! Love burst forth from you, impelled by the passion of Your Joy! And I could follow those streams with my gaze, and all that they touched became Alive! Motion, energy, relationships, stuff and matter through atoms and molecules, and cells and little beings, and people and families and babies… EVERYTHING became Real when touched by those streams!

It was amazing, Father. It was wondrous and beautiful. It was awesome and terrifying. It was… Glorious… to watch You do IT!” my voice drifted off as I stared into the fire, reliving in memory those moments of watching Him dance.

And what was I doing, Little Monk? What is or was ‘IT’ in your perception?”

You were dancing and singing Your Love, Father. And everywhere Your gaze, Your streams, Your voice touched, came Alive. You were, as Jesus said, ‘Doing what You do.’ You were just fulfilling Your Name, Father.”

Ah, so We come to the conclusion. What, Little Monk, have you learned My Name to be, in this year?”

Father…” I looked up from the fire to adore Him for a moment, quietly sitting in that other chair, “You are the Joy Who Gives Life Through Love.”

Ah…” He thought for a moment as He took another sip of mulled cider before turning His head to meet my gaze. He smiled as our eyes met, and said, “I like that. Not bad, Little Monk. Carry on.”

And we turned back to the fire, holding our warm cups.

 
 

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Whose What???!!!

5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” [Matthew 6]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We all recognize these words, Gentle Reader, don’t we? These are Jesus’ teaching from the middle of Sermon on the Mount, when, at the beginning of His public ministry, Our Lord was in the process of detonating what must have seemed like a Theological Nuclear Device in the middle of a multitude of listeners.

I invite you to take just a moment and leave our Christian lives, knowledge, background… and imagine yourself THERE instead. I mean, the whole Sermon on the Mount is almost inconceivable from that view. It is so easy for us to take it all for granted. We’ve “heard this all our lives” so to speak. But not THEM! Not THERE! The “God they knew”… was nothing LIKE the “God we know”!

THEY knew the terrifying, deadly God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They knew the destructive God of Exodus. They knew the bloodthirsty God of Aaron and Abraham. They knew the Destroyer God of Sodom and Gomorrah. They knew the vindictive God of Ezekiel and Elijah. They had HEARD of a tender, compassionate God… from David… sometimes. The PREDICTED Messiah, from Isaiah. But the God they KNEW was the legalistic, retributive God of the Babylonian captivity… and now, the Roman captivity of God’s Own City itself!

God spoke through Prophets… but that often did not go well. God spoke through the Law… but that assuredly was not going well. God spoke through Temple Worship, and Study of the Torah. By keeping the Law, performing the right acts of religious obedience (tithing, sabbath, worship)… one could MOLLIFY this Dangerous God, and preserve oneself from doom, curse, and destruction.

So we… were we there… would be waiting… fearfully hoping… for the Promise to be Fulfilled… for the long awaited Messiah… the Savior promised by Isaiah… to come! We are the People of God! God’s Chosen People! And we pray, sacrifice, live according to over 600 laws in obedience to Holy God? And WHY DO WE DO THIS??? Because we have learned, both through the scriptures that are read to us endlessly… through the history of our people… through the preaching of our religious leaders… that if we DON’T… we are REBELLIOUS… and GOD is likely to DESTROY US!!! … AGAIN!!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As Jesus took me this morning, to the hillside where He revealed the Truth in Sermon on the Mount, for the very first time, ever… He showed me all this. He let my heart and my mind be freed of my 20th/21st century knowledge of God. I could “see” as a listener that day could see, with only the Law, the Prophets, and the history to guide my relationship with God… and He let me “hear with their ears” that day.

As I seemed to stand there, on that hillside… I realized, given all this, how desperately I yearned for the coming of that Promised Messiah. I felt how deeply I hoped for the Promised Savior of Isaiah. I needed His rescue! I needed His compassion! I needed His authority and protection! But… in my heart… I needed Him to save and protect me NOT from the Romans, or the Babylonians, or the Philistines, or the Assyrians, or the Egyptians…. Not at all. Like the people who cowered in terror when Moses and God let the people hear God’s voice on Mt. Sinai so long ago… I felt I needed the Messiah’s protection, from GOD HIMSELF!

I invite you there, Gentle Reader. I invite you onto that hillside with me. I invite you to forget… for just this one fleeting moment… everything you now KNOW about God and grace. Imagine that you are one of God’s Chosen People, bound with Him in the Covenant of Abraham… inescapable, unattainable, unfulfillable… and, as Paul said, “it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31] And, we LIVE in those hands. We eat, sleep, BREATHE in those hands. We cannot ESCAPE those hands! I truly cannot imagine, for more than the briefest of moments, what it would be like to live in such fear.

NOW, Gentle Reader! Now, if we’ve managed to catch even the barest glimpse of what such a heart would be… NOW let Jesus enter the scene. Now, look again, with fresh new eyes and ears, on the Sermon on the Mount!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Beyond all else… imagine what it would be like to hear Jesus, after seeing sufficient signs and wonders to KNOW that He speaks with the authority and blessing of Almighty God… imagine what it would mean to hear Him say:

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] [Matthew 6]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the next few posts, we’re going to look at the Lord’s Prayer. Over the past six weeks or so, God has been unfolding it before me slowly, carefully, gradually… like watching a Rose unfurl petal by petal. I would like to share that little journey with you… not to “teach” it…. not to imply that we should “dissect this rose”, and “analyze it”, or “squeeze all its juices out” to distill for some compound or perfume. None of that. Any of that, and the Rose is destroyed.

No, Gentle Reader. And I don’t even want to measure, weigh, or photograph this Rose. I don’t want to try to “communicate” this Rose… in my way… as my experience… to you so that you have the SAME experience. But rather I want to “show you a Rose” as it has bloomed and taken my breath away, in MY garden, MY backyard… in hopes that you will pull on a sweater and go out into YOUR garden, and see if the Lord has planted such a rose there for you.

Together, let us “listen to our Roses”. Let that Rose raise its voice to God in praise. Let us still ourselves to hear the song it sings. Let us enjoy that hymn of worship and praise, and see if, in the listening, we are changed. Harmony, somehow, seems always to change us.

Grace to thee, Gentle Reader! I believe there’s a Rose singing to you and Him somewhere…

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 18, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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Paul’s Song

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.

Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world.

I stand at the edge of the Omniverse ask, “Am I? Do I Exist? Am I a Figment?” and wait… silence.

Then Omniverse answers, “You are, because I AM.”

“Why?” I ask.

“That I may Love Thee.”

“What must I do, to be so loved?”

“Continue to exist. To be. To live.”

“What more?”

“Nothing more.”

And from the silence, the darkness, I begin to hear… The music comes, the rhythm comes, the pulses of praise of worship, from hearts and voices without lips or form. The music builds, layer by layer, to a chorus beyond count. Songs without words. Music without notes. The very humming of the IS… the ARE… THEMSELVES.

“What… What is that? What do I hear?”

“You hear the IS… it comes from I AM… this is Worship, this is Life, this is Love, this is to BE!”

I listen… I hum… I vibrate… I AM… I live… I love… No longer just me… Now we… Us…

The Omniverse, and all within hums, vibrates, thrums… Is He/She the Source of the vibration? Or does the hum answer Him/Her?

“Yes… and No… Both!”

“I do not understand.”

“I know. But that does not matter. It is all right.”

“But what IS all this?”

“Love. My love.”

“But Who AM I?”

“Love. My love.”

But WHY is all this?”

“Love. My love.”

“But What is it all about? Why is there life? Why are there others? Why is there freedom? Why can some do good, and others do ill?” and as if in some gigantic canyon, some cosmic canyon of stars and galaxies, I heard my wee small voice echo…

WHY?… WHY?… WHy?… Why?… why?…”

And the Stars, and Galaxies, and Universes, picked up my echo, and all vibrated with…

WHY!… WHY!… WHy!… Why!… why!…” But from THEIR voices, it was not a question, but a statement…

The Omniverse completes the statement… “Love. My LOVE!”

And I see. I know, but not comprehend… the answer to all “Why?”…

“Love. His/Her Love.”…

“Yes.”

The Song… It is so beautiful… I no longer hear it… I no longer sing it…

I am a… a Note. NO! More than a “note”, I am a Harmony WITHIN it! Yes!

The Song is:

Love… MY Love…

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. [Psalm 19]

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Quiet Time, Uncategorized

 

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