Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 21st

It feels like a Monday after a very busy, messy seven day weekend.

Since the Army is processing Keith's job change like a move, he was given all this time to "clear post" which normally means running around turning things in and getting paperwork signed.

But since we aren't actually moving, there was really nothing to be done except drive gas powered trucks and have people over to visit. In fact, we had visits back to back, which was like walking the gauntlet for this introvert.

I made it through, by the skin of my teeth, and now it is Wednesday and grey and cloudy, but the bushes in front of the house have put out fresh green shoots and the weeds are flourishing along the fence line.

I learned something, in the past week or so. I can't share it all at once, so I will share it in pieces.

Lately I've been working on Torii, and doing so takes a lot of my concentration. At the end of one day, I got up from the computer with this hunger to spend some time with God.

That night I went to bed early, thinking maybe I would read for a while, but I couldn't manage to keep my concentration on the book. I simply turned out the lamp and gave in to this feeling, this desire to be with God.

I called out to Him by His names. There is something very powerful and also very pleasurable about calling on the name of God.

He has such beautiful names anyway: the Lion of Judah, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the root and branch of David, the Bright and Morning Star. It's like poetry just to say them.

He was there before I had even called out to Him. In fact, I suspect that I was longing for Him because He was first calling to me.

I was gathered up close to Him and worshiping Him was like breathing. Or, it was like my spirit was caught up by breakers, swept up into the bright spray and then pulled down in the clear and sounding depths and then swept up again.

But that is just a metaphor. Yesterday, I was thinking about the worship of God, and how intimate it is, and I remembered, with a kind of shock, the way I used to think about worship. That is, going to church and worshiping God for thirty minutes in a room, in a group setting and by direction.

I was struck by how strange that concept seems to me now.

It's like if a married couple decided to be intimate, instead of becoming intimate, they got in their car and drove to another building and met with a group, and stood and sang songs about how great being intimate is, and then all sat and heard a lecture on how to become better at being intimate and then got in their car and drove home feeling satisfied that they'd been intimate.

There were times, even recently, when I worshiped and met with God in a church service, but gosh! How much more there is to be found.

And it doesn't have to have anything to do with one's emotional state. I am an intensely emotional person, and God stirs my emotions very deeply, but that is not necessarily worship.

It's something about recognition, I think. I think it has to do with the recognition of God and of oneself in relation to God. And because we are all unique, and we all meet with God as individuals, our worship of Him is an intimate and unique thing.

It is as though we turn to Him. In order to do that, we must be able to lift our face to Him, which is difficult to do if we haven't learned who we truly are.

Richard Rohr, in Hidden Things wrote:

"It seems that this Yahweh who is uncovering and showing Himself in the Bible desires not just images and ideas, but even persons with whom God can be in very concrete and intimate relationship. God is creating, quite literally, some friends for Himself!

"...Yet God does not settle for mandated or fear-based relationships, but rather desires willing and free relationships with "friends" (John 15:15) It is called a "new covenant" (Jeremiah 31:31; Luke 22:20), but one that is still a quite new and unbelievable possibility for most people.

"C.S. Lewis's last work of fiction was a book called Til We Have Faces: A Myth Retold. In this reinterpretation of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, he illustrated how hard it is for God to give us a "face," to create a partner for conscious relationship. God has to play Cupid to our Psyche, it seems."

This isn't a relationship reserved for the "special" few- it's an identity that belongs to every one of us. We are all the beloved of God. He is calling to every one of us.

But if we believe that we don't deserve or aren't ready for intimacy with God, then it is very likely that we won't experience it, or will experience it only brokenly.

I'm beginning to understand that we must first believe we can look God in the face before we can see Him face to face.