Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23rd

If I were to write what I really wanted to write, I would write about how delicious Jesus is, and how much I am in love with Him.

I know the way others experience and know God is a sacred mystery, one that lies between their spirit and God's Spirit.

I've absorbed this lesson so well that sometimes I hesitate to talk about the way in which I know Him, because I wonder if it is of any use to others, who have their own deep and personal relationship to Him.

But I think we tell our stories not to conform, or to be conformed, but, in the best sense, to be encouraged by another person's journey to go deeper into our own. That is what I have found to be true for myself, in any case.

So, if I were to tell my story right now, I would want to talk about how I wake up to Him and go to sleep to Him and I find Him with me all day long. And He is tender and loving and true.

I read His written words and I feel an awe that is close to fear, because of the authority with which He is speaking, and because I understand so little of what He is saying.

It must be something like being married to a royal person, and knowing them as a person in the house, and then hearing a bit of their official speech, and remembering all over again with a kind of fear and wonder, that they have the whole kingdom under their authority.

A couple days ago, I was skimming quickly through St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Commentary on the Song of Songs, because Richard Rohr mentioned it in one of his daily meditations.

In one chapter called In the Rooms of the King, St. Bernard talks about his contemplation of the verse, "the King has brought me into His rooms," Songs 1:4.

Bernard describes his vision of three specific rooms of the King that he feels he has been in, in a spiritual sense. He sums them up as discipline, nature and grace- the last one, grace, being a bedroom.

He talks about the bedroom being the place where God goes to find ease and intimate companionship, as opposed to the other rooms, where God is operating out of His place as Judge and Creator, which are solemn and unnerving places to find oneself.

I was fascinated by Bernard's description. I had a similar contemplative experience last fall, when I was reading the book of Revelations for the first time in years, which was a purely terrifying experience.

In fact, I was so terrified that I was understanding almost nothing of what I was reading. It was merely a moving jumble of violent, graphic images without sense or perspective. Not that I've ever really understood that book at all, of course.

I had to stop reading. Jesus reminded me that my life was hidden in Him, so no matter what was happening or why, I was safely tucked away. I continued reading with half my mind on the book and the other half constantly holding on to the thought that I was hidden in Him.

I reached the part where it talks about the throne room, and it seemed to me that the room was full of sacred and important persons. The room was full.

My heart dropped as I realized this. This is a ridiculously childish thought, taking as it does this whole thing literally, and I am embarrassed to be admitting to it, but I had always this idea, in the corner of my mind, that I would find some small corner near Jesus and hide out there, as close and as inconspicuous as possible.

But at that time, when I was reading, I thought there was no place for me and that I would never be near Him at all. I felt there was no way I could even enter that room.

I thought to myself, "I'm never going to see Him! I'll be like Zaccheus, trying to get a glimpse of Jesus merely as He passes by on other business. There's no place for me."

And then He spoke. He said, There is a place for you, and it is very close to Me.

And I saw a room. It was a lush, opulent room, dimly lit. I noticed right away that there were no windows. It was full of couches, cushions and hanging drapes. It was not at all decorated to my taste and I couldn't figure out why Jesus would put me in a room that had no windows.

I knew immediately, almost in the way one knows things in dreams, that the rooms were not actually mine at all; they were His.

It was His private room, but I would be or was living in them. So there would never be any actual separation between us at all. He would never have to go out of His way to come to me; in the natural course of events, we would be running into each other all day long. He would have to go out of His way to avoid me.

Then, a week or so later, I was reading in the Psalms. I was reading one of my favorite psalms, that has been my favorite since I was fifteen or sixteen, because of these verses:

"Hear, O daughter, consider, submit, and consent to my instruction: forget also your own people and your father’s house;

So will the King desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, be submissive and reverence and honor Him."

So I was reading that psalm, and I came to this verse:

" The King’s daughter in the inner part [of the palace]..."

And I got goosebumps. I just sat there, thinking over and over again about how she was in the inner part, the inner chamber- it was why the room had no windows.

Anyway, that's the sort of thing I would write, if I were simply to write.