I love this moment that God has me in, for each morning there seems little doubt that "manna" awaits. If I understand that word, it means "what is it," a Hebrew expression of surprise.
This present journey is a surprise, a moment to come up higher, and learn even deeper, the things long woven into the fabric of my faith.
Just this morning as I again picked up Kushner's book, only short way into the chapter entitled, "I Will Fear No Evil For Thou Art With Me," my spirit was triggered by his definition of theology versus religion. Theology he says, "is talking to us about God", while religion is "encountering God." My mind pushed me even further toward the thought of a higher plane of intimacy, that of becoming one with God!
As I wrote this blog, I struggled with the caution that always emerges given my understanding of theology and my long practiced religious doctrines. Then marriage came to mind, "the two become one" as we are taught throughout scripture. The raw intimacy interwoven in the Song of Solomon, and then in the New Testament, an even stronger reinforcement by way of the concept of Bride of Christ.
The essence of the Christian faith is that God became flesh and dwelt among us. The God-man perhaps more than just a demonstration of who YHWH was, though so in contrast with the religion of His day that He was executed. Regardless of His water to wine, lame healed, dead raised miracles, religion had won. Yet, religion has never yet produced a dead body, though hundreds saw the ressurected one (excuse my tendency to preach).
Was this not only a demonstartion of this God of grace, but also evidence of what is possible by the Spirit in the life of a human? "Christ in us, the hope of glory!!"
Jesus was the full-on demonstration of what is possible upon the infilling of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost even provided the proof in Peter and others.
Cessation is the religious doctrine that emerged when the institutional church reverted to religion over intimate relationship. God in the flesh, the Christ, was a revelation of what religion could never produce.
The reality of the latter seems to reemerge and then relapse about every 500 years, as religion tamps down the reality of the power of Christ in us. Yet, it only sharpens the felt lonliness and eventual hunger that builds within our species over the generations. I believe we are on the cusp of another Awakening!
It is our choice however, one that comes only with submission, though unexplainably, always through grace, the unmerited favor of God. This God invoked conundrum surely prevents our understanding, such that it cannot be articially induced, or religion and now technology would surely try.
Am I asserting some ego driven heresy, founded in some subtle, beguiling Messianic complex? I think if I were, I would not be wrestling with the notion, given a life threatening moment! Why now, why me?
My whole life has been about high risk fits and starts, each crafting within me treasured stories. Stories that somehow reflect the hand of God on one less obedient than those typically endorsed by the Church. I have never fit the mold, though always having known the Calling of God, and when willing to risk my very future, witnessing some phenomenal moments with God, both in the sanctuaries and in the streets of the cities in which I have lived!
I am willing to risk again!
Like Moses, after having fled his initial and privileged upbringing in Pharoah's house, the moment which I am experiencing seems as intimate as his burning bush moment with the I Am.
Just as with Moses, this moment seems reinforced by the providence of my childhood. His was an undeniable redemption, discovered by Pharoah's daughter after having been placed by his mother in a small "ark made of bulrushes, coated with pitch," floating in the Nile, when most children his age were being slaughtered.
After his fight and flight moment, God would again enter his life in a powerful way, even when he struggled with confidence. God always brought around him the support needed for his calling.
Short of the Ark in the Nile, this screams my life!
I can no longer deny my privileged journey with God for fear of being misunderstood! My fifty years of allowing theology to speak to me of God by way of scripture, nutured by way of preparation for teaching others, paralleled by a deep religious practice alongside some of the best of the Church's select. All this has convinced my faith.
Short of a few years of rebellion, I have tried to live faithful to my calling. When inadequacies prevailed, whether financially, academically, even physically, I have repeatly surrendered my ego, learning to wait for the next moment of provision.
This moment now seems the most bewildering, yet just as occasionally when walking the streets of her beloved Blowing Rock, my wife, LaDonna slips her warm palm into my hand with a squeeze of love, so it seems with the Christ in this moment. And, it's new every morning!
This moment however transcends any previous safe theology, and pulls me outside the comfortable framework of my religion, though stretching my spirit.
"Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."
I hear, "Come up higher", and I must!