Ok, so I haven't really lost count (it is day eight), but I'm tired of that as a headline, so moving on…
I am reading the book by Ed Piorek (Vineyard pastor and conference speaker) entitled The Father Loves You: An invitation to perfect love. One of the main purposes of my sabbatical is to reignite a passionate connection to God the Father, Whom I like to call Abba, which is the Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) for the familiar form of father, more akin to our Daddy. As I walk each day in the morning, I am also listening to the book Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. A fascinating mix of Christian spirituality, to say the least. Here is Piorek, a pastor in one of the most modern expressions of the Church, along with St. John of the Cross, a 16th century Spanish Catholic monk and mystical poet, talking about some of the very same spiritual truths. Piorek in terms of connecting with the Father in intimate ways, and St. John in terms of connecting with God in perfect union.
I need that.
I really need that.
So call me a mystic; call me a hopeless charismatic. But my spirit cries out for a more intimate communion with God.
Why are most Christians afraid of intimacy with God? Oh, they won't call it fear, but that is what it is. Most will call it being uncomfortable with a spirituality that speaks in terms of intimacy with the Creator. And yet, Christian spirituality is full of such imagery. The more serious one becomes in one's spiritual journey, the more intimacy with God becomes important. But most Christians are content to talk ABOUT God and to sing ABOUT God and to pray in terms that keep God at a distance.
Bette Midler sang a song back in the 80's that echoes the spirituality of many Christians today: "God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us from a distance…"
It seems that many in the Church are content to objectify God, to make Him the object of worship. But you can't get very close to an object (at least, you shouldn't!). It seems to me that if Jesus taught us anything, He taught us that God desires to be in a subjective relationship with His children. He called God Abba, and invited His followers to do the same. Not that we are to abandon speaking of and worshipping God as The Almighty, but that we are to establish and nurture an intimate relationship with Daddy.
For most Christians, it is more comfortable to sing "Praise to the LORD, the Almighty, the King of Creation!" than to sing "I will be Yours, You will be mine, together in Eternity…" And yet, there must be room for both, not only in the Church, but in each Christian's spirituality. The nature of worship these days seems to be one or the other: "traditional worship" being the more objectified approach, and "contemporary worship" being the more subjectified one. The Church should be comfortable with both, but by and large, it is not. Christians should be comfortable with both.
"Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away." (Song 2:10) God beckons us into a deeper, more intimate and personal relationship.
I really need that.