Thursday, December 14, 2006

In Awe


Unlike most other relationships that have begun to fade, a walk with God is immediately refreshed and renewed by the simple intentional act of a receipt of grace.

Yesterday I spoke of spiritual listlessness. I prayed to trust more, to focus on gratitude. This morning I am shaken by a sense of transcendent touch.

One of my seminary professors, Bob Tuttle, often said that the moment you desire to be in the center of God’s will you are there. Just the desire to commune with God, then, becomes communion. There’s no waiting period, no probationary apprenticeship you must repeat in order to prove yourselves worthy of his presence. Turn your feet toward his basin, and your heart is cleansed once more.

I’m continuing to read Brennan Manning’s marvelous book Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God. Early this morning I tried to get my arms around his chapter on the glory of God, the profound mystery of the deity. Manning asserts—and I fully agree—that the tendency of institutionalized religion is to transform imperfect analogy into dogmatic and systematic truth, to break God down into bite-sized, empirical morsels so we can full absorb him and then know just how we and others “should” live.

We want to get our arms around not just chapters about God’s mystery but the mystery himself. But God is so much more, and the wiser men and women grow the less they know about him. To authentically embrace a life of faith and trust, then, is to surrender to awe—and the results are worship, love, obedience, service, discipleship, etc., all the things we attempt to engender through doctrine and discipline.

Making a nod to Moses and his request to see the glory of God, Manning offers:

“…a fleeting, incomplete glimpse of God’s back—the obscure yet real, penetrating, and transforming experience of his incomparable glory—awakens a dormant trust. Something is afoot in the universe, Someone filled with transcendent brightness, wisdom, ingenuity, and power and goodness is about. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, somewhere deep down a Voice whispers, “All is well, and all will be well.”

Lord, help me to never again lose my hunger for your mystery and wonder. Keep my heart from growing distracted by the pitfalls of religion, and instead uplifted by the immeasurable heights of your mercy and grace.


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