Saturday, January 15, 2011

to see, to know, to walk with God

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011
for the new year

I met a lion once ... in a dream.

I sat in a crowded room among people of the faith when a light came down from heaven, shining in that dark place, alighting from the night sky.  It hovered among us like the Spirit of God hovered among the waters of creation.  Then it descended upon me and I was filled with it, with life and warmth and brightness - so bright that I was rendered completely blind.  I thought that, should I never see again, it would be worth losing my sight forever to look upon and be filled with this light.  For this blindness was not a darkness, but a blindness of pure light.

That is when I saw them: Two great eyes.  They were larger than I had ever seen or known before, like two great cities.  Only the eyes, they weren't ... human.  They were like the eyes of a great beast, like the eyes of a cat, a great and terrifying cat: A lion.  They were so fearsome and so golden-green that I was afraid - suddenly very afraid.

Then I recognized those eyes; they were not the eyes of a monster come to torment me.  I looked upon the very eyes of the Lion of Judah, the eyes of God.

"Do not be afraid," they said, in the way that eyes have of speaking.  And in those eyes I was given ... a view of myself.

I am convinced that, if we were to look into the eyes of God we would find that they aren't human.  They aren't human eyes at all.  We think that we are created in His image and we are, but what if all creation is in His image?  Is he not called the Lion of Judah?   The lamb who was slain?  Did He not appear as a pillar of cloud, a tower of fire?  Was his wrath not visited upon Pharaoh as plagues?  Maybe God isn't just like a lion, a pretty simile, a vivid metaphor.  Maybe a lion is like God.  Maybe it was created that way to reflect a part of him of which we can only dream?  Who says that God's face looks like our faces?  Maybe it looks like the face of creation.  It is not an attempt to minimize the uniqueness of humanity and our divine relationship with the creator, but maybe all of creation is made in the image of God, a reflection of His many facets, an image of his hugeness and His complexity.  We stare into space and see a nebula so massive and so far away - it looks like a human eye.  We call it the Eye of God.  But I wonder if it isn't the eye of His creation, and we, the earth, are but a brain cell...

*    *    *

I saw the universe once ... in a dream.

I was standing in an open place, a desert place, and a man stood before me.  He was bare-chested; his muscles were sinewy from manual labor, his skin was smooth and brown.  I knew him immediately; he was Christ the man, a carpenter by trade, a Middle Eastern by birth, a Jew.  I recognized him, however, not by his description but by his presence; he was my friend, my lover.  I knew this man, though we had never met this way, though I had never seen him before.  I went to him, my hand out-stretched, longing to touch him and to feel his embrace.  I placed that hand on his chest, on his heart, a heart I had seen and heard so many times before, a heart that I had sought and had had the privilege finding upon occasion.  I sought it now.  I touched his skin and I felt the flesh and blood of his body ... and then my hand passed through as if passing through water.  I looked at him in surprise and wonder as he drew me in - but not into his arms - into himself.  

I stepped into Christ and inside I found ... the sun, a sun and stars and planets, a universe.  The sun was at the center like it was his heart and everything else revolved around it and from it got its life.  It was like I stood with him, in him, on the edge of time, and I saw the universe.

It was beautiful. It was wondrous!  The planets, the constellations, the movement of the heavens, it was like his circulatory system, his heart-beat, his breath.

I wonder if we looked into the heart of God if we would find that it isn't ... human.  It is the heart of creation, a sun of fire and love and light and passion such that it sustains all life, yet its power and heat and intensity, its holiness, is more than we can bear; it would consume us.  It would destroy us.  

This is the glory of God!

*     *     *

I had a vision of God once ... in a dream while I was still awake.  Later I would write...

March 23, 2008

God is so gentle.

I was in the chapel, nested in one of the simple, wooden pews.  The light filtered in through the stained glass in soft shafts that made the ceiling seem grander and the room itself simpler, like a tiny, country church tucked in the woods somewhere.  I looked and it was as if Christ himself stood inside the doorway.  Then a presence, very like a mist, filled the air.  Suddenly I recognized that God the Almighty was there, and His majesty and splendour and HUGENESS caused the very atoms of the place to fly apart; yet His very nature as Creator caused them all to come back together again simultaneously. (Thus the constant flux of atoms in matter in motion.)

That is God.  He cannot be contained by space and time ~ it bursts apart at His glory.  The people of the old testament heard from Him and were so afraid they begged Him not to speak.  They saw Him and His brilliance blinded them and they could not stand to behold Him face-to-face.  He is overwhelming, to say the least.  His wrath is beyond our comprehension.

Yet He is gentle.  He weaves the delicate patterns of the universe and the fragile threads of time together for our sake, to be in relationship with us.  This awesome God, this Almighty I Am, He chooses to offer Himself gently to His Bride.  He always has.  Even in the days of the earthquakes and pillars of fire and cloud, He was gentle.  With Moses He spoke intimately in the tent of meeting.  To Elijah He came in a whisper at the entrance of his cave.  But my favorite example is Enoch.

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
Genesis 5:24

Enoch walked with God.  And one day, as they walked together, it was as if they looked and saw that they were a little closer to God’s house than to Enoch’s.  And God invited him Home.

I love walks. I always have.  Perhaps it’s because my mom loved to go for walks and to go hiking and that was our only real family time.  Perhaps it’s because I’m a quality time person and taking walks together is a glorious opportunity to talk and just be with each other for a while.  Whatever the reason, it was God’s gentleness that made me think of this passage in Genesis and imagine what it would be like to walk with God. 

God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, in the cool of the evening.  Those kind of walks, they’re not power-walks.  They’re not hurry-up-and-get-where-we’re-going walks.  They’re a physical representation of relationship.  Wherever you’re going, you’re going together, and that’s probably more important than the getting there.  Sometimes it’s fast.  Sometimes it’s slow.  There is no power struggle, no perfect way, just together, and you explore whatever you come to, and you deal with whatever obstacles appear in your path.

I haven’t been walking that way.  In the last four years I have been walking to find something, to get somewhere, to accomplish something, almost like I’m looking for the point.  And somewhere along the line I forgot how to be grateful.

I have pursued intimacy like a beggar, freedom like one starved, understanding like one desperate for a drink.  I have demanded perfection, lost grace, and found bits of myself in the process.  And in my greatest failure I experienced the greatest love ~ literally.  God lavished me with adoration when I least deserved it.  I remember it well.  It was the moment that I finally gave up control.

I suppose the point is this:  The gentle revelation of God’s heart invites me to walk with Him, just walk with Him, to give up my striving and any desire to control.  And in that gentle place of sweet release I can laugh and I can cry, I can see and receive and overcome whatever comes without trying to accomplish or possess, without blaming or even needing to understand, without knowledge of the future but with hope.

And so that is what I ask as I venture once again into resurrection life.

What would it be like to walk with God?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your thoughts!