Whether anything will ever come of my writing is becoming less and less significant. The conviction of my heart rather, did I honestly share my own thoughts or did I like so many, merely comply with the thinking of others? The latter is what I have observed in my sixty plus years of participation in the denomination laden religion of Christianity.
I can say that I have had phenomenal moments within my corporate experience of worship and have tasted of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the organic Church. Remember, I am fourth generation Pentecostal!
My life however, and for many reasons, has had the privilege of exposure to multiple denominations, and now multiple beliefs. During that journey it has been my practice to filter all my learnings through a disciplined reading of scripture. Perhaps that is what is now driving me to share more openly in my second semester of life?
This morning, I was again compelled to post given conversations of late, as I contemplated two of my favorite online devotionals, Ravi Zacharias; Slice of Infinity (1), their tag line by the way is “HELPING THE THINKER BELIEVE. HELPING THE BELIEVER THINK” and Richard Rohr (2)!
First from Ravi and writer Margaret Manning’s Unfolding Narrative: “Indeed, those who follow Jesus ought never to forget that God entered time to enact the new creation in Christ’s resurrection. As we grow in our understanding of that timeless act, the events of our temporal lives act as sign-markers for eternity. And while we often see the significance of our time-bound events “through a mirror darkly,” the day will come when “all things are subjected to Him…that God may be all in all.”(3)
Manning continues to allude to the progressive revelation of scripture, ““I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai) but by my name ‘the Lord (Yahweh)’ I did not make myself known.”(2) Within the long ministry of the prophets, a God is revealed who gradually discloses what will take place. Isaiah presents the God who “proclaims to you new things from this time; even hidden things which you have not known. They are created now, and not long ago: and before today you have not heard them” (Isaiah 48:6-7).”
There is something that happens with time and aging that causes one to dare think! “Come let us reason together” were Isaiah’s words (1:18, KJV). What God shared with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was a lesser revelation than that of Moses, and even that incomplete without the revelation of the Prophets.
What the Prophets shared could have been easily misconstrued had God not chosen to fully cloth Himself in flesh in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Still yet, post resurrection, the Holy Spirit continues to unfold the mystery of God, as men and women remain open or as Rohr concludes, via the work of contemplative Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968), die to one’s false self.
“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. . . .”(4)
The Apostle Peter in his more mellow years wrote: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (II Pet 3:9 NIV). One of God’s promises was to Hagar, the mother of Ismael. “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.” (5)
Is that perhaps what is going on in these “last days” as Muslims by the droves come to a new revelation of Isa, Jesus the revered one?
Then a little closer to home, I cannot help but be stirred by the recent and I believe honest confession of an “elder” in the Hindu faith during my recent visit to a local Puja. I felt “strangely warmed” as he spoke of his pursuit of the Creator. The gathering lasted more than two hours as “prayers” were offered in preparation for the construction of a new temple in the Village of Clemmons. Don’t discount this stirring of hearts, as God is up to something big! The danger is thinking that you know what that “Big” looks like!
For those now totally on edge, I offer clarity as to my point of view. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”-Jesus.
Be careful as you look through this “mirror darkly” for when you think you have it figured out, just know that well intended people have been wrong before! “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and people say, ‘Look at him! He’s a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”(6).
4 Ibid, Rohr 8/18/15.