Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Realm of the Spirit

I finally have had a morning in which I was able to sit with God for some time and truly "rest in the spirit."  This past weekend I attended a book festival, Sunday I preached in Akron and yesterday I spent much of the day finish reading a book for book group.

And now today, the great blessing of time in solitude.  I have just begun a new book by Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our Lives for Spiritual Transformation and today I read about creating space for God in solitude.  Perfect for this morning I could literally feel the soul renewal from being alone with God.

Her chapter on Solitude begins with this quote by Parker Palmer

"The soul is like a wild animal - tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, self-sufficient.  It knows how to survive in hard places.  But it is also shy.  Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush.  If we want to see a wild animal, we know that the last thing we should do is go crashing through the woods yelling for it to come out.  But if we will walk quietly into the woods, sit patiently by the base of the tree, and fade into our surroundings, the wild animal we seek might put in an appearance."   From A Hidden Wholeness

After a busy weekend, I was longing for solitude, to be in a place where (to quote Ruth Haley Barton)
"I can give myself with abandon to the lover of my soul, knowing that i am completely safe from anyone else's curious gaze or judgmental glance."  She writes about how Jesus seeks to guide his disciples - then and now into " rhythms of solitude, community and ministry."  What I know for sure is that it is in solitude that I reconnect and find myself in what I would call the "realm of the spirit."

I spent time today with the three daily lectionary readings, all of which had verses that I spoke to me.

 Isaiah 44:
But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen! Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you in the womb and will help you: Do not fear, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams.

I remember you formed me in the womb and that you come and offer me living water.

Psalm 119: 10
 With my whole heart I seek you;
     do not let me stray from your commandmen

This is what Ruth Haley Barton writes:
Your desire for more of God than you have right now,
 your longing for love, your need for deeper levels of spiritual transformation than you have experienced so far is the truest thing about you
. You might think that your woundedness or your sinfulness is the truest thing about you
 or that your giftedness or your personality type
 or your job title or your identity as husband or wife, mother or father, somehow defines you.
  But in reality, it is your desire for God and your capacity to reach for more of God than you have right now
 that is the deepest essence of who you are."

Acts 2
spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

God's spirit is real and it is poured out on us and on me. And it gives  inspiration, hope  and power.

As I sat down to be with God this morning I said - as I always do: "I am hear to be with you"
and I wrote this

Come to me, fill me
You cannot fill me when I am full - so may I be empty today
you cannot fill me when I am on the run - so may I be still\
you cannot fill me when I am closed off - so may I be open

 I come again today to be here - with you - to wait in your realm of the Spirit
so that my soul might be watered, my spirit renewed and my life might bear fruit.
May it be so.

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