Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Nutshell

"Here it is in a nutshell:

Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.

Passing laws against sinning only produced more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end." Romans 5 The Message

It was high summer and I had found a labyrinth built into a secluded grove at St. John's Episcopal Church. Flagstones planted in the soil spiraled out from the center. Surrounded by fireweed and forget-me-nots I stepped into the center of that spiral Universe and began my prayer journey.

If you know me and have been in a worship service with me, you have seen a full on Holy Ghost Holy Dancer. I am a Catholic who discovered Pentecost. I get unashamedly jubilant when God is in the House, a true joyful noise maker, a Riverdancer barefoot in the sacred river. I love the free expression of worship Pentecostals encourage.

Most people would not guess that the quiet, thoughtful, patient prayer life sings to me as well. The closed within garden walls, "Let's walk just the two of us," day trip where Christ whispers, feeds me. This particular day I was looking for quiet and almost found it. What I got was sacred stillness.

Cars passed in the distance, planes flew overhead, bees buzzed, grass in the corners of the stones sighed under my steps. I quieted my mind and turned my thoughts to a familiar scripture from Isaiah, "Thou wilt keep in perfect peace one whose mind is stayed on Thee." I moved slowly drinking in the semi-stillness. I stopped on each stone breathing in and letting it out slowly on a whispered prayer.

Then I heard it, the absolute and utter, fully alive, shattering stillness. How long had it been there enveloping me? Surely only seconds before I noticed it. Then a sound. A faint but determined pounding. A sustained rhythm. A heart beat. My soul leaps soundlessly as a child turns inside its mother. I am hearing God's beating heart as a child sheltered deep within its mother hears her heart pumping life into its own limbs. Life-life. Life-life.

He is here in this garden and I am in Him. Not in Him in some Pagan Pantheistic way, but really in the One, True, Living God. The God of all Creation is enfolding me, embracing me and body, mind, soul, spirit I am aware, My Wonderful God, am I aware of it. The life of God is pulsing throughout the Creation and I hear it. The answer to "Is there life out there?" is YES!

The scriptures tell us that in Christ all things consist. In Him we live and move and have our being. That knowledge was driven home to me in a spiral of stones, in a moment where what had been true in my mind became evident by experience, became a moment I remember and treasure. Like Adam I walked with God in the Garden. My awareness of how vast that garden really is increased exponentially.

The scripture in the Message says "Christ got us into life. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end."

No wonder the earth became shrouded in darkness as he suffered and died in our place. In Him all things consist. But as life left His body, grace was reanimating us so that our life in Him could go on forever and sin and death be vanquished, silenced, so that God's own beating heart of love could be heard by every soul on its journey. Jesus got us into Life! A World-Without-End-Life. A life where wild worship dances and quiet soulful walks in a spiritual garden or companionable journeys on the Emmaus road are possible.

Remove your shoes and dance or hush your soul, whichever you choose but open your heart and listen to the blood drops striking the cold, hard ground of sin. His heart beats. A drop falls. Drop-drop. Drop-drop. Grace embracing us. Drop-drop. Drop-drop. Pumping through us. His dying heart pumping Life into ours. Life-life! Life-life! Life-life! Life-life! Ours! The Beginning of a New Beginning. First death then Resurrection. The Garden calling. Perfume escaping.

Jesus Messiah
Anointed One of Our Desire
Jesus Our Life
Our Grace Giver
Our Aggressive Forgiver
Our On-And-On

At the Cross, at the Cross, where I first saw the light...

He has packed so much life into that nutshell!

No comments:

Post a Comment