Monday, May 9, 2011

Desert Time, pt.3

[author's note: i have been reading Wilfrid Stinissen's little book: Into Your Hands, Father, and it brought to mind this an essay i wrote several years ago. i thought i would share it with you. it is rather long, so i'm brining it forward in several parts.]

Desert Time, pt. 1

At this point you are probably asking, “Does this mean if we are to ever really find God then we must time-travel and convert to hermitry, roping ourselves off into the wilderness?” Well, before we dismiss this option out of hand, you might be interested in knowing that modern-day Hermits actually still exist! It’s true. There really are people who have chosen to follow the path of silence and solitude in order to search for God. 
But no, I’m not suggesting that the desert is the only place to find God.
Having said that, however, I would in turn ask a question: If the desert makes no sense to you, then where will you go to find God? You see, just because the desert seems to be impractical to the American Christian, does that mean we are relieved of our calling of surrender to him, our calling to know him, to love him, to pursue him and to obey him?
I don’t think so. 
One way to grasp what I am saying is to remember that what we are here describing is the essential, basic movement of men and women as they pursue God in Christ – asking how is it to be done in the post-modern world? But what I am also arguing is that this basic movement is real only as we seek GOD by giving him our time
Abraham Heschel 
We who are on the Jesus-way actually learned about this from the Old Testament, as theologian Abraham Heschel attempts to drive home in one of his most famous books entitled, The Sabbath. He reminds us that in the Ten Commandments the term holy was applied to one word only, the Sabbath.  Heschel goes on to say in the opening chapter of his book: 
He who wants to enter into the holiness of the day must first lay down the profanity of clattering commerce, of being yoked to toil…He must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man. Six days a week we wrestle with the world…on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in our soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else.
I would go even further by saying that, while giving the Sabbath and my soul is a good place to start, the LORD actually demands more than this from me. I would characterize God’s claim on us by saying that he calls for each of my days, each of my moments, and each bounce of my heart. 
Still another way to get at what I am saying is to ask, “Are we so busy doing the necessary (living life) that we have finally neglected and refused the ultimate (The Living, Holy God)?”
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was worrying over the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it – and I won't take it away from her.’" (Luke 10:38-42 NLT)
This TEXT is so powerful and so provocative: There is really only one thing worth being concerned about…” says Jesus, Mary has discovered it – and I won't take it away from her…” (?) 
Well, for heaven’s sake we would know that one thing? What could it be?
Could it be the presence of the Christ? Could it be that what we need, now more than anything else, is to really find our way to the feet of the living Christ, who is the life- giving Spirit? Could it be that we have settled for a knowledge-based faith – fat with church training notebooks, mountains of commentaries and twenty years of sermon notes, but barren of interior truth.  Could it be what we really need is an experiential faith – a search for God that begins at the feet of Jesus Christ? Could it be that since we left-off our desert search for God that it is our soul now that is desert and desolate? 
There is really only one thing worth being concerned about.
 Mary has discovered it – and I won't take it away from her.’"
So, what is the one thing that consumes you? What is your passion? What is the greatest desire of your heart? What is the center of you universe? Is it to know God?