This past Lent I sensed that my life was at a turning point, so I set myself the task of wondering what straws in the wind might give me a sense of the way forward that God was pointing me to. There were a number of ideas that had energy in them, some I’ve had for some time, others were new, but when I reflected on them afterwards they seemed to hold together as a whole. If these things are true what else do I need to know? All that remains is to grow in my trust of them.
I Jesus stood within a religious tradition but was able to stand back from it, and to challenge it, based on his direct relationship with God, mediated through:
His own spiritual experience: based on his call at his baptism;
His time spent in prayer;
God speaking directly to him through his observations of everyday life;
Angels supporting him after his baptism, in human form through Martha and Mary, Joseph of Aramathea, Nicodemus, Simon of Cyrene, the man who lent his donkeys, and whoever lent him the use of an upper room etc
My experience is that Jesus’ pattern is true for me and probably for all: a loving God has already given us most of what we need to know about God & life, not least through our Memories of Home; most people have some spiritual experience; prayer is as natural as breathing, & we are better at it than we think; God will teach us what else we need to know through our everyday experience of life; and angels appear to support us on our journey.
2 John’s Gospel talks of Jesus being with God from the beginning, incarnating God on this earth, and then returning to God after his death. I think that this is true for every human being. We come from God at our births, incarnate something of God in our earthly lives, and return to God on our deaths. Whatever we incarnate is eternal.
We come at our births bringing with us ‘Memories of the Home’ we have left behind. Memories of such things as Beauty, Love, Peace, Hospitality, Friendship, Kindness, Compassion, Creativity, and Wonder. These memories guide our awareness of what awaits us after death, and undergird the gifts that we possess.
We are each given the necessary gifts to incarnate God. All the gifts are equally important [cf Paul on ‘the body’]. Love rules them all.
The use of them is life-giving for us too.
We are tempted to mis-use our gifts as Jesus was: to use them for our own benefit rather than for the benefit of other; to seek external glory by our use of them; and to use them to gain power over others.
God is incarnated not only in every human being, but in everything that God has created.. Every flower, animal, rock, breath of air etc incarnates something of God.
I prefer these days to talk not of spiritual direction but of having spiritual conversations. I can have these not only with my fellow human beings, but with everything that God has created.
3 As I listen to people talk about their experience of God, I notice some common themes, and feel an obligation to share them, wondering ‘what is God up to here?’ Spiritual direction/ spiritual conversations lead into Prophecy.
The institutional churches are in decline; people are being led to place authority internally, within themselves, rather than externally; there is increasing call to the solitary life; a blooming of domestic spirituality; a growth in the desire to visit ’holy places’; God is sought & found in nature, through the arts, and the human body; personal creativity is increasingly valued, and there is concern for the poor & marginalised, and much interest in inter-faith enquiry.
These themes are not confined to Christians, many who profess no overt religious faith are very articulate in naming and acting on them. God’s call is to men & women of all faith traditions and of none
4 My sense is that the Cosmic Christ is offering us a new vision of reality:
where the water becomes wine and bread is multiplied;
where all are welcome in a new temple without walls, is raised up;
where eyes & ears are opened;
where the outcast are included and all are set free;
where the Sabbath behind the sabbath is observed;
and where dying leads to eternal life.
5 In a world where increasingly the major issues affect everybody, God is calling all God’s people to unite behind a corporate vision. There are many paths up the mountain, and only one Divine figure at the top, Who is calling us to put our differences aside & to affirm, learn from, and support each other in our spiritual quest. All are children of the Divine.