Disclaimer: I wrote this for Fellowship’s newsletter this week. To catch you up on what’s happened, we had a Land Dedication this past Sunday for the land we have recently purchased. The theme of the morning was the consecration, setting aside as holy, of both our land and ourselves for God’s use. It was a wonderful Sunday and an incredible experience of faith and prayer at our land dedication. That should catch you up if you aren’t a member of Fellowship. Enjoy!
I am currently reading The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald G. May. His book explores the writings of Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross and their experiences of what John calls, “the dark night of the soul.” By this dark night they refer to the times in life where God’s presence or working in one’s life seems obscure and hard to see. Much like the recently highly publicized darkness experienced by Mother Teresa as she confessed for much of her life she had trouble sensing God’s presence. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross both state that these desperate times are necessary for authentic spiritual growth and vital to our experiencing both joy and freedom.
I read this passage this morning, and in light of our wonderful experience of worship and consecration this most recent Sunday, I wanted to share it with you and extrapolate it a bit for our purposes. May writes,
“ […] Each soul is a living desire for God. God is love, and God creates every person out of love and because of love, for the purpose of love. We may be unaware of it, but we are all born with a natural and lifelong yearning for the fulfillment of love. ‘At the end of the day,’ John says, ‘you will be examined in love.’ Inasmuch as the whole person is an embodiment of love’s desire for fulfillment, each aspect of the person, each sense and faculty, is also filled with that desire. To use John’s language, each sense and faculty of the soul is an ‘appetite’ for God.
Thus every part of us is, at its core, a desire for love’s fulfillment. Though we seldom recognize it, our senses seek the beauty, the sweetness, the good feelings of God […] Human beings are two-legged, walking, talking desires for God. Ultimately, it is only God’s very self that can truly satisfy our deepest desires and liberate our love for all of life.”
Sunday was undeniably a wonderful day in the life of our family of God. We consecrated ourselves and our land for God’s use. We celebrated this together in worship. Over 75 of us gathered up at our land and prayed together and took part in an intentional act and time of consecration.
Why was this so good? Why did I leave the land Sunday feeling connected and loved and like my life was interwoven into the fabric of the family of Fellowship? Because together Sunday we experienced beauty, sweetness, and the good feelings of God. We saw manifest in our midst and experienced in our actions the edges of the love of God and such manifestations and experiences resonate with our soul.
Whether we were looking for it or not, faith was not simply belief, it was experience. Faith was being lived in our midst. In such moments as Sunday we find ourselves unexpectedly and mysteriously fulfilling our purpose of love.
How do we describe such moments? It is as if at the point where we are most deeply and truly our self, (this point is our soul and is also the point where we are most deeply and truly God’s) through feelings with power beyond explanation, God inaudibly and inexplicably shares with us the essence and experience of love itself. And when such moments are experienced alongside one another as a family of God, we are inextricably fused in loving relationship with one another. Sunday was such a moment.
It is the bonds that are formed in such times that allow us to function as the body of Christ. Without such times our differences, divisions, and arguments threaten to overwhelm and destroy us. With such times we gain the love to overcome and move forward for God’s kingdom.
So go out this week and live in the knowledge that every part of you is a desire for love’s fulfillment. Go out this week and live in the knowledge that you are a two-legged, walking, talking desire for God. Get out of your own way, stop working at cross-purposes with yourself and allow yourself to fulfill your purpose to be love to our world.