Saturday, September 05, 2009
Blogging the Unbloggable...
How to blog the unbloggable…
At my denominational conference in July, one of the preachers spoke of asking God for what we need. She said (at least, this was my understanding) that too often we don’t dare to ask for what we really need, requesting half a loaf when we are hungry for a whole one. We may do this because we think we don’t deserve a whole loaf; or we may think that if we only ask for half a loaf, then we won’t be disappointed; or perhaps we think God doesn’t deal in whole loaves. This is especially true, she said, of pastors—we who are so busy taking care of others (our congregations, our denominations, our communities, our families, our partners) that we do not take adequate care of ourselves.
I thought about that a bit.
I had felt for several months that I had no clear channel of communication with God any longer. Earlier in my life, when I had been at a crossroads or in doubt as to what I should do, I could open myself to God and feel the divine guidance—not always right away, but eventually. But no longer. I struggled and struggled—trying several methods of prayer, trying doing nothing, trying many things. But still that channel felt blocked—as if something were in the way, between me and God. After much struggle, prayers, tears and thought, I realized that what was blocking that communication was that my heart had not completely changed towards Strong Heart—I had not completely made the transition to friends. My head had, my spirit knew too that she and I were best as friends, for many reasons, and had known that on some level for quite a while before we agreed to change our relationship—but my heart didn’t quite agree yet. My heart longed for what we had had. I tried to argue my heart out of it, but as you may know, hearts are stubborn. Strong Heart is an amazing woman, one of my dearest friends whom I love deeply—but by no means was she or can she be my ideal partner, nor I hers. We had both come to realize that, and had accordingly changed our relationship. So I struggled with my heart to let go of that, but I was so focused on all the debris that comes even with an amicable change in relationship that I could not hear Spirit above the clamour.
And so, there I was in worship that Friday night, the night of the traditional healing service, and the sermon was about not being shy to ask God for what you really want and need. And so I did; I asked God for that healing I needed—to clear the way for that sweet communication with Spirit that I so missed. When it came time for individual prayers, I went for healing prayers, asking for the way to be opened to hear God and speak to God again.
Let me be clear here. I come from a very structured United Methodist background. I do not see angels. I have never prophesied nor spoken in tongues. We didn’t do that sort of thing in the proper MidWestern church I grew up in. Heck, we barely ever even clapped along with the hymn and we never ever raised a hand to the music or in affirmation of the preacher’s message. Saying, “Amen?” Honey, it didn’t happen.
Needless to say, I worship differently now! But—I still clung to those remnants of my upbringing and was sceptical of such things as speaking in tongues and being slain in the spirit.
I am sceptical no more. In that time of prayer, in which I wept as though my heart was breaking, I felt that channel cleared--the debris of my clinging to the old, no-longer-existent relationship with Strong Heart because it was what I knew and because it had been at one time so sweet to me, rather than the healthier, and yes, holier, relationship that we had now—all that debris of the past was swept away and Spirit came rushing in. Came rushing in and laid me flat out, caught by the loving arms of friends—Boss Pastor, Dona, Celtic Rainbow, and Pilgrim Companion.
Yes, my friends, I was slain in the Spirit. That rush cleared my heart, my head, my soul, my very self. Not only was my heart healed of its mourning, but it was opened to new hope and possibility.
Literally, from that moment, the healing began and has continued. The connection with my friend the revitalization pastor—Living Spring—that very evening, within the very hour, even—and the continuing involvement with Host Pastor and the others working towards a cooperative parish after conference, are affirmations that remaining open and revitalization is the right thing to do. I had no such reassurance earlier, though I sought it long and hard.
I have moved further along on this journey—finding new energy in the work towards a possible cooperative parish, in the new sermon series on Christianity 101, in the support of Living Spring, and in two deepening friendships with Lake Retreat and Pilgrim Companion that are precisely what I need now—mutual support, spiritual conversation, laughter, simple fun, and love. Once again Spirit flows for me, a reassurance even in days and nights of struggle, annoyance, and uncertainty.
Praise be to God.