This Great Commission

lines at DMV
lines at DMV

Jesus went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 The Message)

I’ve written before on these specific commands of Jesus which all begin with love.

Knock_pennyDo you have a profound desire to go on a mission trip to another country? Neither do I.

Do you ache to learn apologetics? Neither do I!

Do you have a hunger to walk around strange neighborhoods knocking on doors? Neither do I!

How, then, do we as Christians not reject the Commission of Jesus?

As we live our lives obeying the commands of Jesus we become more like him; we reflect his image. We mature in our faith and embody faith and works. We allow those who cannot see him to know him through us.

“Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Fr. Francis of Assisi

Coffee.buzzfeedWe don’t need to travel to spread the gospel. Our “there” is where ever we are. Our “there” is our home, our car, our friend’s house, our workplace, our school, our neighborhood, our gym, our coffee shop, our restaurant, our grocery store, our hardware store, our nightclub, our jail cell, (the dmv, the airport) our social media hangout. It’s how we speak and act when we are “there.”

“There” is how we treat our family, our friends, and strangers when we are “there.” “There” is the decisions we make when we are “there.” There is no “here” and “there.” There is only “there.” And we are “there” all of the time.

How many times do we extend grace to a friend who has made a mistake, but refuse to extend grace to a stranger who makes a mistake? Couldn’t we expand the gospel by widening our circle of grace?

Please begin to think about the commission God commanded Jesus to pass along to us. Please allow the Spirit to stir your heart. Please allow the words of Jesus to play across your mind. Please open up the possibility that people who don’t know Jesus can see him through you.

I fall to my knees and pray to our Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your love be the rich soil where your lives take root; may it be the bedrock where your lives are founded. And may you have the power to understand the love of Christ is infinitely long, wide, high and deep, surpassing everything you have previously experienced. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Worship without but within words…

Posted at The Postmodern Mystic — 29 December 2015

earth beautiful

From some years ago…

Sleeping… waken… open eyes… beautiful… lights dancing, but small lights. Seemingly in random motion, yet not… as I rest, relax, cease striving, I see pattern, beauty, praise. This is life itself… rather, Life Himself. Truth, beauty, goodness, love, peace, joy, music, praise, thanks… worship. Somehow, I have wakened inside worship.  How amazing.

“Lord?” I whisper, reverently, sacredly… awed.

And there is caress, a tender hug and enfolding… no words… direct impression of idea… He unspeaks… “Hush… be… I AM… you… be.” Can’t really translate the impression into words. That is as close as I can come. I was simply to exist in Him, and hush. So I did.

And then… I was inside of Someone with no boundaries or limits. Strange, to be inside One Who has no “outside”. But then He spoke, He uttered, and I flowed with that tide, that current from within Him to “other”, to “beyond” Him… He had spoken The Word.

And now, with infinite others, I was inside that Other… Holy Other… spoken forth from the First, from the Prime Mover… still dancing lights, all the same, identical pattern, Life Himself. Truth, beauty, goodness, love, peace, joy, music, praise, thanks… worship. No different, yet different, for now all this worship and praise had an Object, a Focus, the Other, the Prime Mover.

And This One, This Holy One, spoken forth from the Object of His Love, now spoke forth His Own First Word… it was, “Father”, as He wholly and entirely adored the Prime Mover. And again there was movement, the lights, we, flowed from Him, outwards, back to the Father. Amazing.

And then, between them, forevermore, remained that “word” that “bridge” the relationship between Them. And it grew, expanded, encompassing all and everything, in its own light, as This Too became Alive and Whole in and of Himself… the Relationship Between Them, as the Prime Mover spoke again… the word “Son.”

There was nothing to say, nothing to do, nothing to think, but to flow with this Life, this Love, these Words… There was no awareness of anything beyond the moment… the “I”… the “Now”… the “Here”… and Here, was, distinctly, worship.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Oh, sweet irony. I do not wish to speak. I am yet There… and when I “hush”, when I now “relax” and allow Him to draw me into Him with “no distance”, “no apartness”, then my mind stops thinking, there is no more I/Thou, and I am there! Such… no, no words. The sweetness, the joy and light of that, is so immediate, so poignant, that it pierces the heart and soul. Seems strange to say… joy so great it is nearly painful in its intensity. A moment more… then work… then obedience…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There are some who pray, who have discovered God in Silence. I never understood before. Trappists, Carthusians… My Jesuit father frequently said, if God did not command his obedience and service as a Jesuit, or if the Order ever chose to release him (as he had a request before them to do for years)… he sought to join a Carthusian monastery he knew. I asked why, and he said, “They are forever silent. They live ever in His immediate presence, and hear only Him. God grants me that only when I contemplate… but then commands me to teach. So I obey. But someday, if He grants my wish and reward, I shall be a Carthusian.”

I did not understand. I do now.

The Music! The Harmonies of the Silence! Would that I never again spoke or uttered a sound. The irony. It seems I very much am “my father’s child”. Now, that finally I desire no speech… now I am properly prepared to craft words. Now, it is time… to teach. Though all I would seek is solitude and silence.