Sunday, November 29, 2009


Our American world has entered into the pre-Christmas frenzy.  How dreary it is!  I find I have less tolerance for all the music and decorations and shopping - even though I must admit that I do my share!.  All this when most of the folks who practice this frenzy aren't really interested in what the real excitement is all about.  Meister Eckhart, an early fourteenth century mystic wrote, "This is the fullness of time, when the Son of God is begotten in you."  This is a time of spiritual waiting, preparation,and expectation for that birth of God within. 

In his Testament of Devotion, Thomas Kelly writes about the light within that “presses to birth.” He would say that every person is created with that light within. It is not something we create ourselves, but something that exists in the human soul because it is human. We are simply created in the image of God, which means that there is a light within each of us. The light is the image of God, the Christ presence that is part of being human, the spark of Spirit consciousness that makes us alive. The human condition is such that just as each of us has a heart and an intellect and a soul, there is a spark of the divine that makes us what we are.

This light is a compelling human attribute. It persistently cries out to be fueled and fanned. This presence of God within us is active and demanding. “Pay attention to me!” it says. “Feed me, let me breath, keep me burning!” This is how the spiritual life begins. God takes the initiative: first creating the Christ light within each of us and then loudly, persistently compelling us to nurture it. It is God’s initiative that plants the light within us. Like a child in the womb, the light then demands to be fed. Almost in spite of ourselves, the light persists. It will be born! If we think we have the power to extinguish is, we are proud indeed. If we say that we have no goodness or light within ourselves, we have claimed that we are more powerful than God, that we have the ability to change God’s creative intent. We must simply get out of the way and not block God’s creative power.

Suppose the light within you is a roaring fire. Is this to your credit? Have you done anything to grow the flame? Do you have the power to keep this flame burning or to extinguish it? No! This is entirely God’s grace. This is entirely God’s act. This is entirely God’s gift and intent. We can only be overwhelmed with gratitude and awe. God has done a great thing within each of us and we can but humbly acknowledge that we are vessels and recipients. God’s pursuit of us is beyond our control, understanding, and opinion. Sometimes we are overwhelmingly immersed by this pursuit. We stand outside ourselves and fall into ecstasy – the flame has engulfed us. For a moment we step beyond time. Then we emerge from ecstasy with a sense of awe and gratitude. In the fleeting moments of consolation, life is deeply transformed and God’s power to make us whole has left us stunned and amazed. It is in this moment that we deeply know the connection between praise and thanksgiving. One cannot exist without the other. We are so overwhelmed with gratitude that we can only bend the knee of our hearts and fall down in utter and complete praise. There is no other possible response.

But why is it that some have roaring flames within them and some have sickly flickers of light that can barely be seen or felt? Is not God’s desire that we should each one burn with the longing for God’s presence? Certainly, it is. But at the same time, God loves us so much that we are given a choice. Love and desire is not love and desire if it is not chosen. Our responsibility, then, is simply to choose. What else must we do to stoke the flame then to choose for it to live. God rejoices in that choice and feeds the flame with love. As we are captured by the flame, we feed it with the meager fuel of cooperation, co-creation, and intention. Our participation is one of receiving and providing a womb for that life that presses to birth within us.

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