Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No thunder clap, but a bright flash of light

We, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord Who is Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Brennan Manning: Paul looked so unflinchingly at himself, others, and the world through the eyes of Jesus that Christ became the ego of the apostle–“I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me.”

Contemplation is gazing at the unveiled glory of God in the risen glorified Christ. Contemplative prayer is above all else looking at the person of Jesus. The prayer of simple awareness means we don’t have to get anywhere because we are already there. We are simply coming into consciousness that we possess what we seek. Contemplation, defined as looking at Jesus while loving Him, leads not only to intimacy but to the transformation of the person contemplating.

Every time the Gospels mention that Jesus was moved with deep emotion for people, they show that it lead Him to do something–physical or inner healing, deliverance or exorcism, feeding the hungry crowds or intercessory prayer. Above all, it moved Him to dispel distorted images of who He is and who God is, to lead people out of darkness into light. I’m reminded of the messianic prophecy of Isaiah: “He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast, and leading to their rest the mother ewes.”

And in the consideration of these rather ordinary words, the gears stopped grinding and my understanding dropped into a whole other realm. A paradigm shift. The one I was waiting for. The one that probably everyone has been waiting for.

Somehow the image of the underworld in The Silver Chair, the licking flames and bright colors come to mind. And yet. What touched me so profoundly this morning was the tenderness of the Shepherd, holding the lambs against His breast.

And somehow the rather ordinary words about it not being about how well I am loved, but how well I love feels earth-shatteringly new. With the tenderness of Jesus. With the compassion. With the understanding.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Pneuma. Breathe in, breathe out. With my eyes fixed on Jesus.