Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 241: Jeremiah 1-3; Psalm 47; Hebrews 3

Entering Into God's Rest
I imagine entering God's rest as both a place and a state of being. The place is verdant, lush, safe and comfortable. It is a well-tended garden designed to foster a sense of both well-being and peaceful quietude. It is a place where nothing can assail us. It is a place where we feel and know God's Presence like we know our on breath and heart beat. God isn't far off. God is near, just near enough that we know and yet we at the same time do not know fear, anxiety or dread. God's rest is a beautiful place to be.

The state of being we know while in God's rest is commensurate to the setting of place. We not only experience peace and well-being, we also express it. The sort of alignment with God we are talking about doesn't just center on us, it emanates from us. We become living antennas for God's grace, receiving and transmitting an awareness of the Divine that causes us to resonate to the reality around us. Native Americans call that state of being "standing at the center of the universe." We might call it a "mystic, sweet communion."

God's rest is a thing to be desired, and something we aspire to at the same time. Yet, so often, we take our eyes off that prize. We become distracted in the moment. We get off-track because of a series of moral and spiritual wrong turns. We lose ourselves in things that are not of God, and even sometimes substitute things for God.

Why do we do that, when entering into God's rest is such a desirable and good thing for us?

At this point in my life, I don't know if I can answer the question of "why." I am beginning to see "what," but the why lies just beyond my grasp. Humanity departs Eden and in attempting to make its own way, it loses the directions for how to get back into that way of being with God. Abraham answers God's call to follow, but continues to stumble along the way. Israel comes up out of Egypt, yet even being preserved during the Passover they kvetch about missing the meat and garlic they ate in slavery. Israel and Judah are invited back into Covenant again and again, and yet always somehow manage to slip back into the sins of infidelity and injustice. Even Christ himself is not able to keep us "fixed" forever. Even with the assurance of resurrection granted to us in his being raised from the dead, we still continue to stumble along the way. As I said above, I can see the "what," but I think that until we all get the "why" we will continue to be stuck in the "not quite yet" place of being that leaves us continually on the threshold of truly entering into God's rest.

Jeremiah points to it, and becomes a conduit for God's declaiming the apostasy of the tribes. The psalmist knows to look for it, and sings of it benefits...but can't quite get us there. Hebrews is taking us on a journey into the mystery of living in such a way that we can draw just a little bit closer to it....

....but for now, we will have to continue to learn how to be patient for its advent even while we strive for its realization. May God [continue, and always] give us the strength to be steadfast in our seeking that place of rest.

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