The Counter-Intuitive Journey to Experiencing the Presence of God – Within
Before the group leader began the discussion, one man said, I think that the “Prime Cause” aspect, that “Something” always was that “Created Everything” is more difficult to understand, and equally significant.Ancestry. Com makes a fortune providing people their “Roots”, their beginnings. All living things can be traced to an original source. Einstein discovered the same thing about our Universe.
When Einstein looked at a segment of the sky through the telescope at the Hubble Observatory, he noticed that the universe was expanding at a constant mathematical rate. That meant that the Universe had a beginning which could be calculated by applying that rate backwards through time.The “Big Bang” theory claims that Mass & Energy (which is a constant) had the “Eternal Property” of always existing. Unfortunately, much of “Mass” is made up of carbon, which has a calculated “Half-Life”, which predicts its timely demise, which means that it is not “Eternal”. So, the questions remain: What existed prior to the creation Mass & Energy? What created the Billions of Universes? The plants & animals on earth? Man?Some call the “Being” without a beginning or end – God.
Another group member said, “I occasionally experience the presence of God within me. It’s beyond logic or scriptural passages in the Bible. It’s the “Spirit”: within me reaching out to the “Spirit” outside of me, that created me. That experience conforms to the observation of C. S. Lewis: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body”. My relationship with God is a “Mystical Experience” of my soul (Spirit) experiencing the Peace & Joy of God, the spirit that created me. It’s the existential expression of “Being made in the Image & Likeness of God.”
A different group member interrupted, saying,“That’s all well & good, warm & fuzzy, pious sanctimonious crap. The reality is that I do good things. But I also lie & cheat, am lustful, greedy, and angry at the slightest offense. If someone stuck a needle with “Truth Serum” in your veins, you would confess to the same things.”
That accusation caused someone else to chime in,“You both are right. The definition of a “Paradox” is: “Two apparent contradictions can be simultaneously true.” If you stick a needle with “truth Serum” into my arm, I would say that at times I have experienced the presence of God within me. I have also lied, cheated, was greedy, lustful, angry, and proud. Since Adam, the perfect relationship with God was broken. It was restored by the Redemptive Cross. But Satan exists. “The devil’s boots don’t creek.” So, our soul suffers the 1,000 cuts of compromise & rationalization, as Satan stirs our Free Will.
The struggle is between “Free Will’s” choice of the peace & joy of the companionship of God, or succumbing to the least common denominator of gratuitous wants that fester in the soft underbelly of our humanity. Life is spent oscillating between the “True North” of the Eternal Verities of the soul, and the “Magnetic North” gravitation to humanity’s gratuitous pleasures, holograms of happiness.
Those remarks stirred additional delineation, by yet another group member.That’s true. But the game changer is Repentance. King David was an adulterer and murderer, yet was called, “A man after God’s own heart”. The distinction was his genuine repentance as expressed in Psalm 51: “Create in me a new, clean heart.” David intuitively knew that “No sin, no matter how vile or frequent, can exceed the forgiveness, of the welcoming embrace, of the outstretched arms, of the Redemptive Cross.” God’s forgiveness is like “The fragrance that the violet sheds on the boot that crushed it.” The infinite Love & Forgiveness of the “Cross” is hard-wired into everyone since conception, since the beginning of Time.
The Above YouTube Music Video Applies to Our Relationship with God, and God’s With Us
Then, a soft, small voice from a frail, old man said, “Over 7 decades, I have experienced all the things mentioned today, Plus One.
In addition to the relationship of the body & soul, referenced by C. S. Lewis, I experienced “A Sanctuary for the Spirit.” This “Sanctuary” is separate from the soul & body. It exists on a metaphysical level in direct connection with the “Spirit” that created it. It’s not contaminated, nor compromised, by all the stuff of this world. It experiences pure communion with the Peace & Joy of the Spirit of God.
All I know, (and I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything) is that the Sanctuary of this “Being of the Spirit”, escapes our language limitations of definition and description. It’s well beyond our logic, theological explanations, or the empirical measurements of Science. In fact, the more that I attempt to describe its essence, the more it fades from my mind’s eye.
I do know that the more I eliminate the dross of my petty, gratuitous, human wants, and eliminate the sanctimonious certainty of my religious denomination du jour, the more my mind opens, my heart softens, and a veil is lifted from my soul, so that the Infinite, Eternal Spirit of God touches the Spirit He created in me. And for a Cosmic Moment, the “Being in my Sanctuary” is in Communion with God, along with all the other “Spiritual Beings” created by God. I hope that’s what Heaven is like.
Nothing more was said. The men left in silence. My friend left a better man.
My friend attempted to share his experience at the “Spiritual Seminar” with an acquaintance, over coffee at Panera. My friend said that, after considerable reflection over time, the “Spiritual Experience” discussed in the small group required several distinct disciplines:
It requires more than:
- The Elimination of the “Dross” in our lives.
- The Addition of Courage to be vulnerable
- The Strength to surrender the need to be right.
- The Trust to believe in the unseen and unverifiable.
- The Passive preparation of Humility of the creature to the Creator.
- The Gratitude of the sinner to the Savior.
- The Obedience of the servant to the Master.
The confluence of all those things allows the Sanctuary of the “Being of the Spirit” to be in communion with the Spirit of its Creator, and experience Peace and Joy and Love beyond all human understanding.
It Truly is Amazing Grace as Sung by the Celtic Woman in the Above YouTube Music Video
Hard to describe. Harder to do. But if you try it, you’ll like it.