Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
While on retreat for several days recently, I was blessed to come upon the book Revelation of Love which is an account of the visions and the spiritual writings of Julian of Norwich, a young, devout Christian woman who shut herself up in two small rooms adjacent to a church for several years in order to experience and communicate with God. As the title suggests, Julian relates her revelations of God’s intimate and extravagant love for us, and since I was feeling spiritually dry and desperately hungry to draw closer to God, the book was like water to my soul.
Julian makes clear to the reader that she was not given these visions and revelations because she was more loved by God than anyone else; she insists that these communications were given for the benefit of the whole Body of Christ. From what I read, the following sentences impacted me most:
When I look to myself as a single individual, then I am nothing. But all my hope comes from being united in one love with all my fellow Christians. For on this unity the life of all that shall be saved depends.
That last sentence hit me like a spiritual thunder bolt; the life of all that shall be saved depends on the church being united in love! I was immediately convicted and moved to repent and then to passionately intercede on behalf of the church in Canada. From a human perspective unity may seem quite hopeless at this time in church history, but thankfully our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. Jesus’ last passionate prayer before going to the Cross was that we would be ONE as He and the Father are ONE. The unity of the church was His priority in those last moments with His Father.
If unity in the church is so important to God that it was the last prayer Jesus prayed before going to His death, I believe that as Jesus did we too should pray fervently and passionately for unity in the Body of Christ in our nation and worldwide. As we abide in Jesus, we become more like Him. As we love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength, as Jesus instructed us to do, we sense God’s heart and know His thoughts, and He gives us all the grace and power we need to do whatever He is calling us to do – even becoming “united in one love with all (our) fellow Christians”.
Julian of Norwich took all her hope from this unity in love; I believe we must do the same. Romans 8 tells us that God’s plan is for all of creation to be set free from bondage and decay and to come into glory at the revealing of the “sons of God”. That means it’s going to happen and from that we can take our hope! As a single individual I am nothing, but, together, the sons of God can change the world! Hallelujah!
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
2 Peter 1: 3-7
Captain Catherine Morris
Church Army Canada
Recently, Sarah, who's lived at the house for about 10 months opened the door and invited Jesus in. It's a miracle, really! She had many ideas and beliefs that conflicted with what the gospels teach us about who Jesus is and what He has done, and because of old wounds she found it difficult to trust. But gradually God, by the ministry of the Holy Spirit - and perhaps with the help of the DVD version of the Gospel of John (incredible word for word interpretation featuring Henry Ian Cusick who brilliantly portrays Jesus) - she is learning to trust and has set aside her need to understand with her mind and become a woman of faith, believing with her heart. Already there is a pronounced change in her countenance and in her relationships with herself, with God and to others.
Witnessing the power of God at work healing and transforming Sarah comforts and inspires me to greater faith as well. I remember all that He's done for me and in me, which is good because lately I seem to be focussed on the "un-transformed" parts of me instead of on the transformed ones. While some changes are immediate when we invite Jesus to come in, there is also a gradual process of healing and change as well. Paul instructs his converts in Philippians 2:12-13, to work out their salvation with fear and trembling "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Thankfully, as Paul teaches, we have God to help us and to guide us as we work out our salvation. It is He who heals us and transforms us, though we have work to do too.
God is good all the time and I'm so blessed to be able to witness to His goodness towards me and in the lives of others. "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" Revelation 5:13