Day 6 – Remaining

Day 6 Remaining

John 1:1-34

 

“What I know of you is meager, but what I love of You is so intense that what spills from me because of it is beyond measure”                                              -Lee Self

 

O Love, as We sit in the silence, before dawn, prior to the day and the coming of the light, we are recalled to the great silence, the vast no-thingness that is prior to and beneath all that is, and from which all of creation springs forth. We feel the potency of that pre-dawn moment, the fullness of the dark, the possibility in the void.  Infinite Peace. Profound Stillness. Immense Silence. The names are many and inadequate to describe the sense we have when we are close to something Holy. We hear the undertones of angelic voices deep within this cosmic space and we are reminded of the Word that God sings into Being from the deep. The Song that comes from Silence, the Word that becomes Flesh. The Word we hear in the splendor of the dawn is Beauty.

 

And so, here You are in our text this morning reminding us again that all of creation comes into being thusly through You, from your silence to your song (word) into your flesh. We know there is in reality no before or now or after, there is only One-at-once in this blessed trinity of Being that You are. Still my human understanding, existing as it does in time, perhaps can grasp this truth no other way. And so we might imagine You at times as something that best resembles what our current sciences label as a black hole—the vast silent stillness, the void on the ‘other side’, anti-matter brimming with potential, a truly Holy space, the birthplace of creation from which arises a spark, a Word, the concentration of all that is, a focal point…something that we might image like the neck of a great hourglass through which this vastness pours itself out into the ‘other side’ in a burst of light! Light that gives light to all being. And still it is You, in all places at once.

 

As the sun burns itself to give its light to us and is transformed to become our very flesh, so do You expend Yourself to us, O Love. You utter the Word, you sing your song aloud, with which You enliven our flesh with Your spirit, making Your Love visible in us, becoming us, transforming Soul into soul. Born of Your brilliance we are. And so are we also called to expend this life, to pour it back out into Love in this great cycle of becoming, which is taking place in time, held and beheld at once by Eternity.  And You, O Love, remain One, whole and contained, whole unto Yourself in the Silence, in the Song, in the Dance.

 

No, the vastness of this Beauty, this copious expressiveness of Your Love, is still not You. It is made of You, it contains You, You contain it, but it is not You. You remain prior to, deep within, and surpassing all. All of our words about You, all our experiences of You, all the Beauties we behold in You, are but a taste, a juicy morsel, a ‘finger pointing to the moon’, perhaps making straight the paths as one in the desert crying, but still just one voice singing but one word, hinting at the universal symphony of the Song that is You. You remain in the darkness, in the profound Silence, which we cannot understand.

 

But You, O Beloved One, continue to flow and to flow through us from this dark and silent place where we are One, spirit and flesh in deep union. Into the stillness of our souls, your Love whispers something of its vibrancy and the potency of Your Word in us is focused and rises to become flesh, It is from this place that we flow forth, this place in us where You spill your radiance, inseminating us with Love, so that we might live out our inheritance as light to the world. It is here that the union of Your spirit with our flesh might give birth to Love.

 

And here is the challenging part, for though this Love-making takes place in the dark Mystery of our souls with or without our awareness, we are called to remain open to this Spirit of Love within, in order to become fully human within God (as Love-bearers, Light-bringers, Birth-givers) Being human is difficult; the physical world into which spirit descends to become flesh is a hard place. I have heard it said that the most difficult thing Jesus did was not dying on the cross, or even rising from the dead, but was becoming human. Our human hearts are quite vulnerable and can grow hard to protect themselves from the pain of this place, and the hardness can block us from knowing this deep compassion we bear within.

 

Yet we are told in this text that the Spirit descended and ‘remained’ with Jesus. We know from looking at Jesus’ life that he remained open and poured his life out fully into this place. So how do we invite the Spirit to remain with us? How do we remain open to this wholemaking, anointing place of deep knowing and unknowing?  This is our human predicament, to flow forth Love when we cannot see, to choose life again and again, remaining ‘fully alive in the aliveness of God’ in the midst of apparent death. But to remain connected to the Spirit that is expressing Love into Being through the sacred vessel of our flesh is to claim the blessedness of our life. This aligning our hearts with Love is to embrace fully the sacred divine-human bond so that what we are birthing for God and what God is birthing in us can grow into a Love that cannot be contained.

 

If we are aware of the bond at all, much of the time we experience a ‘John-the-Baptist’ type bond with the Spirit that dwells in our depths, a vaga-bond, a wandering, crying in the desert bond that knows there is something more to which we are being led. This John-the-Baptist who feels his passion being stirred awake in moments of grace or beauty or pain is a harbinger of the Love we are called to be. But the vagabond drifts in and out of our awareness. We can disconnect and distract ourselves from its call with numbness or diversion.  Like the vagus nerve, ‘the wandering nerve’ that innervates both our hearts and our voices, the vagabond appears to be sometimes connected to heart, sometimes to voice, and sometimes disconnected altogether. Can this connection be made One, so that our words and our hearts are singing One Song, rising upward from the depths of our Silence in God?

 

Each of us also has a Christ bond, which lies deeper than and prior to our usual awareness, a bond that is never broken whether we are aware of it or not. This Christ-within is the light within the darkness that we often cannot know or understand. From this intimate bond we are poured into being and into this bond our humanity is poured back to be received as blessing by God. This is the deep place within where Spirit and Mystery dance. O, I imagine the dance might look something like a dove settling and taking flight. To live fully then from this place of Oneness with God is to settle, to stay, to remain connected with this deeper place in the self where Love dwells so that the flight of our might be one of joy, of peace, of hope… of Love.

 

We nurture this bond in much the same way we nurture any relationship between Lovers. We attend to it, we listen deeply to the Other, we approach one another frequently and with tenderness, we linger in the moments, we become intimate with each other. To nurture this bond then is to listen deeply to and linger in the Silence from which life springs forth within each moment. To nourish it is to approach frequently and with tenderness the Mystery of God that invites the Spirit to dance. To become intimate with it is to linger awhile in the depths of Love. To sustain it is to practice the peace of stillness, to breathe in the fullness of Love, to receive the grace of blessing,  that we may come to live from a deeper place of knowingness that recognize within each moment the Beauty of the One in which all is well. If we enter this holiest of holy places of union, the Love that spills from us will be beyond measure.

 

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