They call it "falling" in love. It's a gravitational force. When you experience it, you can't help but move, but the overwhelming feeling is that you're not moving under your own steam. Something bigger, closer, and more powerful is driving you. And, when it happens, it can be scary, beautiful, frustrating, and wonderful, all at the same time. But you want more. We all do. That feeling, the hunger and homesickness for the transcendent, is proof that we are inherently good and also the means through which that good will spill out into our world.
Heady stuff. This kind of thing might be hard to get our brains around. Then again, that's the point. You have a beautiful, brilliant mind. Your thoughts can get you out of trouble. Knowing the Truth can, indeed, set you free. But God can't fit between your ears. Spirit isn't something you can "own," intellectually. In fact, the more we try to control and predict our lives and our growth, the less room we have for miracles.
This is important. There are bookstores full of "how to tell God what to do" instruction manuals. There are so many of them, because exactly none of them work. If you want a miracle, what is it that you actually want? Do you want more of your ideas, or more of what God has in store for you? Is it possible that God has a better idea?
Let me put that another way. If you have a problem, where does that problem live? We know that God doesn't get sick, or hurt, or afraid. Those concepts are meaningless to the Divine. Remember your Shakespeare:
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings." - Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
So here's the deal: If the problem doesn't live in God, but instead in my consciousness, and if the solution doesn't live in my ego, but rather in the Divine, I know what I need to do. I need to get out of the way. If you want a miracle, you have to leave room for God to be in charge. You have to get out of control.
That statement might come as a shock, given that it was written by a minister and you're reading it on a church's website. Church is often thought of as a bastion of predictability. But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, if any of this is going to work, it can't be that way. Spiritual experience doesn't live in human expectation. Being in touch with God means being comfortable with the unknown. That's where God lives.
I don't know where you went to Sunday school, but it's likely that you grew up with the idea of a domesticated Jesus Christ. The picture painted is one of a mopey, codependent, doormat figure. Salvation through the power of the guilt trip. That's a convenient role model if the goal is a docile congregation, but it doesn't empower anybody to be Christlike.
It also doesn't match the Jesus Christ we read about in Scripture. Over and over (and over, and over) again, His message was "all the way." How many times do we forgive? Seventy times seven -- until we can't even remember what we're forgiving. When you're asked for your jacket, give your shirt, too. Don't just believe it, live it. This is the Jesus Christ Who kicked over tables in the temple, Who spoke Truth to power. The message is one of radical love, outrageous mercy, and no-holds-barred faith. That's the Jesus Christ of the Gospels, and, more importantly, the Wayshower Who lives in our hearts.
Miracles don't happen when we try to make God do what we want. They happen when we make room for God to be in charge. It's time to step out of our comfort zones and into faith.
I feel so strongly about this message that I've decided to have it be the theme for our inaugural series of Sunday lessons here at Water and Stone. Starting on August 27th, I'll be doing six services about living the Wild Life, and I would love for you to join me. It will change everything for you. Through you, it can change our world. Please visit waterandstonechurch.com/wild-life to find out more; there's a video, a podcast, and information about all six services. This is the beginning of something amazing.