Friday, October 28, 2005

Connecting

Our church is introducing a variety of mid week meetings with the idea that while some might not appeal or be what you are looking for to strengthen your relationship with God, others will just hit the right spot.

For want of a better word, the Friday meeting was called "Soaking". It is a word bandied about lately with the notion of being in the presence of God without any agenda and connecting.

It didn't sound like my kind of meeting, and it took a lot of spiritual arm wrestling to get me there. Part of it was the fear of not connecting! What if everyone was having some deep spiritual experience while I was just not connecting at all? The times that I make significant connections with God tend to come through studying the word. My mind engages in meditation and my spirit warms up. I thrive on activity and to be so almost passive does not sit squarely on my shoulders.

I hate missing out on things. I was consumed with the idea that I might miss out on a spiritual outpouring of some kind. Inevitably there was also a tinge of guilt about not turning up too - that's the Roman Catholic in me.

One thing that became very apparent to me was that although I might be quiet, my thoughts are not. It was like chasing rabbits down holes!

Joe had been watching a program earlier on in the week. It was a "what if" scenario. In this case it was "what if" a person living a hundred years ago was born today. Would they be able to cope with modern day technology and the pace of life. The picture that stuck in Joe's mind was of the person standing with their hands over their ears trying to block out the noise! There are cars and truck trundling up the roads, aeroplanes taking off, thumping music blasting out of shop doors and mobile phones pressed to people's ears. It seemed to him, to make sense to find time to come away from all the noise, and in the silence, to listen for a small still voice.

What occurred to me as I tried to be silent and connect was just how often I did make the connection to God throughout my working day. Muslims pray five times a day, at specific times outlined on a calendar, with the notion that they connect with Allah regularly throughout the day. I love making the connection with God, but I can't switch it on at certain times. Throughout the evening I was aware that to some extent I was failing miserably. It has to be something of a learned habit, something that comes with practice - and I will continue to practice, though, maybe not on Friday evenings. Even so, I was prompted to try to express my encounters with God in a poem.

Sometimes we touch
A brief encounter
Soft as a whisper
And a tender smile
An easy glance
Or a gentle touch
Gossamer threads of contact
Like commas and pauses
Punctuating the day

Sometimes we dance
Hands resting lightly
Spinning and twirling
Matching steps and strides
In perfect synchronicity
Rising and dipping
Enjoying closeness
Moving as one
Together in harmony

Sometimes we stand
Arms enfolding
Embracing and holding
Supporting and steadying
Strengthening
Shoulders damp
Soaking up tears
Reassuring
Restoring peace

Never abandoned
Never alone
Always
With You

1 comment:

Mark H said...

That's fantastic. Really fantastic. I'm so encouraged. Thanks for sharing. I want to encourage you some more if I may?

I remember the first time I decided to lay down to rest in God (Isaiah 40:31, Psalms 4:4). I felt awkward and foolish, and that was on my own, not with a few others! I couldn't switch off my thoughts either. That's why I find that worship music helps. Others find that reading Psalms helps. I focus on the music and let God speak to me. It took me while to develop the skill of focussing on God alone because it is contrary to our busy modern lifestyles and busy minds (and like you, I'm so thankful to God for the regular break-ins!)

I do believe that God 's heart is longing for intimacy with us. I heard someone telling how God had healed them over three hours laid out in His presence. They'd felt the healing start quite quickly but it did not complete for three hours. God just kept saying to them "stay a little longer". When they asked God why it had taken three hours when He could obviously have done it in an instant, she felt God saying "because I longed to spend some time with you".

Intimacy between people and God was the first thing robbed when Adam and Eve sinned (they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden and they hid from Him) and it is Jesus' request to the church in the seven letters in Revelation (behold, I stand at the door and knock). Song Of Songs is full of intimate longing from Jesus to His bride. I love to read Song Of Songs.

There's receiving to be learnt too. I find that I often don't give space in my prayers to receive God's answers, and I want to reverse that trend. As I laid out last night, one of the things God did was pour anointing oil over me. I could feel it. But I felt it run off. God said "stay where you are". The longer I stayed the more I felt the oil start to soak in. God reminded me of soldiers anointing their shields with oil for battle. The leather shields would not easily accept the oil. It had to be poured on slowly and gently and rubbed in.

It's one thing to rest in God on your own, it's another thing to organise it for a group, so I was very nervous and feeling my way at our first Soaking Prayer meeting last night. Later in the evening we shared what God was saying to each of us and we prayed for one another. It was so encouraging to see what God was doing. Most of the prayers were "wow, look what you're doing in this person Lord, please just bring more coz I don't know how to pray for that!". Holy Spirit continued to touch us powerfully and bring healing of all kinds as we simply asked Him for "more". In future weeks we'll also use some CDs that minister rather than simply worship, on topics such as God's love, healing, and having the promises of God read out and sung over us.

So keep on resting in God at home. You obviously long for greater depths of intimacy and anointing, as I do. Come along, or miss, any Friday you fancy. It doesn't matter what happens on the outside because God is only interested in the heart. I was blessed this morning to read how you had been blessed last night. Your poem is beautiful. God longs to have you all to Himself. He loves you with an eternal, unbreakable love.