Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daring to speak?

The experience of the fullness of time, during which God is so present, so real, so tangibly near that we can hardly believe that everyone does not see God as we do, is given to us to deepen our lives of prayer and strengthen our lives of ministry. Having experienced God in the fullness of time, we have a lifelong desire to be with God and to proclaim to others the God we experienced.

Peter, years after the death of Jesus, claims his Mount Tabor experience as the source for his witness. He says: “When we told you about the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not slavishly repeating cleverly invented myths; no, we had seen his majesty with our own eyes ... when we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18). Seeing God in the most intimate moments of our lives is seeing God for others.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

I think this may be one of the most valuable things we can do as Christians, both for those who don’t know Christ, and for those of our sisters and brothers who find themselves astray in shadowed places, and wondering if their faith was just a story they were telling themselves, long ago…

It’s hard, though, sometimes to convey the immediacy of encountering God without seeming to “boast”, as Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 11 & 12. I don’t know what the answer to this is; if St Paul tied himself up in knots about it, I can’t imagine what I could do. Still, sometimes the only thing that matters is the eye-witness account, the person who can stand up and say, “I was there: I saw that…”

We are in a season of miracle; angels threaded the skies over Bethlehem those 2,000-odd years ago, and we must not be surprised to meet them even now. God has not ceased to speak with humankind, even if not many listen. (Did they then?) We must dare to speak, perhaps (even though we feel as foolish as our brother Paul felt) of things that so far beyond our understanding that our words fall like bright flecks of ice, and are lost in “snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter, long ago…” Perhaps if we try, we shall find the words are given to us, and the Holy Spirit will speak what needs to be said… I don’t know. I am way out of my depth…

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