Friday, November 6, 2009

On Eagle's Wings

We humans have always tried to make sense of God. Philosphers and theologians help us with our God-talk and God-knowledge.  Anselm said that God "is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived."  Aristotle said that God was the prime mover. Gandhi said that all life comes from one universal source, and that Truth is God.  The Bible is a collection of written accounts of men and women and their life with God. 

We use all sorts of words to define who/what God is, so that we can enter into a relationship with this One: Rock of Ages, Breath, Fire, Burning Bush, Counselor, Bright and Morning Star, Bread of Heaven...what name helps you deepen your relationship with God?

For most of my adult life, the words I have used were "Cool, Rushing Stream".  During a time in my life when I felt most deconstructed (my first year of seminary, of course!), I ran to the mountains, for solitude and reflection, trying to figure out who I was now and who I was meant to be. As I hiked high in the Canadian Rockies, I came to a glacial stream, quickly flowing down the mountain. I sat by that stream for a long time, aware that if I were to return in a year, the stream bed would look different, due to the force of the water. The strong flow of the stream was picking up dirt and rocks and tree roots and plants from one stream bank and depositing them downstream. The stream was changing the landscape, right before my eyes.

I experienced an epiphany by that stream. This is exactly what God is doing to me! Moving the dead parts of me, reviving other parts, and giving birth to a new me! Instantly, I felt that "peace which passes all understanding" and I came down off the mountain a new woman.

This understanding of God has served me well, keeping me close to God through transitions and changes.  Recently, a new understanding of God has emerged for me.  I was on vacation in Mexico, and a man with a harness and a parachute (and a friend with a boat) asked if I wanted to parasail.  After much hemming and hawing, I strapped myself into the harness, and before I knew it, I was in the air. I vaguely remember digging my heels into the sand--this was all happening too fast!--but the parachute caught the wind and I was aloft!

There I was, suspended in the air, looking out at the water, the coast, the mountains.  Once again, I experienced that peace of God surrounding me.  I could have stayed up there forever...

All too soon, the ride ended, and I could see the spot where I was supposed to land. Slowly, I descended. Then quickly! But there was no fear as workers reached out to me. Strong arms eased my landing, and before I knew it, I was back on the beach, walking back to my beach chair.

This experience has helped me come to a new understandings of God: "One Who Lifts and Strong Arms that Hold".  For most of my life (and especially in my ministry) I have worked hard to make things happen. I have set goals and then made plans to meet those goals. I learned a new lesson, up there in the sky: it's time to let go and let the Spirit lead, and trust in those strong arms to reach out when things look bumpy.

No comments:

Post a Comment