Dear Urban Abbey Members and Friends:
Steve Garnaas-Holmes has done it once again. From my perspective this is such a wonderful story...and indeed, how true about us human. Most times, we want what is not good for us; and the good gifts that are given to us, we do not want. I love the images Steve presents of a God who is boundless in all aspects, especially God's boundless love for us. Our hearts do long for more and to know God more deeply. We see through the veil only dimly, but occasionally we get a glimpse of the glory and magnificence of our God. Our task is to keep ourselves awake for those moments when God pulls the veil back...it may be today!
Shalom and many blessings, George
Grace and Peace to you.
Once upon a time, when people were young and innocent and thought they could tell God what to do, they said, “God, you are too distant! Come near. We want to continually feel your warmth and see your glory.” So God drew very near, and indeed they were warm. But God, being the Source of all warmth, was too much for them. They sweltered. Cities sagged under the weight of the heat. Meadows buzzed, where nothing else could happen but being hot. Lampposts, steering wheels and tempers were hot to the touch. Only the hermits in the desert understood, and went on praying. The people cried out, “It is too hot! Go back! Stand farther off!”
But God said, “You have asked for what you did not want, and you do not want what I have given you. Now you ask me to draw back. But I will not go away from you. I never have. Nevertheless I will protect you from the glory of my presence. I will make you safe. I will not let it ever get too hot or too cold. I will keep you from seeing the whole spectrum of light, or hearing all the frequencies of sound. I will keep you from seeing things very very small, or very very far away, or very very near. I will usher you away from the heights of the mountains or the depths of the oceans, and as well the heights and depths of your heart. I will prevent you from knowing what you can't measure or prove or understand. I will confine you to the prison of what you like and recognize. I will shield you from the overwhelming presence of my glory: you will only see hints and suggestions. As punishment for telling me to go far away, I will make you feel like I have obeyed your command. Everything will always seem very moderate to you, not too extreme in any way, never too hot or bright or lovely or wondrous or glorious or dark.
“As a result of my punishment, without your knowing it, there will be a part of you that always wants more, always seeks me, which indeed is all I want. And to show you that there is so much more than you are ready to receive, and to remind you that I am more present than you believe, every once in a while I will let you actually see the smallest fringe of my glory and presence: a thing of beauty, an experience of heart-rending love, a time of unimaginable darkness, or perhaps simply a very, very hot day. You must be ready, for it won't last long. And many will not understand, and raise the old complaint. But you will know.”
And it was so.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Evening Prayer 3.29.17, John Keble, Priest, 1866
3 hours ago