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In the shelter of our Abba

by davesandel on January 30th, 2021

Saturday, January 30, 2021                (today’s lectionary)

 In the shelter of our Abba

Faith is the realization of things hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.

Thomas Merton described something he had never seen and could not ever see:

At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. (from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)

That sounds good to me. But I believe everything and everybody, at least at first. My more skeptical friend looked at me and said, “Well, how can he ever know that? And how can I?” I had no answer for him yet.

Margaret and I have good days and bad days. On the good days we trust each other. We assume the best in each other and expect the best from each other and for each other. The more we trust, the more trustworthy we become. And the more we trust, the more joy we feel. This is also the result of faithfulness.

And if I have faith that a “point of pure truth” resides in me, which elsewhere Merton calls the “virgin point,” which cannot be bullied by me into anything else because God is resident there and he won’t be bullied, then within that point I am safe in all things and all places and at all times. Not only safe, but also in the presence and hands of God.

Are God’s hands loving? Good question, and the good answer is YES. It’s our own lack of loving we project on God. Merton goes on to say:

This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak [God’s] name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it, we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely. I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.

Catching onto the coattails of kairos, I say yes to God’s good time (a thousand years are like a day, David) as the ground of my being. My own short moments of time take their place on that great mandala, and thus I can follow in the footsteps of Father Abraham:

By faith Abraham obeyed, sojourned, and received power to conceive descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and countless as the sands on the sea. And now we, those descendants, we all desire that better, heavenly homeland. And God is not ashamed to be called our God, for he has indeed prepared a place for us.

What place, and when will come this shelter from the storm? I forget what I know, and in my terrors and sufferings and submissions, I think I must ask the question again and again, “God, are your hands good?”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in him shall have everlasting life.

What more do I need to hear? Jesus subsumes the storm in the beautiful shelter of our Abba, his Kingdom, our old Garden. I cannot and will not stop waiting for the rebirth of wonder deep inside my soul, when God’s point of view overtakes my own and I no longer require the instant gratification of a peaceable kingdom here and now and all around me.

In the boat Jesus was asleep and a storm came up. His disciples woke him. “Teacher, do you not care that we are about to be killed?” But Jesus rebuked the wind and told the sea to “Be quiet! Be still!” And the wind ceased and there was great calm, and Jesus said to them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

(Hebrews 11, Luke 1, John 3, Mark 4)


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