Sunday, 16 September 2018

Let Your God Love You

Warmth flooded through me, drenched my body, held me in the moment.  From the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, it poured itself into me. It was a powerful, visceral, physical sensation.  It was a cleansing, it was a healing; it was Love.  
Sitting before the cross, the beautiful cross which was shaped out of brokenness, I knew; I knew that the shattered fragments of my own wounds were falling away.  I knew what the woman with bleeding experienced as she touched the hem of His cloak. (Mark 6.25-29). And it was gift; pure, unearned, radical gift.
That was a month ago.  And here I was last weekend, listening to Edwina Gateley speaking about the transformative power of love; speaking of the importance of knowing, truly knowing, that we are deeply loved by God, whoever we are, whatever we've done or not done, whatever wounds life has inflicted on us.  We are loved; loved beyond measure.  And sharing this love courageously was the way to change the world. These were no empty words, but the words of a woman whose sacrificial ministry to the homeless and the prostitutes in Chicago has transformed lives; has literally raised them from the gutter.  

My experience before the pottery cross came midway through a silent retreat, a whole week with the absence of words, absence of conversation, absence of technological noise and stimulus.  And Edwina's life changing ministry was forged and birthed in the silent desert times of her life. Considerably longer and deeper than my experience, three months alone in the Sahara desert and later nine months of prayer and silence in the woods of Illinois had led her to the street people.  It had given her the courage to step beyond her comfort zone and just love, simply love, those who didn't know the meaning of the word.

'Why?', my friend had asked.  'Why do you go away to be silent?  Can't you do that at home?'   No.  No, you can't.  Not in the same way.  There's something significant about intentionally stepping aside from life in order to simply 'be', to simply be with God; to open yourself to hear His voice.  Few of us can do this for nine months in a hermitage in the woods, but all of us can carve out some time for silence, however brief. 

Silence.  Love.  Transformation.  The essence of God.  

It's rarely an easy journey, but it can shape you in life-changing ways.

In the words of Edwina's poem, try taking the time to 'Let your God love you'.