Intimacy is the goal of our spiritual journeys. This communion is not only with God, but with our fellow humans. Our prayers are gifts from God to help us attain this intimacy, She so desires for our mutual connectedness. Unfortunately, we are limited in our ability to attain this intimacy; we can only attain it by being present in our minds, which is almost impossible for us. Most often, we are rehashing past deeds, or planning for future responsibilities. We ignore what is with us at any given moment, and this is what prevents us from attaining the communion God desires. How can we have relations with others, when we cannot even relate to ourselves?
Each Sunday, and for some, several times each week, we gather at our altars to celebrate Communion, Communion with Christ and God. Then, we go on our separate ways, ignoring the closeness that comes with this sacred ritual. I use the term ritual, because, for many, that is all it is. When we break bread, and share the cup of wine, we get a feeling of closeness. I can see it in the faces of my fellow members as they pass by my healing prayer station every Sunday morning. Twenty minutes later, in the meeting hall, all I hear are conversations of work, school, the stock market, or how our president is doing; nothing on the sermon or the spiritual experience of intimacy with God. That feeling of community has dissipated into the subconscious, only to be re-called the next Sunday.
I find this to be very disappointing. Disappointing, because all too often, I am guilty of the same frivolity. We are not taught to do otherwise. Every Sunday, we leave church with the promise to walk in the way that Jesus wants. Going with God! My question is: why? Why not take what we have just experienced, let the feeling of one-ness stay with us, letting it grow into a true communion with each other and with God? We are only limited by our abilities to live in the present time.
As I write this, I am very much staying in the present; but, subconsciously, I am also thinking about what prayers I will offer at the upcoming vestry retreat this weekend. I am presently involved in writing these thoughts, while thinking about this weekend. I practice contemplative prayer, trying to focus on my present relationship with God. My mind wanders, and I am constantly refocusing on what I want to accomplish. What I want to accomplish! Why is it necessary to accomplish anything? Why isn’t the prayer enough? I think that we limit ourselves in this manner, because from an early age, our parents are preparing us to succeed, to be successful in our line of work, in our family relations, in our community.
This is ignoring where success is truly needed. Our success, if it has any importance at all, should be directed towards how we will prepare and live our eternal lives. Money and stature have no place in eternity. I try my best to treat all whom I meet as I want to be treated. I try my best to be a good person. I try my best to try to make it easier for others. Aren’t you impressed by my trying to be? I’m not.
I am reminded of the t-shirt with the words I’m with Stupid emblazoned on the front. There are times that this arrow should be pointing inward. No matter how much I meditate, learn, study, think, I fall back unsure of how to think, react, follow what I know is correct.
I included the following in a praise prayer I recently wrote:
I pray that You continue to allow me to walk in Your footsteps, to follow Your way, to recognize the need for You in others. For when I walk with You, fear is no longer my companion. Indecision no longer manifests my soul. I rejoice in Your Love.
I know, as we all do, that what I should be doing is working to be what God wants. No matter how others try to prevent our doing this, we must be on the path to attain intimacy with ourselves, with others, and with God. Our lives depend on it.