“Lord, if I could dig out of your dense and diverse beauty, just a small sample, a fragment like an artifact, I promise to use every ounce of it to lift eyes to heaven, so that some who see only black sky, could see a blue moon passing Orion, on its way to morning.”
The invitation to look up starts at the beginning, when a couple walked with God in the cool of the day, just before the fireflies came out, with wind up to scour away the sweat of the brow, after a good, fruitful go at gardening. Were they holding hands, those first innocents? I’d like to think so. Laughing?
God and His image bearers, in a full surrender to love, empty of shame, doubt, fear, and guile. A vision of the hope we share for heaven, a kind of restored splendor of the Garden. Tears, irrelevant. Brooding, laughable. Loneliness, impossible.
The final day in the Garden began like this. God returned again to the special place, like lovers often do in a park, perhaps a bench, or under an elm. But something wasn’t right at the rendezvous point. The air had an acidic insidious smell—‘is that fear?’
Behind the brush at river’s edge, He saw them shaking, together. Terror.
The rest is history, and God has been searching for us ever since. Any finding of Him on our part, is our response of His quest for us. The shepherd leaves the 99, the woman scours the floor for the lost coin, and the father keeps unblinking eyes on the horizon. If it relied on us, we would never find the infinite.
Any spiritual pursuit is a response to a vision by God to give us a taste of the Garden, before we enter the New City, in the life to come. Contemplation, the discipline of listening, can bring us to the foot of the Garden wall. What would be an impossible height to scale, however, now has an entry, because of the cross. Our state of prayer, our seeking heart listens for a tap from the other side. Jesus said, Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” When we hear it, that often faint rap, and give the handle a tug, God reveals Himself in response to the surrender we offer Him. Something pours into the secret place of our spirit, where He promises to tell us intimate things. Through a sated heart, not one relying on disciplines, but marveling over how God uses them, we begin to experience a shadow of the original, a precursor of the eternal, a walk in the Garden alongside Him; designed to deepen the faith we offer when we risk a pull on the door handle.
This is my picture of prayer for every believing man woman and child.
“If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will dine with Him.”
Holding hands? I would like to think so. Laughing?