“The sun meets not the springing bud that stretches toward him with half the certainty as God, the source of all good, communicates himself to the soul that longs to partake of him.”
If any of you follow these posts, you will know I like simplicity. I find Jesus is incredibly profound in his simplicity. And I find that Jesus confounds perceived wisdom with his simplicity. When things get complicated, and my mind begins to get confused, I find Jesus pulling me aside from that and sharing with me the profound simplicity of himself.
I like the saying above from William Law (1686-1761). I like it because it’s true. And I like it because it says to me that God, who is the source of all good, all Life, and all that we need, is certain and deliberate and passionately desiring to commune with the one who opens up to him. That just as the bud simply turns to the sun, so as we turn to him, he is received and we commune with him.
So yesterday something happened that for me was an incredibly profound but simple experience of Jesus.
Now yesterday where I live was cold. I started out in the morning and it was around -4°C, that’s around 24°F I think. In the afternoon I was out and walking, and I could have walked and walked. The sky was blue, the sun was shining. But it was still cold, around 3°C (37.4°F). I got to a certain point, I felt I should stop, and I stood leaning up against a tree, directly facing the sun, no obstacles or blockages to the sunlight.
And you know what? Within a short time I was warm. My face went from cold to warm. My legs got warm. I took my gloves off, my hands were warm. The cold that I was experiencing before had disappeared. It begged the question. Was it actually cold outside?
After a short while, I decided to move. I started to walk away from the tree. Immediately my face went cold, my legs went cold, the gloves went back on. My movement changed everything. Activity took away the warmth of the sun. I went back to the tree after a few minutes. And the same happened again. Stillness brought warmth. It was actually hot in the sun when still!
As I stood still, Jesus spoke. He opened up to me again how activity doesn’t result in being present to the One. If I had wanted to be warm through activity yesterday, I would have needed to exert more energy, to put in a lot more effort to achieve any level of warmth. But he led me to be still, to simply receive. It was a far more effective and far more pleasant experience!
He reminded me that a branch is incredibly productive when simply abiding in the vine. The stillness of the branch, the branch ‘being’, leads to the most incredible fruit as a result of the Life flow.
We are reminded of Mary and Martha. One busy and hurriedly running around, the other present to Jesus, still and knowing.
I was also reminded of something Stephen Verney said in his book Into The New Age. I ended up reading this to my eldest boy at bedtime last night as a part of his quiet time.
“The discovery at the heart of contemplation is not that I am contemplating the divine love, but that the divine love is contemplating me. He sees me and understands and accepts me, he has compassion on me, he creates me afresh from moment to moment, and he protects me and is with me through death and into the life beyond.
Our contribution to this encounter is to let it happen, to remove obstacles and clear the way. It is something like drawing back your curtains on a summer morning, and letting the light come into your room. You do not have to search for the light, it is already there, pressing up against the curtains, seeking a way in.”
In conclusion, I don’t think the Divine Love, Jesus Himself, is received through our activity. The instruction by the Psalm writer was simple. “Be still and know that I am God.” Christ is conscious of us. We need to be conscious of him, and him only. When we are still, and we open ourselves to him, we are conscious of him. This stillness is within us, a stillness of spirit that opens up to Jesus himself. We experience the warmth of his presence. Life flows from the vine. He bears fruit through us.
Does our activity leave us feeling cold? Is there an artificial warmth from effort and exertion? Or do we know how to be still and know him? Do we know how to simply be a branch and to open ourselves for the Life of the vine to flow through us?
A friend says this to me regularly. “Have a blessed day in the sunlight of the Spirit.” I like that. He gets it.
And finally, to just confirm all that he said yesterday, I overhear the final few lines of a song playing while out later on, saying “Let In The Sun.” I’ve just listened to it. Here’s the link. 🙂