Sunday, December 5, 2010

Further up and further in

When I first started this blog, I put as my subtitle “Beneath the Surface”.  At the time I had neither 17,000 year old tectonic faults, nor 100-50 million year old Late Cretaceous coal deposits in mind.

What I was thinking of at the time was about the surface of my life.  When I meet with friends we talk about the weather, current events, how's work, how are the children, what have you been doing lately, and so forth.  It’s the day in day out going through the motions kind of life. 

But there’s got to be more to it that this.  There’s more to ME than this.  So I had hoped that I could blog about some of the deeper stuff that doesn’t really get talked about in normal social conversation.

As a Christian, I believe in a spiritual reality, that goes beyond what we can observe or measure.  (Similar to the concept in Quantum Physics, where the mathematics of the universe works best when you calculate based on multiple dimensions of both space and time, more than our three spatial and one temporal dimensional experience can measure directly. Not that I can follow all the maths myself – I’ll take the physicist’s word for it.) 

Lately I’ve been experiencing a sense of wanting to “go deeper” into my faith.  I find similar feelings echoed in the Scriptures:

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Where can I go to meet with God? (Psalm 42:2)

One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all of the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water. (Psalm 91:1)

One of my favourite authors is C. S. Lewis, and one of my favourite passages of the Chronicles of Narnia is the final chapter of “The Last Battle”.  Having witnessed the end of the world of Narnia, and entered Aslan’s world, the characters are exhorted to “Don’t stop! Further up and further in!”.  At each stage of this journey the characters pass through a landscape that resembles that of Narnia, but is somehow more real, more “Narnia”; the Narnia they’d previously known was somehow a shadow, and imitation of this “real” country.  This chapter is titled “Farewell to the Shadowlands”.

C. S. Lewis visualised that heaven was somehow more real than the world we now live in.  The physical is but a reflection of the spiritual.  (He explored this concept using different imagery in “The Great Divorce”)

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

It is the basic message of Christianity is that we can experience a relationship with the divine in the here and now.  At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God coming to us, and entering into history as a human baby. 

Christians look to a future where “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

The surface life I live day to day, my husband, children, household, work, friends and so forth, pales into irrelevance compared to the spiritual reality, the bigger picture of what Jesus called the “Kingdom of God”.  I need to live now in the “Shadowlands”, and yet still search for that higher and deeper connection to the spiritual.

So I choose to pray, to worship, to meditate and reflect on Scripture, and to make the effort to seek “the presence of God”.  Would anyone be willing to join me on this journey into higher and deeper faith, to go “further up and further in”?