Yesterday morning, we got a ride from Deborah Haines and her daughter, Becka, to Alexandria Friends Meeting. It was a sweet little meeting, about twenty five people in attendence. Once I was able to settle, about 20-30 minutes into worship, I felt enveloped by the meeting, drawn down to the Seed of God. I had missed this inward communion with God with a gathered body of Friends so much in the past few weeks, as I’ve been attending a programmed meeting. The church is lovely, but I don’t usually feel able to go very deep there. It’s probably just a question of time. When there’s only ten minutes of open worship, it’s hard to settle, much less prophesy.
There were three messages yesterday morning. The first was from a young lady who spoke about how important the silence is in creating a space where we can be still, calm, and not be expected to speak or think anything. The second minister gave a message about the need to turn to the Inward Light of the Holy Spirit in our times of stress and how easy it is to get distracted from that when we are under pressure. Finally, I spoke, sharing first the image from Revelation 3:20, of Jesus standing at the door, knocking. I said that the Risen Christ was ready to enter in and have communion with those who would open the door. I then referred to how Jesus told the woman at the well that if she would ask it of him he would give her living water, which if she drank of it would leave her satisfied forever.
I was not entirely certain of whether I was supposed to speak, but as I rose to speak I prayed for God to forgive me if I erred. I did my best to listen for what words I was to speak and to sit down once I no longer received inspiration to continue. I felt no inward rebuke, but neither did I feel that any great weight had been lifted from me. Perhaps the message had been just for me. I do not know. I knew, though, that the hour had almost ended, and so I rose and spoke, praying that the Lord would forgive me if I was mistaken in speaking words that were perhaps meant for me alone.
Within my own heart that morning, I felt a very deep sense of the importance of always returning to the Root of all things, rather than attempting to be in control. I recognize in myself the tendency to seek to be in control over the details of my life, to force my choices, interactions and behaviors into categories and paradigms designed to give me assurance of who I am and what I am supposed to be doing. But I am being reminded of how futile all of my own attempts at control are. All my striving for righteousness of my own making falls apart, hitting the reality of my own sinfulness and short-sightedness. I am helpless to devise a system for living in Truth.
I am being shown, being reminded, that I must let go of my mistaken notions of control and my own ability to live a holy life. Instead, I must re-commit myself to inwardly turning towards my Rock and my Salvation, the Holy Spirit of Truth. Forsaking all of my vain, imagined righteousness, I must daily turn inward to the indwelling voice of Christ who is my ever-present companion and who leads me into all truth if I will only surrender myself and all of my ideas about how my life should be, to the purifying, enlivening, transforming Light of Christ.
I recognize my own religious and ethical systems as being stumbling blocks to my growth and development in Christ. When I begin to believe that I have some things figured out, that I have become in some measure righteous myself, the spirit of deception has a grip on me. When I begin to imagine that I have found a method to inward peace, to enlightenment, to salvation, and that I am one who is qualified to teach this Way, I must tremble in the fear of the Lord and repent of my own vanity. No human being, no human system, no ortho-doxy and no ortho-praxy is capable of raising up men and women into the Life of God’s Kingdom. There is yet one, Christ Jesus, present with each of us inwardly and directly, who can speak to our condition. When we cling to Christ and to Christ alone, we will be saved.
But it is key that we let go of our own ideas about who God must or must not be, as well as releasing all limitations that we place on ourselves and on who we are to be in Christ. Let that Inward Guide have complete control; for the outward letter of human reasoning quickly quenches the voice of the Spirit if we allow ourselves to become confused, imagining that our own desires and designs can reign in the place of God. Even our good, noble ideas must be let go. Let nothing stand but the desire to be fully, intimately a possession of our Lord and to be a vessel of the Divine Will, even if that Will puts our own desires and inclinations to the cross.