But I’ve Never Been There Before!

“The life of faith isn’t meant for tourists. It’s meant for pilgrims.”

Eugene H. Peterson

“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

John 12:24-25

I have been guided by God my whole life but I didn’t know it. Looking back, I see that God was continuously watching over me, from inside and outside. Even in those times that felt dark and scary, where I felt most alone, today I can recognize Spirit’s M.O. In my late twenties life experiences overwhelmed my coping mechanisms. Desperately needing better resources, I woke up to the reality of God’s Presence. I fell amongst a fellowship of loving wise people who had committed themselves to living life on life’s terms. That included developing the awareness of a loving spiritual power in which we live, move, and have our being. Regarding wandering into that fellowship that rescued me from myself I used to say, “Whew, that was a close call! I was sure lucky.” Now I know it wasn’t luck at all. I was unerringly led there by Spirit. Short of digging in my heals in a long term fit of tenacious foolhardiness, there is no way I wouldn’t have found them. I am grateful.

A great shift occurs when we realize that we are not human beings trying (or not!) to get spiritual but spiritual beings having a human experience. Jesus termed that movement in consciousness metanoia. It is a Greek word that means transformation of heart and mind, a fundamental change in the trend and action of the whole inner nature, in understanding and imagination. Metanoia reveals us to ourselves. We see who we are in a wholly new light. It propels us to live from the assurance of inner strength and power. We don’t literally in our modern wording “hate” our life as the verse from the Gospel of John quoted above reads. What we do understand that our outer experiences are not the places to hang our hats of ultimate security. We lift up the quality of our lives by letting them be permeated with the love, abundance, and peace of Spirit. We remove our roots from superficial circumstances and plant them in God, literally making a radical change (think the root vegetable radish). We become committed to radical transformation, compassion, and inclusion.

“But I’ve never been there before!” we may cry. That’s a fact. We may never have lived so deeply from our spiritual nature as we are now—and as we will in the future. Growth isn’t comfortable. It calls everything forth from us. It stretches us into new places. Yet when we get still and open ourselves to noticing, we find that we are more at home than we have ever been. We are not tourists visiting a foreign country. We are pilgrims making our way home.

In the Love and Light of the Christ,

Rev. Anna 


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