Take a good look at yourself. Who are you? What makes you worthy of your call from God? (Probably, God is now disturbing the sleep of a lazy person.) Never forget your spiritual vulnerability. God’s invitation into a unique relationship does not make you better or holier than others. Instead of feeling proud of yourself, exercise humility. Christ emptied himself of equality with God when he was born in human form, humbling himself even to the point of death on a cross
—– The Cloud of Unknowing
How often do we truly take a good look at ourselves? Introspection can be painful and uncomfortable. Life goes so much easier and smoother if we just plod ahead. A plodding soul never asks questions. A plodder is one who simply walks slowly through life so as to never disturb anything or anyone. Time is never taken to examine the why’s of life nor is the uniqueness of our very creation ever given any thought. A plodder simply gets through the day.
We are God’s special creation and we were created to be the apple of His eye. He wants to hear from us. He wants us to be productive and loving to Him and all that was created. Our challenge is to realize that we are stewards of the creation. Stewardship demands humility and service humility that make us understand the nature of our creation. We are all born totally dependent and fully cared for by God. We are all equals in the sight of God. He doesn’t create some people superior to others.
With that equality in mind, we are called to be the salt and light of this world. With the sin of Adam we have invited evil into the world. Because of evil we are quite vulnerable, but God invites us into the very special relationship that is offered through Jesus. When we fully embody the grace offered by Jesus, we learn how to empty ourselves. This emptying gives us the ability to be servants to all. As servant to all we experience a freedom and joy that is like nothing else we have ever known.
TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF – GOD WANTS TO HELP
Lord help me to examine myself today and show me your way. Allow me to understand your love -a love that allowed you to sacrifice yourself for me in spite of my perpetual unworthiness. Bestow upon me the grace necessary so that I may bestow love, peace and grace to all that I encounter. Allow your grace to shine through me and forgive me when I fail.
The “Cloud of Unknowing” is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer. The true message of this book is that the way to know God is to stop trying figure Him out and simply surrender yourself to the realm of “unknowing,” and then we begin to see a glimpse of God. The first chapter introduces four degrees that we all share in our journey to God. These are COMMON, SPECIAL, SINGULAR AND PERFECT. I would like to unpack some small truths about these degrees.
The common degree is where we begin. In this degree we discover the joy of the creation of God. We see the love that he has surrounded us with in our friends, our activities and the things that make our lives worth living. Freely we acknowledge that we are created by Him from nothing and that He is the one who breathes life into us. When someone asks a “common” person if they believe in God, they answer with an enthusiastic, YES! They not only believe in God but comprehend His majesty.
As our spiritual journey continues, a realization of the fall and sin of Adam comes into our lives. With this realization we can begin to see the suffering of the Savior as He redeems us of our sin with His marvelous grace. This degree brings us into a time when we realize that God sent Jesus to negate the sin of Adam and bring grace to all.
By continued prayer and growth in faith we become extraordinary in our relationship with God. This relation begins to be natural and inbuilt into every aspect of life. We no longer “have” to pray but our lives become a prayer. This is a most challenging degree to reach. Most committed Christians fall in and out of this place.
Perfection is heavenly bliss. Such bliss is not attainable on this earth but must wait until we are joined to God in the heavenly state. John Wesley spent a great deal of his life looking to achieve this state but realized in his old age that it would not come this side of heaven. In spite of that he still reminds Methodists that they are marching on to perfection.
This path suggested by the writer of “Cloud of Unknowing” can serve us well as we live out our Christian journeys.
O God, all hearts are open to you.
You perceive my desire.
Nothing is hidden from you.
Purify the thoughts of my heart
with the gift of your Spirit, that I may love you with a
perfect love and give you the praise you deserve.
- Spirituality and “religion” (allanbaker.wordpress.com)
- Unexpected Angels (craigkuehn.wordpress.com)