Spiritual beings on a human journey….

Wow, it’s been some time since I turned up here…. summer and holidays – had a great sailing trip with friends in the Gulf Islands that fragment off the coast of Vancouver Island and the Mainland…. and day trips around this beautiful corner with Sheryl…. Tofino, Lasqueti Island and Victoria…..

Reminds me of another holiday some years ago when my daughters and I visited my brother in New Zealand. Seemed like a great opportunity to have an adventure together so we learned to scuba dive with the intent of diving on the coral reef in the Cook Islands. To my surprise and dismay much of the coral was bleached. While we could see for a long way in the clear waters of the South Pacific the colorful and abundant underwater world was not as spectacular as I encountered in the waters of the Bay Islands north of Honduras while snorkeling; or doing the same in the Red Sea by Elat.

Looking over the wrinkled waves it is hard to imagine the world that opens up beneath the surface. Even if it is rough on the surface a stillness and calm can be found as soon as you sink below into the ‘other world’.

In the world of our natural life and ‘normal’ existence meaning, truth, and reality is assumed to describe what we touch, feel, smell, see and hear. We are creatures of the land and the longer we live here the more we learn that there is a world in the oceans and under water… and then there is outer space. Like fleas hopping on the backs of elephants we have hardly begun to fathom the vastness of that arena.

In John’s account of Jesus’ life and adventures he describes an occasion when Jesus was resting by a well, weary after walking – hot and thirsty – it was midday. A Samaritan woman came to fetch water and Jesus broke social convention when he asked her for a drink (men talking to women in public was frowned upon). They ended up having a great discussion about the worship and practices of Jews and Samaritans and God. The woman was surprisingly knowledgeable – on the surface – but while she could talk about faith and God it had little impact on her lifestyle. That fact emerged when Jesus mentioned that he knew she had already had five husbands and the man she was living with was not in a legal relationship with her.

They talked about water and being thirsty – she focused on the water she could draw from the well dug by her forfather Jacob…. Jesus was referring to a well of ‘living water’ accessible only through him… “I am he, the messiah, of whom we are speaking”. Two worlds meeting – earth and ocean, ground and space, spirit and flesh.

In the Spirit Jesus dips beneath the surface of our lives and reveals truth. What astounded the woman was not the clever conversation – she had probably had many of those. It was the intangible presence of  Jesus – often experienced as love that accepts unconditionally while exposing her truth – emotional hunger and relational thirst. Instead of condemning her history Jesus merely was inviting her to look for love ‘in all the right places’; namely attend to her spirit where God’s truth would turn her world downside up. I’m sure she was confused and couldn’t put it all into words that were rational and logical but her meeting with Jesus changed her life.

For the first time in her life she met a man who didn’t take advantage of her. He gently and firmly led her into a place where she caught a glimpse of the real world…. a world where the Spirit revealed through Jesus brings life and quenches thirst. This world is only accessed through Jesus, is counter-intuitive, not comprehended through intoxicating theoretical conversations but through revelation and experience involving the heart.

We are indeed spiritual beings on a human journey rather than human beings on a spiritual journey – in the words of Teilhard de Chardin. How in the world are you? 🙂

Reflections

what do you think will happen when the wind dies

waves cease their chopping

restless waters calm to liquid velvet

and with silky calm caress your delicate skin

that’s when the deep stirs

whispering words

at last free to rise from the tranquil quiet buried within

like little bubbles popping upward to break the surface

and peering down

a mirrored frown squints back

as face to face we approach a place

of shimmering reflection

introspection and contemplation

a realm seldom visited by you and me

and usually suppressed beneath

the rolling waves of things to do

there is no need to fear

here

where strangers timidly draw near

peering over the edge

reaching up and reaching  down

perhaps to befriend maybe even to mend

the rift that persists between the two

it’s like diving into a raging sea

and piercing through that fierce wet outer layer

discovering another world

not near as grim as was imagined from afar

a world that sways languorously in gentle swells

where creatures live and coral breathes

where life is born

and beauty lies in myriad forms

like oyster pearls rainbow fish and turtle shells

and from the depths the divers rise

bearing dripping treasure

to surprise with unexpected pleasure

those who on their surface dwell

John Cox

Offering Pastoral Counselling to encourage, heal, transform, and give hope.

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