Awake my soul
Sometimes you come awake to God as if jolted from a dream. From the hazy, daily, halfway sight of all the things you usually do, the God-obscuring importance of small things, the hubris of accomplishment and knowledge and money-making. Some song, or thought, or hunger strikes you hard and you open your eyes, breathing hard in the night, fully awake and blessed to be so. I feel that way today. It's a misty Friday morning in Oxford and I've just sat down at my desk for a day of study, but I rode the bus out to class through the fields and had time to gather my thoughts after the wakening I had in the past 24 hours. So many things, small kindlings have come to me in the past hours. Each a line in a poem, whose final verse sums it all in a truth as vital to me as air.
First the study this week of other religions, other faiths, and with it, the study of myself and the way I live what I think is the one, blazing love and truth in this world; Christ. A troubled wondering was mine, for I hunger to know God, to live him fully and it is so easy to be drawn away. When I am with those that do not know him, can they feel him in me, the pulse of his love reaching out through my clean, repented heart?
Luke's words next, on my post about sentimentality - his point that the ideal we crave is a Person. One Lover who is and causes all beautiful things.
An old sermon, found on my iPod and casually started on last night's bus ride home, on God as the first love that must be known, his love as the tenderness we crave in every relationship, the love that no other can replace.
A walk at dusk down the Thames tow path, and the realization that I often lose God. That I fall asleep to his presence, even as I scurry about doing things for him and learning things of him. And it's not that the doing or knowing or even the scurry is bad, but this, this is the sum of it: nothing means a jot if its done apart from the lover God who is the cause and maker and object of it all.
And its simple I know, this waking. And you probably are ten times farther along than me. But this week my heart aches, truly aches, with the knowledge that Jesus is all and I must toss all the rest of my life to the loving of him. He must be first and center. The thought that wakens me to life in the morning, the joy in my bones, the love by which I am settled in myself and able to see into the hearts of others. Day by day, waking by waking, morning by morning, I must reorient my self to him.
I think that God is ever tapping at our hearts, touching our faces, longing for us to come awake. Sometimes I wake more fully and then I long to tell the world. These lyrics I heard on the misty bus ride this morning sum up the wakened cry of my heart:
This road that we travel May it be the straight and narrow, God give us strength and grace from You, All the day through, Sheltered with fire, Our voices we raise still higher, God give us peace and grace from You, All the day through.
(Jars of Clay, "This Road that We Travel")