I've been much taken by a recent article in the on-line newspaper Huffington Post. In the article, Bruce Davis PhD says that more and more people are coming forward and sharing their very personal experience of discovering a spiritual world beyond their dreams, beyond what they could have ever imagined.
However, he says, our culture is generally sceptical of reports of anything beyond the material world and people who have experienced what Davis calls 'a spiritual awakening' can find themselves isolated, even though, he says, they may actually be a quiet majority.
What struck me most about the article was its insistence that the nature of the spiritual realm most people report was consistent. It is one of 'unconditional, an overwhelming love. Almost by definition, a spiritual awakening is to find love and more love, an intimacy beyond words. "This is in marked contrast to much of what we experience day by day.' Davis continues: 'We live in a world where love can be a one-night stand or what we do or don't do for one an other. Love is rarely without some condition. We live in a world where judging others is much more common than finding the humility to look inward at ourselves and find kindness and compassion for all.'
God is love
It strikes me that the characteristics of the spiritual realm that people are encountering are just what the Christian faith would lead us to expect.
'God is Love,' writes the apostle John. He continues: 'God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.'
In Holy Week,starting on Palm Sunday (March 29), we hear and experience once again the story of the final days of Jesus's earthly life.
It is a disturbing and dramatic story, exposing political intrigue, betrayal and almost unbelievable cruelty, culminating in the execution of Jesus on a Roman cross. Self-giving love incarnate meets the full force of human depravity. But, despite initial appearances, it is love that wins the day, as the events of the first Easter morning, following the devastation of Good Friday, show.
The church services of Holy Week and Easter, view here>>, offer us an opportunity to revisit the practical outworking of 'unconditional, overwhelming love' as Jesus faithfully follows his heavenly Father's calling and, in doing so, secures reconciliation between a rebellious humanity and the 'God who is love.' It is my prayer that this Easter season we may each experience a 'spiritual awakening' of our own and rather than feeling isolated we may come together to share and to celebrate. May I wish you all a holy Lent and a wonderful Easter,