I yearn to discover the rhythms of creation

Back when I was younger I thought of the spiritual life as a battle of sorts.

Ever since high school I thought this way, seeing spiritual warfare in just those terms, feeling energized by the apparent noble paths and the heroic struggles. This isn’t unusual, as Paul gave us those images, whether they be of an athlete beating his body so as to perform to the utmost, or the runner winning the race, or the armor that we are to put on.

I put on my helmet, and take up my shield, buckle up the breastplate. Fight the good fight. Slay the giant. Rush into the battle.

That’s rousing imagery really, and for the longest time it was energizing.

I thought this way back when I was younger, which from as far as I can tell was fairly recently, maybe even last week.

I’m wondering about this imagery now. Not because it’s wrong. It’s certainly not wrong. Only it may not be where I’m at anymore. Rushing headlong into constant warfare has its qualities, but it makes a person feel exhausted. The battles are never really won, not this side of heaven at least. Always get back up, that is the call. Fight for the whole day and feast in the evening with those we have fought alongside. This seems to be a fine spiritual journey. Only, this is the ideal of Norse mythology more than Christian theology.

It doesn’t grab me the way it used to. There’s a certain kind of poetry to it, that’s for sure, only it’s not the kind of poetry I am drawn towards now. I lean towards something else.

In terms of spiritual battle there is the emphasis on one’s own efforts and one’s cause. One fights and fights for what is right. To be challenged is a call to battle, for one has to defend the faith against all comers, convincing those who will listen and vanquish those who will not, at least rhetorically. This indeed does bring to mind not the kingdom of heaven but Valhalla, where battle-scarred heroes feast merrily together throughout eternity. I am an Oden, to be sure, so this imagery does grab a very primal part of my being. However, I’ve realized that in this approach there is a lack of peace, a tendency towards frustration, a constant struggle to perform.

Those aren’t the fruits of the Spirit of God.

Now, there’s something calling me and it is not the trumpet to battle. It is another kind of music. It is what drew me to the mountains and still whispers to my soul. The call of God is not necessarily a rousing battle anthem.

It is lyrical, flowing, gentle.

I’ve tasted of this over the last few years, but never quite getting the rhythm of it.

It’s a dance. That’s what I’m realizing. The spiritual life, lived in the maturity of the Spirit, is a dance. That’s why I yearn to discover the rhythms of creation. I want to know the music and see the steps.

That’s why I don’t feel charged to step headlong in the fray, because the music leads me forward, and then back, and then to the side, my movements flowing rather than attacking, in tune with the music rather than a shoulders down slog.

The Spiritual life is a dance, a dance with the Triune God as the music and the guide. It is freeing, open, expressive, delightful.

Even in the struggles there is fluidity. Even in the darkness there is movement.

Only I don’t know all these steps. I don’t fully hear this music yet. I misstep. I stumble. My limbs don’t flow, instead they often flail.

So I watch those who have danced for years. I learn from the masters and develop my skills in hearing the music.

I am not a very good dancer yet. But, it’s only been recently I’ve realized I’m actually at a grand ball.

How nice this is. Much nicer than a war.

Shall we dance?

This was written June 23, 2006

A few years ago, Barclay Press invited me to do a two week daily journal for their website. They’ve since changed their online presence so those writings are gone. I was sorting out different files on my computer this evening and happened to run across them. So, I thought, I might as well repost them here. Both to have a record of them, and maybe more so, because these were written in 2006 and 2007. A fair bit of changes have happened in my life since then, so these are records of a time in my life when all I had was faith. I was writing a lot during these journaling times, and it’s curious what came out when I sat down to write. So, mostly for me, but also for anyone whose interested, I’m going to post one of these a day for the next 20 days or so.

This entry was posted in spirituality, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *