It’s Sunday morning as I begin this article. This is a time when many people set aside a portion of their life to “go to church”, and “focus on God”. But I sit at home this morning pondering what I did last night. I went to a Catholic Mass.
I’ve only been to two in my life. The first time was many years ago, and as I went this time, it was for the purpose of seeking more, if it could be found. Did they have it? Was it there? My memory of so many years ago did not provide me the answer. I would look again.
This particular Parish was a more modern design, but it still had stained glass windows, a fountain of flowing water in the sanctuary, a Priest wearing special robe, pipe organ, sacred songs sung in a sacred way, people knelt facing the cross before they entered a pew, or read the readings, people made the sign of the Trinity across their chest, the Priest gave his sermon, the Lord’s Supper was shared with great humility and respect, and then we left.
Many many things were done to set a certain spiritual atmosphere, a Table Setting pleasing to God. But did I feel a strong presence of God in all that ceremony? Unfortunately, at this particular Parish, I did not. But I must say, the Priest had an excellent message, and I intend to search other churches.
My close friend who is devout Catholic took me to this church and sat amazed at what the Priest shared in his message, because it was mostly about what my friend knew I was trying to do, while this Priest was pointing out they were “not” doing it. He said, “We don’t go out. The doors are always open. You can come in any time. But we don’t go out. And we’re failing to reach this community. We have many empty seats. Is this how we want it? We’re not doing a good job of showing the love of God and the urgency of our Gospel message outside these four walls.”
Wow…it really was a great message. My friend looked at me like what did you do to this Priest before we came here? But why did I not feel a strong presence of God like I was hungry to feel? What is the spiritual blockage? Why is Christianity drying up in America? How have we become this Post-Christian nation, as we are now labeled? A lack of passion? Worldly distraction in our people? More and more sin? A failure to make God our habitation?
Hhmmm, how do you make God your habitation, like Psalms 91:9 speaks of? How do we dwell in the secret place, like verse one speaks of? The Christian Mystic knows.
Are we too busy with worldly habits to maintain any kind of Holy Habits? To habitate with our Lord? Ohhh, this may be getting a little spooky? A little deep? A little supernatural? But this is what the CM knows, and perhaps this is what we are missing today? We have left our first love, and we don’t know how to get back there?
The CM knows only the power of God, not our own, will get us there. God at work in us. But we have to seek it. We have to want it. You have not because you ask not, and when you do ask, you ask amissssss, (hear the snake? hear the monster?), to consume it upon our own lust! Self love! Self gratification! Worldly desires and pleasures of the flesh! Pride, ego, and materialism! Are we guilty? Of course we are. But do we really seek God to change us? Do we seek a proper “Table Setting” between us and God, a life of holy habits?
We consider our spiritual equation of Romans 12:1 + Philippians 2:13 + Acts 17:28 = Christian Mystic. This is our reasonable service? True worship unto God? We need help!!! We need mystic habits that draw on God / Jesus like a branch draws on a vine. If we care enough to truly seek God according to the “Table” he offers, we will find Him, and he will supernaturally work in us until we are transformed. We are so spiritually bankrupt through the sin nature (Beatitude #1), that everything we need must be sought through the grace of God. We have no glory in this. The Christian Mystic knows this. Once again, it seems to come back to a picture of Mary and Martha. I’m sure you understand which one of them would have been classified as mystic.
Too much sin in the people of God is a real problem and blockage today. But again, seeking God is the beginning of effecting a supernatural change, that transforms us from our stinking thinking, (the self-loving monster), to the supernatural “MIND OF CHRIST”. We cannot speak enough about establishing basic holy habits, that become our habitat, leading to this supernaturally transformed life.
Does this also require any will power on your part? Initially yes. And I believe it starts with the “initiallity” of every day. If we ignore God’s manna in whatever form it comes, be it prayer, word, praise, etc; then we “set the Table” for the monster to show up. We are not even concerned enough to seek God first.
God always points out the monster at the table. Jesus pointed Judas out that day. The Lord’s Supper was not comfortable for Judas for very long, it was becoming more and more uncomfortable, and he was anxious to get out of there! Jesus went on to deal with all the monsters as he embraced the cross and poured out his blood for us. If we understand the Lord’s Table, we have access to the power to deal with all our monsters. But do we have the holy habit of drawing on that Vine? For that we must sit at our Lord’s Table daily, and all day, L7D. I’m not talking a literal physical Lord’s Supper here, but in our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
The Lord’s Table was not ceremony, stained glass windows, and holy robes that night. But it was very personal. It was self-sacrificing, not self-loving. It was a Table in a large room like being with family. It was relationship, not religion. But at the same time it was full of very deep teaching and meaning that goes right over our heads most of the time. This is one reason as to “Why Christian Mystics”. To wake us out of our slumber, challenge us to really care, to let God “fill us completely”, take over, become one, a life of love that is supernatural in nature, not just merely human, but a city whose builder and maker is God!
The Mass I experienced last night fell short for me. I have learned in my own studies that the word “liturgy” literally means: “work of the people”. And… church actually starts the moment you begin to ready yourself to go join your brothers and sisters at the Lord’s Table. The liturgy is a journey that proceeds from the kingdom of this world into a brief encounter with the kingdom of God, and then back out again to bear witness to it. The liturgy began the moment you started separating yourself from this world so you could join the rest of the body of Christ at His Table. As we should know, in the liturgy, every act is a metaphor or symbol. At the end of it, we can’t help but be moved to cry out with all the angels, “Thanks be to God!” And give our lives to the God who gave his life for us. (Much of this information came from the book: “Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale” by Ian Morgan Cron.)
I want to do a Lord’s Supper here at “Church of the White Path” soon; and I want it to be very personal and special. So far I feel my exploration of Christian Mystics has had very positive affects on me, and so will continue exploring this path further. Again, I hope you’re enjoying too. I hope you feel spiritually challenged…and inspired to higher heights and deeper places in our Lord than we have known.