We know to pray when something just won’t leave us alone. My faith has risen up to claim the heritage of faith in meat space, too.
Just so you’ll know the context, I need to explain the background. Since age nine I’ve been a creature of faith. From the time of my earliest awareness of God’s Presence in my life, I knew that I was cut out for something different. It wasn’t until seven years later that I got some inkling that the gospel ministry, as conceived by most folks I knew, was an approximation of that something different. So I began taking seriously whatever it was folks thought such a ministry calling included. Right away there were issues, in that folks kept nudging me toward things I knew weren’t for me. So they didn’t take me seriously. And so it went. I persisted in pursuing that calling in a series of compromises between where I was supposed to go and the various paths available to me. I got a college degree in Religion at Oklahoma Baptist University, but couldn’t arrange to get to seminary without violating my sense of calling, so I pursued other forms of employment and kept volunteering in churches. I also kept studying using the tools I had gained in college.
At times a few folks in a few places were open-minded enough to take me seriously about my calling, but it was seldom the leadership of the organizations in which I was involved. I knew I was onto something, but it became clear I would never enter the ranks of professional clergy. And believe me, I tried a lot of different brands of churches. A last few attempts over the past decade confirmed that I could not take the mainstream path of organized Christianity. So I turned to the Internet while testing a few ideas in meat space, but nothing jelled except this virtual community of faith.
The fruit was not ripe. It took those ten years or so to bring the kind of storms and rain to wash away more of the unneeded expectations, and the activity of some other natural processes to add the right fertilizer and fill up what was missing. Another applicable parable has been the assurance that I was an arrow in the quiver for the day of battle, and the battle had not yet come. So here I am 60 years old and I believe the battle has come; this particular fruit has ripened on the tree.
Further, I sense prophetically that this is the time for all of us here in this virtual parish. Maybe not something so specific as that for each of you, but in a broad general sense our world has shifted onto a different track and God is making our kind of religious communion possible, even essential, in meat space. His hand is already moving, touching souls and turning them to seek what we have. Be ready to see a community of faith coalesce where you are, people who sense a hunger for the manna we share here.
As always, don’t get hung up on a human sense of timing. Wait for it to show itself. Just be aware that God is opening up the windows of Heaven to touch some number of souls only He knows and the conditions are upon us for a response. I have no idea what to expect in concrete terms and I am loath to hinder your own possibilities by suggesting any specifics. What I do know is that what I’m waiting for won’t happen on my initiative. It will form naturally and take a shape and direction I cannot predict. What I can see is something that should surprise no one: The first harvest will ripen during the frosts of human sorrow. Until it hurts, people are unlikely to reach out to the Healer. In many ways, our heart-led religion is the healing for what ails the world today; it’s the deliverance of captives.
It’s not for everyone, so a little reticence and caution is a natural trait of our faith in this world as it now is. But our actions will shout from the rooftops, so stir up your faith and wait for surprises. Let us pray together that we be ready, all of us wherever we are scattered.
Yep, it’s that time.