I’ve been riding this week. The rides weren’t remarkable. Indeed, I went out mostly for the exercise, having no particular complex questions in my mind. I took only a few pictures; these were rides I’ve taken before dozens of times on familiar routes. No remarkable stories to tell, they were just a case of me doing my thing.
It’s all about God’s glory. He has revealed His glory; that revelation indicates how we can participate in His glory. It begins by trusting Him and His revelation. It’s far more than belief; more than merely giving mental credit to His claims. It’s a life devoted to walking by conviction, developing a habit of awareness that we call “heart-led.” It means taking action based on that awareness and in defiance of the world in which we live. We call it “faith” in the sense that it’s a full commitment of our being.
We claim to see things invisible to the intellect, sensible only to the heart-mind. We claim that our faith demands things impossible to reconcile with sensory data and reason alone. Faith makes demands that are imminently unreasonable, and we revel in that. We find that the voice of Creator and Creation is unified in hiding from human perception alone, but within easy reach of faith. We claim to speak with God as a Person, and we find that Creation is both one voice with His, and at the same time a million voices of unique individuality and personhood, sentient and willful each in their own right.
And in this way of addressing ourselves to the life we live here and now, we taste far greater things that simply cannot be told. We gain an acquaintance with that realm in which the Creator lives, a place prepared for us and just discernible through the veils and shadows of this life. We aren’t fleeing reality; we are seeing reality through a world of deception. What most of the world calls “reality” is false, and we know it with a sense of assurance that exceeds all the rest of what this world imagines it knows. It brings us a knowledge that is inexplicable and more demanding on us than all else. We live by such conviction, and we call it “faith.”
The center of that other, higher reality is our Lord and Savior, a Jesus the rest of the world does not know. We see His glory that way. We make this claim in the face of two thousand years of history and heritage that leads to all kinds of other answers, answers we can’t accept. Let them have what they calls to them; we have to answer to our own convictions.
This is the context for what I write. I make no special claims to superiority of faith; some of you surely outclass me in this. I’m not claiming to lead you; I claim to know where I’m going and some of you observe my pursuit of this vision. I “lead” in the sense of being blessed with the ability to tell you something about the experience. It’s the essence of shepherding: I call out with my voice and some of you come along to share the green pastures and still waters.
It’s a blessing to write these things, and some of you tell me it’s a blessing to read them. Not everything I write is going to be useful to all of you; that’s a given. Our Creator doesn’t use a cookie cutter on us. There is no one right path for all of us. I’m just a participant in the divine glory that shines in all directions, visible to anyone who turns to face it. I’m just a one reflector. I want you to shine, too.
So I’ll tell you the stories of how I seek His glory, and I know that He speaks through those stories. That’s how He’s done things from the beginning. When we claim the promises of His faith, it serves to reveal to others that those promises are real, and that His revelation is worthy of trust. Let your heart discern for you the message for your faith.
One of the things I do in that pursuit of faith is go out on long bike rides. Even the choice of where to ride is heart-led. God has a habit of touching me in special ways, revealing His glory out there on the roads and trails. There are chapels of habit and chapels like the Burning Bush — just somewhere out there in some random spot that is holy for as long as I am there meeting with God. Sometimes I can tell you about it; often there are no words for it. And while I know that He can speak through some of the pictures I take, it’s really between you and God whether this or that image means anything to your faith.
I’m going to ask that you click on this image to the right and open your heart-mind to the larger display. This was taken Tuesday and something huge happened to me. It took a couple of days’ worth of contemplation to make sense of it. It will take some time, more than one post, to share that with you. Be patient with me, because this is not easy.
Let’s start by saying it made me feel just a little like Daniel. Not the painful and perplexing vision that took three weeks for an angel to come and explain, but in the mission of Daniel, called to serve in a context few of his fellow Israelites could understand. He was soaked in pagan religious knowledge older than anything we know today, absorbing enough to qualify for a PhD. He stood in the presence of two pagan emperors and found favor with them in that place, yet never lost the favor of his God. I’m hardly worthy to wash that prophet’s feet, but I sense that my future mission will in some ways shadow his service. That was the vision that struck me while I stood in that otherwise mundane place that hundreds of other bicyclists pass by every day.
More to come.