The Fellowship of the God Smitten

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The Fellowship of the God Smitten

I always liked the hymn “Near to the Heart of God” ~ “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God;”

My readings today all swirled around this theme of entering the presence of God and finding all we need. As St Ignatius said, : The human being was created for this end: to praise, reverence and serve the Lord… I come from God. I belong to God. I am destined for God.”

Does it not make sense to begin now to enjoy the presence of God from whom we come and to which we will go? We would do well to withdraw each day from the cacophony of today’s busy world and church to enter the presence of the one from whom all blessings flow.

Here are a few of today’s readings that reminded me of the simple truth of our need for nearness to God.

From C.S. Lewis and Mere Christianity:

“”The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or (putting it the other way round) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in that dance. There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made. Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.”

From Angelus Silesius “The Cherubinic Wanderer”

“Who wants to savor God and will in Him inhere, Should, like the morning star, to its own sun draw near.”

From Janet Rimmer

In Your presence there is an absence
Silencing my greatest fear.
It is with You that I know the essence
Of what is life, now that You’re near.”

From A.W Tozer on the “God Smitten” from “The Early Tozer.”

“There is a fellowship within a fellowship ¢€œ a sort of wheel in the middle of a wheel ¢€œ which gathers to itself all who are of its spirit in every church in every land and every age. Its members are the God-smitten, those who have heard the Voice speaking within them and have caught a glimpse, however fleeting, of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.

These have a remarkable likeness to each other wherever they are found. Discounting them all we must for their imperfections, admitting their mistakes and weaknesses, they are yet found to be a people apart, separated from the rest of mankind not by legal prohibitions but by a spirit which dwells within them. They who compose this fellowship have never been herded into any one organization; they have no earthly head, pay no dues, hold no conventions, and keep no minutes, yet they recognize each other instantly when they meet by a kind of secret sign which the Spirit has placed in their hearts.

These have been in the presence and will never be the same again. They know a holy reverence, a wondrous sense of sacredness that rises at times to transports of delight. Their garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia, a gift from their Bridegroom and King who came walking out of the Ivory Palaces, trailing clouds of glory, to win them for Himself.

These hail each other across the oceans and down the years. Over the barriers set up in ignorance by stubborn men to separate the children of God, they leap to clasp each other’s hands and share together the feast of holy bread and wine.

Often their narrow theologies divide them from each other; but when they pray and sing their essential unity is revealed. The protestant will sing with joyous tears the songs of Faber and Newman who were Catholics. The Arminian will worship God with the hymns of Newton and Toplady who were Calvinists, and no one feels any inconsistency or embarrassment, for it is the heart that sings, and it is the heart that recognizes the marks of the Cross that makes many one. Could it be that it is here, rather than in some external unity, that the prayer of Jesus finds its fulfillment, THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE?”

Join the dance in the fellowship of the God Smitten.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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