Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Being With God...While Letting Him Be God (Part 4)

God's transcendence was even more pervasive in the mindset of ancient church leaders, than those writers and thinkers driving the spiritual formation movement.

Since Jesus' day, those who encouraged a deepening devotional life, a rich prayer life, a life centered on being with God, have 
leaned on and worshiped God as transcendent and immanent. 

Their understanding of God's transcendence shaped their prayer life, and so their beliefs of His closeness.  

The mystery of God shaped their daily devotional life. 

Take a moment to pray/think through your own spiritual life in light of these leaders who related to the transcendent God on a deeply personal level:

Gregory Palamas:
"God is not a nature, for He is above all nature; He is not a being, for He is above all beings... No single thing of all that is created has or ever will have even the slightest communion with the supreme nature, or nearness to it" 

St. Basil the Great
"The Father is the principle of all, the cause of being for whatever exists, the root of the living. From him proceeded the source of life; the wisdom, the power, and the indistinguishable image of the invisible God; the Son...he who is both God and with God...he who is Son, not something possessed; he who is Maker, not something made; he who is Creator, not a creature..."

Ephraim the Syrian
Fix thou our hearing, that it be not loosed and wander!  For it is a-wandering if one enquire, who He is and what He is like.  For how can we avail, to paint in us the likeness, of that Being which is like to the mind?  Naught is there in it that is limited, in all of it He sees and hears; all of it as it were speaks; all of it is in all senses.

John of the Cross

"And if you should want to hear:
This highest knowledge lies
In the loftiest sense
Of the essence of God;
This is a work of His mercy,
To leave one without understanding,
Transcending all knowledge."

Jonathan Edwards: 
"Tis from the little that the saints have seen of God, and know of Him in this world, that they are excited to praise Him in the degree they do here. But here they see but as in a glass darkly; they have...a little glimpse of God’s excellency; but then they shall have the transcendent glory...of God set in their immediate and full view. They shall dwell in His immediate glorious presence, and shall see face to face (I Cor. 13:12). Now the saints see the glory of God but by a reflected light, as we in the night see the light of the sun reflected from the moon; but in heaven they shall directly behold the Sun of righteousness, and shall look full upon Him when shining in all His glory.”

A. W. Tozer :
"The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking...the decline of the knowledge of the holy has brought on our troubles. A rediscovery of the majesty of god will go a long way toward curing them."

Henri Nouwen:
The question is not “How am I to find God? But “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?”

J. I. Packer
"Today, vast stress is laid on the thought that God is personal, but this truth is so stated as to leave the impression that God is a person of the same sort we are--weak, inadequate, ineffective, a little pathetic. [God] has us in His hands, we never have Him in ours."

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