Monday, February 11, 2008

Mystical Life of Communion (notes) I

Mystical Life of Communion - Day 1

Vision for Communion - the Relevance of Intimacy

Notes by Stephen Venable with my thoughts thrown in.

I. Charting our Course

Title: Mystical Life of Communion

The title of this course could throw some people off. The word “mystical” produces thought-pictures of wizards, magic, and all sorts of occultism, or at the very least, it sounds weird and non-mainstream. It also gives off a vibe of inaccessibility, that even if it were good, it would be very hard to obtain.

Quoting Stephen Venable:
“In actuality the subject matter is fundamental to the Christian journey, though it is in truth quite unfamiliar to the vast majority...”

“We must recognize from the outset that this disparity between importance and acquaintance creates a stigma, for we are naturally skeptical of that which we do not know, particularly when the assertion is made that we will languish without it.”

A life of communion with Christ is mystical yet supremely relevant to all who seek to follow him. It is rare, however the we’ve had the guide-book for it all along in our Bibles.

Quoting Stephen Venable:
“For the present it can be understood as a certain approach toward relationship with God that emphasizes an awareness, or knowledge of His presence.”

Other words to describe this that may be more friendly include “fellowship” and “intimacy.”

The fact that this is biblical removes much of the fear that it is something bad. The Bible truly is the instruction manual to knowing God in a personal way.

Quoting Stephen Venable:
“Perhaps the chief charge posed by critics of mysticism throughout the ages has been its dependence upon subjectivity, and thus vulnerability to delusion.”

By using the Bible as our guide and by evaluating personal experience through it helps to free it from the weakness of subjectivity and protects from delusion.

“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast of restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18 ESV

Without a vision of God, without knowing his heart and his desires for our lives, we easily shrug off restraint and fall into apathy or go off and pursue our own fleshly desires.

To journey into a life of communion with God we must have our minds renewed. We must be shown by God who He Is, and who we are so that we can have right relationship with him. With this understanding we can rightly evaluate personal experience and recognize God’s hand and his purposes.

II. Incarnate Thirst

All humanity has need and desire of things outside itself. This need and desire is actually planted by God, and can only be fulfilled by God. There are three primary areas in which this desire is seen: Love, Beauty, and Significance.

We attempt to satisfy this infinite hunger within ourselves by more and more finite things. This doesn’t work, although it does distract us temporarily from our condition. In our age we have an incredibly vast amount of things to distract us, more than ever before. Yet our hunger is still unfed, and is, if possible, more veracious than ever before. Everyone goes from thing to thing looking for fulfillment and finding emptiness. Yet most do not recognize the cycle or even their condition.

What’s interesting is that these desires are not bad, they were made by God. And God alone can meet those desires. He alone can love us with an unending love. He alone can fascinate us with an infinite beauty and infinite knowledge. He alone can give us purpose and context for our lives as our creator. Yet we have difficulty recognizing this because we do not want to recognize anything larger than ourselves, even while our inner-desire is for just that.


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Kansas City, Missouri, United States
I'm a full-time lover of Jesus. I work, learn, and pray at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. I live simple, and seek God with all my heart.

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