Listenings: The Transforming Moment

The moment we awaken to the reality of God and engage ourselves to live in congruence with this Reality, we begin the transforming process we are calling “the spiritual life.”

Evelyn Underhill looked at her time and place and was amazed that most talk of “human progress” failed to address the spiritual dimension.  She called our entrance into the spiritual life “the most momentous step forward that a human being can make; for it is a step that takes us beyond self-interest, beyond succession, sets up a direct intercourse with the soul’s Home and Father, and can introduce us into eternal Life.  (p. 51)

It is worth noting that this transforming moment is described as a “step.”  We often speak of a “leap” of faith, but I’ve noticed that most people don’t get up each day looking for places or precipices they can leap from.  A few adventurous folks may sky dive, hang glide, or high dive into a pool or river—but most of us get up each day taking “steps” from one place to another.

I like the idea that transformation can occur in “steps,” because that’s the way I live my life.  And I imagine it’s the way you live yours most of the time.  Confuscious said, “The longest journey begins with a single step.”  He was right, and so was Jesus who only asks us to “follow” him—step by step.

But, there must be that “step”—that moment when we connect with the revelation and respond to it through a conscious act of alignment.  The first step is the transforming moment because it establishes the direction in which we intend to go.  And that intention is akin to the old hymn, “I have decided to follow Jesus—no turning back, no turning back.”


About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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