Listenings: Attachment

We continue looking at Underhill’s quotation which I printed last week.  We turn this week to the idea of “attachment.”  You can go back and re-read it, if you need to.

When we are awakened to God’s vision, Underhill is correct—we often have an accompanying sense of imperfection and unworthiness.  Most visions do not invite us into them without some kind of change on our part.

But this sense, as Underhill notes in the way she writes, is not the ultimate factor.  The more-powerful insight is that God’s vision draws us into it.  We understand that we have been called to “attach” ourselves to the vision.  We are to become involved in helping bring it to pass.

Spiritual formation very quickly turns into our participation in the things of God.  We offer our everyday lives and our ordinary work to God, praying as St. Francis did, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

One of the ways we can discern that a vision is from God is that it does not so much require “olympian” efforts on our part as the mere willingness to let God work in and through us.  The old hymn says it well, “Take my life, and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee.  Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.”

In classic Christian language we call this “conversion.”  It begins in a fundamental commitment to Christ (often referred to as “new birth”), but it continues in a never-ending series of little conversions—as day-by-day we offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

The “attachment” is one of love—loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength—and loving our neighbors as ourselves.  The two great commandments not only frame the spirit of our attachment, but they also imply the location of it—in the regular lives that we live.

God’s vision comes with the question, “Can I use you?”  When we say, “Yes,” the journey is under way.  And then, for the rest of our lives, we sing, “Where He leads me, I will follow.”

 

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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1 Response to Listenings: Attachment

  1. ed says:

    Great stuff…!

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