Gleanings: The Grand Reversal

Richard Rohr’s daily e-letter has a powerful writing on mystical love, showing how it is a grand reversal of our tendency to think about the God-human relationship…

Ordinary Christianity has emphasized that we should love God. This makes sense, but do we really know how to do it? What I find in the mystics is an overwhelming experience of how God has loved us! That’s what comes through all of their writings, and I do mean all—that God is forever the initiator, God is the doer, God is the one who seduces me in my unworthiness. It’s all about God’s initiative! Then the mystics try desperately to give back, to offer their lives back to the world and thus back to God.

Mystics are not trying to earn God’s love by doing good things or going to church services. That question is already and profoundly resolved. The mystics’ overwhelming experience is this full body blow of divine embrace, a radical acceptance by God even in their state of fragmentation and poverty. That’s what makes it “amazing” and “grace” (see Romans 11:6).

This is surely what Paul had in mind in another place:  Romans 5:8.

The Christian spiritual life looks completely different when it begins with God.  It becomes all about humble receptivity (not prideful “control”) that makes whatever we say or do a response to grace.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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