Saturday, September 09, 2006

Encounters with God

"Do not quench the Spirit." Thessalonians 5:19 (New King James Version)

Christ was so real that I sought him out often while at college by Thayer Pond in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. As I read the bible, I felt he was there with me.

A few years later, late at night lying sleepless in my bed at home in New York City on the 7th floor I felt I could reach out and touch God because he felt so near. It was eerie to realize that I was praying to a very real person, not just someone you read about only in books. He was palpably real and I was astounded with the realization late at night as the family slept in other parts of the apartment.

While reading the Beatitudes as I waited in a car dealership in Fort Lauderdale, Florida yesterday afternoon, I had this unusual and surprising image of my relationship with the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, The Holy Sprit. It is not intended to offend anyone, especially the Person of the Holy Spirit. It was a very personal and delightful set of images and their essence lingers still.

John the baptist, no doubt, saw the dove of light above Christ at the baptism. Christ, no doubt, also saw the dove. It was meant for both of them to see. Imagine yourself at the baptism and being allowed to see that wondrous image of a flaming dove that hovered with light in its wings.

The words about the Son of Righteousness with healing in his wings came to mind as did the text about Christ wanting to gather Jerusalem's people under his wings as a hen gathers her brood.

The song "Under His wings I am safely abiding" came to mind, as well. The text about God drawing us close to his bosom in the old testament came to mind, all in rapid succession.

Effortlessly, an image of a giant white dove with intelligence in his or her eyes, came to mind. I found myself drawn to seek shelter under the safety and warmth of that Compassionate Dove. When the dove moved I followed. If ever I momentarily moved outside to survey my immediate surroundings I always came back, more and more, to the shelter of the Wondrous Dove. When the situation got too dangerous where we were, I felt compelled to climb aboard the Dove of Strength and either hug its neck with both arms or held onto His strong and indestructible plumes.

Every day the dove took me higher and higher to greater and greater safety. Sometimes we would land, but as time advanced, I found myself safely under or flying with the Dove of Light, more and more. Finally, the Dove of Life landed in a wondrous place, and as I got out, I knew I was forever safe. I was home. Never to leave again. Never to fear again. Never to hide. I was safe in that world of light to walk anywhere possible, always conscious that I could not have gotten there had it not been for the kindness and protection of the Dove of Love.

"Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore." --William O. Cushing

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