He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
This is my walk, actually my prayer for this year is “more of you, less of me.”
There was my Advent blog but the darkness and struggle continue past the promise of the birth of Jesus for Mary and Joseph, just as they continue for us past the promise of the Christ candle lit in the darkness. Jesus would be a toddler before the Persian wise men would finally find the quest of their pilgrimage, the one born to be king of Israel, the Messiah. This discovery would lead to a great sign of God’s purpose, but also to this little family becoming even more outcast as refugees in Egypt, to escape Herod’s murderous intent.
The story of those called out of normal life to walking intimately with God as they follow the path laid out before them continues down through the centuries in as many forms as there are children being drawn by their heavenly father into becoming everything they were created to be.
Rumi, a sufi poet and teacher from the 13th century, is today one of the world’s most popular poets. His hunger for the divine friend, his yearning for the one who drew him out of himself into the embrace of the One is famously inscribed in volumes of poetry celebrating the ecstasy of presence, wailing in agony at the absence of the one, the felt absence of the One. Rumi’s pain was a great teacher as he came to see the illusions of normal life for what they are, gently revealing the depths and heights of what is possible in being immersed in divine love, in the ocean of being.
Just as Joseph and Mary had to wander far as outcasts in order to fulfill their destiny, nurturing the Christ child into full manhood, so too Rumi wandered in the wilderness:
We’ve come again to that knee of seacoast
no ocean can reach.
Tie together all human intellects.
They won’t stretch to here.
The sky bares its neck so beautifully,
but gets no kiss. Only a taste.
This is the food that everyone wants,
wandering the wilderness, “Please give us
Your manna and quail.”
We’re here again with the Beloved.
This air, a shout. These meadow sounds,
an astonishing myth.
We’ve come into the Presence of the One
who was never apart from us.
When the water bag is filling, you know
the Water-carrier’s here!
The bag leans lovingly against Your shoulder.
“Without You I have no knowledge,
no way to touch anyone.”
When someone chews sugarcane,
he’s wanting this Sweetness.
Inside this globe the soul roars like thunder.
And now Silence, my strict tutor.
I won’t try to talk about Shams.
Language cannot touch that Presence.
Wandering Wilderness, p. 195, The Big Red Book, Rumi. Coleman Barks
We wanderers often cannot find words for the inexpressible, for the experiences beyond normal rationality that we have had, for the aching that is in our hearts to be unified/reunified with the One. We remember the sweetness of falling in love with the One who holds us and yet is deep within us, from whom there is no escape, but who can seem impossibly far off.
Sustain us oh One in whom we live and move and have our being, sustain us as we further empty ourselves of everything in order to be filled with You! In our sufferings, in our circumstances, in our trials, give us grace to continue onwards and upwards as guided by your Spirit deep within and all around us.
Originally written January 7, 2019