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Spiritual Essay

My Spiritual Life Essay

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There’s a lot that I have to be thankful to God for this month, just for all the ways he’s been speaking to me through messages, ministry and recent events.

I think that my relationship with God has taken on a new, different dimension since the prayer retreats and talks at the end of last month. God seems even more real and the way that I can pray and relate with him now seems more “relational and personal.” In general I’ve been able to identity as spiritual thirst this nagging feeling that I’ve always had before, of insecurity or of being unsettled. Before, I didn’t really understand or know what to do about this feeling so I would seek distraction or escape – or reassurance in the image of togetherness or competence that I kept of…show more content…

A couple of good talks I had this past month came about through a lot battling my desire to take an easier way out and through deliberately praying for strength to “discharge the duties of ministry.” It turns out that the guys are responding positively overall, so I’m glad, but I also have this feeling of regret that I hadn’t built deeper, more spiritual, relationship with these guys sooner because I could have, and maybe they’d be in a better place today if I did. On the same note, Lawrence’s suicide was a sobering wake-up call for me to build ministry relationships with much more deliberate direction and urgency. He lived in the floor below me senior year, but I still barely knew him. The problem I had then and still have now is that my heart is tight and my schedule is not open to people – it’s that attitude that I need to just take care of my responsibilities and anything that doesn’t seem directly connected to me is not my business. It’s hypocritical of me to claim to be a Christ-follower and minister, yet still allow this attitude to dictate my life. When Ajith Fernando talked about that quote “Obedience does not depend on the temperature of the heart,” I realized that this needs to be a point that I internalize and preach to myself again and as I try to deal with the many manifestations of my pain-avoidance, particularly in relationships with people. The mere fact that I don’t feel like

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Angels playing harps on white fluffy clouds might make for pleasing art or for comic strip caricatures. But even for the most avid music lover, spending eternity in such a genteel occupation is not that attractive. Harp-playing might have viewed as a symbol for peace in ages past more than it is now. But when it comes to eternal rest, or heaven, or the after-life or existence beyond time, the real and unlimited possibilities of whatever might follow after this life can be found if we reflect on present experiences, using our imagination.

We do not have available to us, nor do we really need, reports and interviews from those who are presently engaged in the kind of doings that we have reason to expect of the next life. If we give some thought to the deepest core of happiness in this life, we can verify the basic reality that supports our hopeful expectations for the next life.

The most promising aspect of life now that seems appropriate afterwards, is love. Our need to love and to be loved is never fully satisfied in this life even for the saints among us. The movement is so defining of humankind, and has such power, that we will do everything we can on behalf of those we love, partially because we have an innate sense that love is transcendent and does not really come to an end. Love, even as we experience it, does not pass away, though individual acts indeed come to a conclusion. Rather than playing harps or resting peacefully, unlimited love is an active, truly fitting after-life life-style that will be completely satisfying in every way.

We know that our love even now is not limited to family members and closest friends. Teaching, guiding, assisting, helping and acting kindly toward others as we do in a myriad of ways, give us quite reasonable hope that this kind of love will continue in an environment where time and energy are no longer quantifiable and limited, but infinite and eternal. Even in this life love is possible anywhere at any time. But we have so many limiting factors, and so much experience of the very opposite of love in this world, that if we do not reflect thoughtfully, we could miss the primacy of love in our lives, and not be able to foresee a life where only love is possible. Death is the end of all but love. Death has no conceivable place in life after death where love is all.  

Even if much of what we think about and put ourselves into with so much energy might not seem connected in any way with love, we can easily affirm that we are people of action. Death is the state of complete inaction. Whatever image we might hold for life beyond death, we can know with certainty that life is about action, not a state of passivity. Endless time will provide the appropriate environment of unlimited capacity for every kind of occupation of which we will be capable. There will be no lack of action, and all will be unequivocally filled with, and expressive of, love.

After all, those who play harps most likely do so with love as well as skill.

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