Reason and Revelation

Those who follow Jesus are, I fear, often suspicious of reason.
Some believe that the spiritual is far above intellect and cannot be discerned by the mind.  Some are simply afraid that those who are deemed intellectual will produce proof after proof to debunk their cherished beliefs.
We are commanded to love God with all of our mind.  And we are told that we cannot know God unless He reveals Himself to us.
Their eyes were opened
It seems a paradox that we can know God by reason and we can know God only by revelation.
Yet our faith is full of paradoxes: the last will be first; the King came as a servant; you live by dying; you gain by giving away.  It is one of the things I love about this Christ-filled life.  One can never get bored; there will never be a dearth of things to discover.
I love a good mystery novel.  I adore following the clues and trying to figure out the solution.  The best mystery authors are the ones who can lead you on, doling out all of the necessary clues and handing you a surprise twist at the end, a twist that you never saw coming but one that perfectly fulfills all of the clues that came before.
Beautiful Books
This is our faith.  The Old Testament prophets gave all of the necessary clues to finding the Messiah yet when He finally arrived, the way in which He perfectly agreed with their descriptions was a complete surprise.
I imagine that this is how it will be at the end of our own times.  The final revelation of God will perfectly complete all that we have reasoned out, yet in a beautifully surprising way.
Our Creator gave us reason, gave us intellect, gave us curiosity for a purpose.  I suspect that He delights in surprising us, in crafting intricate puzzles that lead us on ever new adventures of discovery.
Near Discovery
Far Discovery
Wouldn’t that be just like Him?

Art Credits: Road to Emmaus by Robert Zund; photos of space by NASA

Our Sacred Imagination (part two)

Could we continue the conversation about making our imaginations sacred?

I love the idea of nurturing my children’s imaginations to be used for God. 

Imagination is beautiful. The way in which we use our imagination makes it sacred.

I was reading Isaiah 6, the chapter in which Isaiah receives his call from God, and I saw something I hadn’t noticed before. 

Before Isaiah gives his famous plea, “Here am I. Send me!”, even before God calls for someone to go for Him, Isaiah is given a vision of God on His throne.

I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple.

Do you see it?

The vision preceded the call.

The vision of God is what changed Isaiah, what inspired him to take on the enormously difficult task of delivering God’s message.

Vision requires imagination. Sacred imagination.

Too often we want to go straight to the take-away, straight to our to-do list.

Instead, perhaps we should pause. Let God inspire us and change our hearts by filling our imaginations with a vision of Him.

Have you heard of lectio divina? I heard it mentioned in a Mars Hill interview recently, so I started digging for information.

It is the practice of Scripture reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Living Word. It was practiced by church fathers such as Ambrose and Augustine.

Meditative contemplation. Find a quiet space and something on which to focus. Scripture, something visual like nature or art, anything will do.

Contemplate God. Let the vision of who God is fill up your imagination. It is only the glimpse of the glory of God that can truly change us and give us what we need to fulfill whatever task has been asked of us.

God makes sacred our imaginations by filling us with a glimpse of Himself that changes us forever.

…among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. ~ Revelation 1 

…there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne…From the throne came flashes of lightening, rumblings and peals of thunder…”Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come”…They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” ~ Revelation 4

art credits: St. Augustine by Sandro Botticelli; Nebula by Dez Pain