What I had failed to do was to mentally integrate a key implication of Symbiotic Christianity. I had gotten so caught up in the excitement of the stuff that the Spirit was doing in me and in others that I had ignored the full implications of being symbiotically joined to God. Like too many others, I was so caught up in the manifestations of God that I had failed to appreciate the implications of the very presence of God within. The attention was on the goodies God gave rather than the God who gave them. Think of a greedy husband concentrating on the extra money his wife was bringing in to the family, but failing to appreciate her feelings and motivations that drove her to take a job in the first place.
This is not to say that I had not considered the issue, for I had made a few stabs in that direction. For example, I did do some deep thinking about the implications of the Holy Spirit residing within us forever, but it was the theological implications of the "forever" aspect that had absorbed my attention. I had not ever evaluated the "residing" aspect.
So what aspect of Symbiotic Christianity had I grasped on July 19 that ended my "sunday night blues attacks"?
I had begun to appreciate the personal implications of Unification.
Owning an Empty Universe
Being God and able to forsee the future, the Holy Spirit had started to lay the groundwork for the solution long before I felt the need. This year (2009) my church put on its best Easter production ever. At the beginning of it was slide presentation of Nature scenes interspersed with pictures of the Church members and our brothers and sisters at Wanyanga United Methodist in Uganda. I suppose what hit me the hardest during that part was seeing a picture of Ken and Kristie Fuqua: Ken had left Plant Hatch for South Texas Project, and I was beginning to miss him and our times together. The music accompanying the multimedia presentation was Rich Mullins' "The Color Green", a moving comtemplation of the glories of God's world. I captured the song off of Youtube using Audacity and put it on my MP3 player along with all the Techno, Trance, and Dance tunes I was accumulating and found spiritually illuminating. This proved providential: I have written before of how the Holy Spirit speaks through music, and an essay in this Stage will more fully explain how it works, but at the time I was not thinking that I was "setting" myself up for the Spirit to speak.
I don't know the precise date when the Spirit "sprung the trap" that laid the seed in my mind for the insight I got on July 19, but I definitely know where it was sprung: the pet food and paper products asile in the Vidalia Harvey's supermarket. I was listening to my MP3 player on "shuffle", and it shuffled to "The Color Green" after I picked up some cans of cat food. I recall having felt while listening to the music before that I "ought" to feel awed at God's creation, and felt that the lack of such a feeling was a flaw in my makeup that needed fixing. I certainly never felt anything like this while singing "This is my Father's House".
But this time, while listening to the line about waking up "in the house of God", I distinctly felt pride.
Now this was not the pride that comes from finishing a job well, or the spiritual vice of pride that thinks "I am pretty good!" when it is God who did the good act through me. No, this was the very distinct feeling of pride that a kid feels when he and his friends walk by the gigantic factory where all their fathers work, and he truthfully boasts "My dad owns this factory!"
It was on July 19 that I realized, "I have the Holy Spirit in me. This is the same God who made the universe, and He is forever joined to me! This huge empty universe is His. And mine too, by right of sonship!"
This is the realization, the implication, that I had to accept that fixed the core problem that produced the "I am so small" thoughts. The "Sunday night blues attacks" have not returned. Occasionally, I will feel it raise its head, but it retreats when I recall Who it is who chose to dwell within me forever out of His love for me.
There is a mini-parable embedded in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) that people fail to appreciate in their haste to condemn the Elder brother. The Elder brother, bless his heart, was equally ignorant of who he was and of the kind of Father he had. His main complaint was a perceived lack of fairness on the part of the Father: despite the Prodigal wasting a third of the family estate in loose living, the Father killed the fatted calf to throw a huge party to celebrate his return, while "you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends." He was essentially saying "You reward someone who gored you out of a third of your property and blatantly disobeyed you and made a mockery of your morality with a party fueled by the fatted calf, while not wanting to spare, out of your VAST ESTATE, a little kid to reward the one who was faithful to you and worked to repair the damage this son of yours did to us, you blind, stingy, callous old man!"
The words of the Father did not as much ignore the accusation as much as it clarified the flaw in the thinking of his oldest son: "My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours." The problem the Elder Brother had was that he failed to truly own his Father's sonship: if the Father had given the Prodigal a third of the family estate, then how had the Elder Brother come to the belief that the Father would balk at his request of a small kid, some loaves of bread, and a jar of wine? As James put it in his letter, "You have not because you ask not".
Those of us in whom the Spirit of God resides forever should no longer look up into the sky and feel so small, insiginificant, and finite in the face of such a vast and empty universe. We have not been dumped in the middle of a desert with no cover under an endless sky like shivering teen rabbits, but are children who have been plopped into the middle of a huge room in a vast mansion and are crying for our parents. What we need to hear and understand are the words that our crying is drowning out, "This is but one room in the vast house of your Father. It is your playroom. What do you want to put in it?" It is only when you let those words sink into your understanding that the room that formerly caused terror now provokes excitement as you begin to see, in your mind's eye, how much good stuff could go into this, your room, in Your Father's House, powered by the authority he gave you!
However, before you go hog-wild in what passes for the Fao Schwartz of this universe on Your Father's Mastercard (the one with the non-existent credit limit), you need to factor in the Joker in the Christian deck of life's cards.
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