A day to go and so good to have a chat with my brother, Peter, who will lead the proceedings tomorrow in the Sma’ Glen. All is set….the water is warming up nicely (!!)
Most of my spiritual journey has been openly shared on this blog for over 9 years and I don’t want this significant event to be any less so. I’m continuing to reflect on where I am in my spiritual journey at the moment and what these days mean for me.
As I mentioned yesterday, this is exactly the right time for me for baptism. Not only because I am moving on from a different way of being and understanding, but because of how my life of faith has morphed in these recent years. When I left the Army I delcared to Jesus that it was going to be all about him from now on, everything else was going to be secondary. In this last three years I’ve thought about baptism as a logical next step in identifying with the part of the body of Christ I now serve in but didn’t want that to be the only reason.
As I’ve said, it was on retreat in the summer that I came to the conviction that I should be baptised as an outward expression of the direct spiritual experience of that week. It was on that retreat that a shift in spiritual understanding came…a deepening, a profound experience of the whole mystery of the Gospel and what we are invited into. I did, in many ways, feel like a second conversion. My experiences from that week have fundamentally changed my whole mindset on so many things but, more profoundly, radically changed my heart on so many things. I’m struggling to fully articulate it all for fear of betraying the experience.
It can all be summed up in this: in the first half of our spiritual lives we build for ourselves a spirituality and frame work to serve us well as we grow in faith, understanding and take on the new Kingdom mindset for ourselves. But we’re still processing things at a basic level, ‘like children craving milk.’ Life takes us places, especially in our 30s, where we evaluate our ‘container,’ our framework, and where we realise that although it was all very necessary to have, it will never serve us for our ongoing development and so a shift comes. Its like new wine and old wineskins. The invitation, in Paul’s experience, is to begin to desire the ‘meat’ of things. As we grow, we are then able to say with Paul:
“When I was a child, I thought like a child. Now I am a man, I have put childish ways behind me.” – 1 Cor 13
For me, this really is about laying aside the narrow scaffolding that served me so well and got me to where I am. To dismiss that loyal soldier who has stood by my side and brought me through the battle of childhood, youth and early adulthood to the place where I must now be the father not just to my children, but to those for whom I care for.
I am swimming in the Mystery of God. Its like God has stepped out from behind the bush and I’ve caught a glimpse of his glory as he passes by with his hand over me, hiding me lest I die. I am experiencing what I believe Samuel Logan Brengle experienced on Boston Common, what Booth, Wesley and Palmer and the rest called Full Salvation, what I call peace, pure and simple.
And yet, this is not a destination but merely the arrival at another starting point for the future. Its a turning the corner in spiritual terms, a corner that has been spiritually tormenting me for near 4 years. So, having got to the place of facing my own death before I die, taking on the wounds and suffering of Christ, and allowing myself to be wakened by God in such a profound and powerful way, the only way to describe my experience is that of Resurrection. What I intellectually and spiritually understood through a glass darkly, I now see through less frosted glass!
The bottom line is that I want to make witness at this stage of my journey that I identify fully with Jesus. I desire to declare to you and to anyone that its ok to rethink things. Its ok to re-evalute. But also, its always good to go with your spirtual hunches, your deep urgings that come to you about things without shame.
I also want to encourage all my friends to fix their eyes on Jesus, to follow closely in his footsteps and allow his divine life to flood you in ever amazing and new ways. I look forward to baptising some of you soon 😉
Again, I know many can’t be with me in body, but please join me in prayer. I’ll try and get Mrs Clark to take a video! 11am tomorrow (Saturday) in the River Almond at Newton bridge, north of Crieff in Perthshire.