Saturday, February 6, 2010

Expanding Horizons

It is a good thing to expand ones reading horizons beyond your usual and normal spiritual grazing grounds. Charismatics should also read conservative Evangelicals, Baptists should also read Lutherans, Reformed believers should read Catholic devotional authors, etc. And all of us from the western traditions need to be exposed to eastern Christianity.

I've recently been reading a book on Eastern Orthodox spirituality, The Jesus Prayer by Frederica Matthewes-Green. Here's an excerpt from the introduction.
"...the very fact that you want to know God's presence means you're already sensing something. Think about it. How many people never give God a second thought? How many people sleep in on Sunday morning, and never open up a Bible or send up a prayer? But you're not like that; you really want to be closer to the Lord. My hunch is that you are already sensing something of God's presence, or you wouldn't care.

Here's a homely analogy: picture yourself walking around a shopping mall, looking at people and the window displays. Suddenly, you get a whiff of cinnamon. You weren't even hungry, but now you really crave a cinnamon roll. This craving isn't something you made up. There you were, minding your own business, when some drifting molecules of sugar, butter, and spice collided with a susceptible patch inside your nose. You had a real encounter with cinnamon - not a mental delusion, not an emotional projection, but the real thing.

And what was the effect? You want more, now. And if you hunger to know the presence of God, it's because, I believe, you have already begun to scent its compelling delight."

(The Jesus Prayer, page xiv.)
I can certainly agree with everything written above. And now I am hungry (and not for cinnamon rolls!).