23 October 2006

Numinous

I really don't even know how to begin to write about the numinous experience I had yesterday during the Sunday morning service. The poem I wrote yesterday was an expression of what happened. It's not a good poem, but it's a good poetic account of my experience.

It's worth trying to express the experience in prose, however, because it was one of those times when God just suddenly - and rather unexpectedly - broke through in a very real and very powerful way. It just happened. I don't think there was any particular reason why it happened; the service was certainly not one that was trying to "whip up an experience".

Admittedly, it was a wonderful service. It was a combined service with our Anglican brothers and sisters as well as visiting Lutheran guests from Eastern Germany. There were about 100 people at the service - a very unusual experience for a Methodist - and the mood was celebratory. Truth be told, I was feeling positive about "the world church" and the realisation that the small Methodist congregation in this village isn't the only Christian community in the world (obvious, but sometimes one loses that perspective).

The Lutheran minister and I were asked to assist at communion as servers, with the Anglican vicar, G, presiding. G served us communion first and as he gave me the bread, he used the traditional words "The body of Christ, keep you in everlasting life". Suddenly, for a split second, God in Christ was present. He was just there. And I caught my breath. Ohhhhhh! And then the moment was gone. Numinous moments are like that.

This was a "touchstone event" - an event that one can draw on in the future as a spiritual "touchstone" in times of struggle. However, it is going to take me months to work through exactly what it means. In my experience, these sorts of events happen only once every several years.

In the meantime, I am filled with the sense of God's presence as a great light, a great generosity. A God who is inexpressible creativity and benevolent yearning. I really can't find the words for the power of this creative, loving light. I wish I could find the words.

4 comments:

Elsbeth said...

Trying to find words for the experience of God touching your life in such a direct way is very difficult. For me it works best to keep these touchstones in my heart and think of them, cherish them in happy and in difficult times. They are reminders of a God who is both close and holy, loving, and who knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

Anonymous said...

'This was a "touchstone event" - an event that one can draw on in the future as a spiritual "touchstone" in times of struggle. However, it is going to take me months to work through exactly what it means'

I like this idea of 'touchstone' event that leaves its mark on you - I have not thought about an encounter with God in this light. So often in my past an experience of God was being zapped by the Holy Spirit in a charismatic service which made you feel good for a few hours until the feeling wore off. My perception is a 'touchstone' encounter is a far deeper more transforming one. I had a 'return to faith' encounter
with God four years ago which still deeply resonates with me (after 10 years out of the church).

adios for now,

Rodney

Lorna said...

wonderful :)

blessings Pam. world church is THE thing and we're privileged to be a tiny part of it all :)

ampraisingHim said...

Thanks for sharing how God can speak to us in 'traditional' types of settings.