Is awe of God lost?  Are we civilized democratized 21st century beings even  capable of being awed?  When was the last time you were actually awed?  How trivialized has the term awesome become?  Is our relationship with God like that of Esther with her husband the King or more like Vashti and how did that work out?

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Interesting how people pull new meanings from metaphors that originally suggested the collapse of certain religious & governmental authorities (ie the fall of the Temple & the local rulers during the upcoming Jewish revolt against Rome.) Not necessarily giving 'wrong' meanings -- but  necessarily implying to any final, 'This is exactly what it was meant to mean!' results.

When poetic language does fit a person's experience, they often reach that sort of conclusion; but this tends to slam the door on differing interpretations -- of words that probably were intended to convey different things to different people. Certainly the parables have that quality, to the point where I've been sitting in Meeting and suddenly seen a far different meaning than I'd assumed until then.

Patricia referenced 2 Cor. 12:4. Here is a larger extract.

Paul's Visions and His Thorn

[1] I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. [2] I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. [3] And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—[4] and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. [5] On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—[6] though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. [7] So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,(1) a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. [8] Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. [9] But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

(2 Corinthians 12:1-10 ESV)

2 Cor. 5:17 reads:


[17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.(1) The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. [18] All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] that is, in Christ God was reconciling(2) the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

(2 Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV)

This is a powerful re-telling of Paul’s personal struggles; his highs and lows. In that re-telling he shares with us that grace, through being in Christ; that the experience of inward Presence of Christ, even in all our hardships and struggles is sufficient. It is enough. And not only that but that his power is made perfect in weakness and dismay. Wow. To live in that sufficient grace, to experience the indwelling Spirit directly, even in outward struggle; that is awesome, that is being that is reverent and revenant and at ease and in dismay in one and the same moment in all things and circumstances. This is that testimony of the founding Quakers; even when the founding Quakers were not in unity, they were in unity on this testimony. It is the awe-inspiring testimony and truth resulting from the indwelling of the Spirit itself into our very being and consciousness so that, in Christ, we are a new creation and we are in a new way of being … heaven on earth. This is the truth the founding Quakers shared and lived and that we all can live today through the life, death, and coming again of the Jesus Christ into human being and consciousness. 

No, no, I wasn't talking about that but about the brief allusion to one of Jesus' prophecies, which somehow got incorporated. Paul was a powerful influence on the Puritans & the early Friends, who were much concerned with finding The Right Way To Organize A Church (and deciding who should be in charge) but that's not where I look for inspiration.


Forrest Curo said:

God did not make human beings to suffer a permanent state of dismay, whatever other nice emotions might be mixed into that.

When I think of the infinite, unimaginable future before us, I am indeed overwhelmed, often suffer a brief flash of utter horror at the inconceivable scope and nature of what we are to be and what our experience might be like. Then I recover my trust, and the thought of being someone/something unimaginable to my present self becomes awe at the vast imagination able to create such a future.

But mostly I find a smaller field of vision suits me far better.

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