Friday, July 23, 2010

Praying With Eyes Open

It seems like the world is getting thinner. I don't mean that people are getting lighter. Every report I hear tells me that Americans are getter heavier. And I am not getting any lighter either!

What I mean is that the veneer of the world is wearing thin, like my favorite shirt. I had an old red flannel shirt that had seen so many washings that you could see my skin through it. Eventually it was time to retire it and buy a new one. In the same way the world is getting so thin you can see through it. It won't be long before God has to roll it up and discard it, and start anew with a new heavens and new earth.

When I look at the world these days, it seems more transparent than it used to be. Maybe it is all the prayer and meditation I have been doing this past year. I tend to pray with my eyes open now. I figure God is just as much in the visible world as he is in the dark, so what is the point of praying with eyes closed?

As I pray with eyes open, the world looks different. The difference carries over into regular times when I am not praying. I see the world through eyes of prayer. The world is brighter, sharper, and at the same time more transparent. The world shines with the presence of the One I behold in prayer. Like the old hymn says:

This is my Father's world:
He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

In the beginning of the Book of Revelation, the apostle John is sitting on a mountainside looking out over the Aegean Sea, when he sees a door open in heaven. Through that door he sees a whole new dimension of existence. I haven't entered any revelatory doors, but I see spirit shining through the fabric of the world. Like light filtered through distant storm clouds, spirit filters through the material world.

It looks like the glory of God. Jews call it Shekhinah. This is a Hebrew word that means "dwelling" or "settling." It is used to describe the divine presence that was said to dwell in the temple, especially in the Holy of Holies. When Jesus died the veil of the Holy of Holies in the temple was torn apart, and the glory of God spread into all the earth.

The Shekhinah released by the Cross is still shining, like the light that creeps over the horizon when the sun is setting ... or when it is rising. Either way, it is shining still "in all that's fair" and even what's not so fair. Anyone can see it. You just need to keep your eyes open and pray.

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