What does it mean to love God with our Souls?

I did not quite understand the answer to this question until I was walking down the Jamaica beach in Galveston at 2:00 am on a Saturday morning. I realized that to love God with my soul is to be deeply moved by a sheer display of His brilliant majesty in a way that bypasses my heart and mind and reaches deep into my unconscious, my soul, to lift it up into an ecstasy (in the truest sense of that word) to a posture of absolute submission and worship of God. 

We are called to love God with the heart, soul, mind and strength. I have at times wondered what it means to love God with the soul. 

I think of loving God with my heart to mean that desires are being shaped to love God. This happens when I read, say, Kierkegaard or Tolkien or Dostoevsky. Loving God with my mind is like reading Alvin Plantinga, Charles Taylor or Jamie Smith. To love God with my strength is to love him with the works of my hands.

So what does it really mean to love God with my soul? 

I did not quite understand the answer to this question until I was walking down the Jamaica beach in Galveston at 2:00 am on a Saturday morning. I realized that to love God with my soul is to be deeply moved by a sheer display of His brilliant majesty in a way that bypasses my heart and mind and reaches deep into my unconscious, my soul, to lift it up into an ecstasy (in the truest sense of that word) to a posture of absolute submission and worship of God. 

I was spending the weekend with some friends from Church at a beach house in Galveston. Before I was about to sleep, I realized if there was something worth loosing sleep over, it would be to experience what it feels like to talk a walk along the beach at 2:00 am in the morning. There were a few words welled up from within my unconscious, my soul. I have tried to capture that elusive feeling in words, as pitiable as the attempt may be. If there was something worth allowing oneself to be made a fool of it is to attempt to express the experience of beauty that so moved ones heart. So here I go with my words of folly!

Rhythmic roar of the deep waters!
White lines of foam sliding over
Reaching out from the dark water
The ominous shaped clouds afar

So full of sound and fury
Yet signifying something
From beyond the Horizon
Yet so near, Lord of hosts!

Who set the foundations of Earth
And the boundaries of furious waters
An encounter with awesome Nature
An encounter with the almighty Creator

Un-curving my inwardly curved self
Shattering my self-importance
Saving the puny me from myself
By a sheer display of His vast Majesty

To stand still and look with my eyes
To be enchanted onto my knees
To be moved in my soul. To sing Hallelujah!
Over the rhythmic roar of the deep waters.

 I took this picture the next morning...
I took this picture the next morning…
 While drinking coffee on the beach!
While drinking coffee on the beach!

Tick! Tick! Tick! goes Life

Tick! Tick! Tick! goes Life

A perpetual loss
Of time
Of loved ones
Of precious moments

All is evanescence
All lost into oblivion
Is the ticket worth it, Alyosha? 
Or can the earth be kissed, Ivan?

But oh wait!

Little buds becoming roses
Little babies becoming lovers
Time becoming blessedness
New Creation coming into Being.

Tick! Tick! Tick! goes Life.

A New Adventure

After 10 years of working in the Software field, here I, on my last day of work am looking back with happy contentment and looking forward with an anxious excitement! Looking back to the cherished times I enjoyed working in the twilight zone between human beings and  technology. Looking forward to the adventurous journey of going to Seminary to pursue my call to become a Theologian, Writer and Preacher, where I will navigate through the world of timeless ideas to bring new meaning into the lives of people.

After 10 years of working in the Software field, here I, on my last day of work am looking back with happy contentment and looking forward with an anxious excitement! Looking back to the cherished times I enjoyed working in the twilight zone between human beings and  technology. Looking forward to the adventurous journey of going to Seminary to pursue my call to become a Theologian, Writer and Preacher, where I will navigate through the world of timeless ideas to bring new meaning into the lives of people.
 

Looking Back:

Looking back, there are three things I have cherished in my work life in the twilight zone.

1. Being a software Project manager, I have enjoyed working in the area of interface of people and technology – computers on one side and human relationships on the other, facing the best and the worst of both worlds (depending on the day :P).
2. Being a Subject Matter Expert in some specific domains, I have enjoyed helping people get to where they want to get to using the SME knowledge. There is a deep satisfaction in acquiring knowledge and then using that to help people achieve their goals.
3. Having started my work life in India, and then moving to Houston I have had the opportunity to build relationships at my work life with very diverse group of people. I have enjoyed having conversations with them about a lot of things ranging from politics to movies. Those are conversations and memories I will carry with me.

If there is one thing I will miss the most from my past 10 years of life working with/at MphasiS/AIG, it will be the people. (And of course, the easy pay checks too. :P).
 

Looking Forward:

Since the time I was in my late teens, the deeper questions of life have beckoned me to come explore them. I have been enthralled by the deeper questions pertaining to the meaning of life: Why is man the way he is – as Pascal calls him, “the thinking reed”, incredibly special but inexorably fragile; “a wretched angel” with so much good and bad comingled? How can man live the FULLEST life as Thoreau said, “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”?

I always knew that at some point, I will have to embark on a journey into the world of ideas to explore my way through them and make my mark – the mark pointing to the Truth and bringing it to bear ‘fruit’ in the lives of people. Yes, ideas change people, starting from Pythagoras who talked about Truths being eternal to Foucault who said all truths were relative – mere tools in the hands of the powerful to manipulate the weak. As for me, to make my journey into the world of ideas, I choose Theology, or I should say Theology chose me! For it is in theology that philosophy, history and psychology blend with Revelation and Redemption into a strong portion that gives me the fortitude to wrestle with questions that bear fruit in the lives of people.

Being a Tolkien and Lewis fan, if I may borrow analogies from them to describe my venture, I would say that my new adventure is not unlike the adventure that Samwise Gamgee embarked on to rescue Middle Earth from Sauron and restore it to the true King. Nor is it unlike Sastha (from Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia – ‘Horse and His Boy’) who found himself hurled into a journey in the unknown realms to discover at the end that the point of his journey was to save his Father’s kingdom.The call to go on this journey has been indelibly written in my DNA. Like Bilbo (in Tolkien’s Hobbit) who with initial reluctance yet lasting resoluteness gives-in to his Tookishness (Took being his adventurous ancestor) to set about on a journey with Gandalf to rescue the lonely mountain from the Dragon Smaug, I too, with a resoluteness that has overwhelmed my reluctance am giving-in to my Call to go on my journey to glorify the King!

From a corner of my conscience
There has been a call
Steadily building into a crescendo
To build in the Kingdom, a castle

Not one of brick and mortar
But one of ideas and emotions
Of hearts and the minds
Of life and eternity

So I embark on an adventure
To explore deeper, that corner of my conscience
And build the castle that is comfort to the weary,
Built not on sand, but on the Rock!

The Rock that is the stone
The stone that will become a mountain
A mountain that will become a Temple-city
Filling the Cosmos in a crescendo of Praise!

(I am not so much of a poet. I know the last stanza may seem cryptic. Clue to interpret the last stanza: Imagery from the Book of Daniel and Revelation.)

PS: It is interesting that my last working day at my job is Oct-31 which is Reformation Day, the day when Luther nailed 95 thesis on the church door which got the ball rolling for the Protestant reformation movement. Of course, it is also All Saints Day when the Saints are celebrated as a symbol of the powers of evil being overcome – which actually has morphed into what we call the Halloween (for the good and the bad of it).

All that is Gold Does Not Glitter!

All that is gold does not glitter; Not all those who wander are lost… These words speak powerfully to the Christian living in the human condition. In life, everybody wanders. We never stay in one place. The question really is, are we wandering towards a destiny or are we truly lost.

Been re-reading Lord of the Rings… I am struck the poem that Bilbo writes about Aragorn. The poem is prophetic about Aragorn becoming the King he is meant to be. What struck me is that the poem looks through into future with hope in spite of the dreariness of the present state.

When the poem is written, the common towns people look at Aragorn as a bumb, a wanderer. He is derisively associated with the ‘rangers’ who wander about. He is weather worn and isn’t good looking either.

Aragon goes about wandering from place to place searching for things that are invisible to the common eye. He knows deep within that he is a King’s son and someday he will claim his throne. But until then, he has to wait and wait patiently going about the business of saving his Father’s kingdom, unbeknownst to the common folk.

It is in this context that Bilbo writes about Aragorn….
 

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king

All that is gold does not glitter; Not all those who wander are lost… These words speak powerfully to the Christian living in the human condition. In life, everybody wanders. We never stay in one place. The question really is, are we wandering towards a destiny or are we truly lost.

When people look at us sometimes it may appear that we, as Christians, are wandering about spending time searching for God’s glories and glorifying Him in life… through church, missions etc. It may appear to others that we are confused people oblivious to the priorities of life. But they do not know that in all of our wandering, we aren’t lost.

Aragorn, my LOTR-nerd-friend Chuck Dotson says, wandered for about 80 years, which interestingly is close to the ‘wandering years’ of Moses before he encountered the Burning Bush! We should take courage from such ‘hopefulness’ and remember that in all of our wandering, we truly are going about the goal of ‘saving’ our Father’s Kingdom. We will never be lost!

30 years… 3 times… Cup Overflows in Eternity!

Thanks be to God
For on the other Shore is this Ocean
Which the drop can never empty
My cup overflows living God’s Eternity!

30 years have I lived
Its gone in a flash
I couldn’t tell how
But, oh! life is short

30 years have I lived
Glories… there’s been some
Too short lived though
For me to remember

30 years have I lived
Seen my share of joys
But then time catches on
Even to the memories

30 years have I lived
Sorrows ebb and flow
With the tide of time
But then time flies

30 years have I lived
May be another 30
I will live. If blessed,
A 3rd 30 too, God knows

In the 3 30 years of life
Sorrow, joy and glory
co-mingled flow…
All but a blip in Eternity

Oh, even a 3 30 year life
Full of sorrow is but a drop
In the ocean of God’s Eternity
An Eternity complete and joyful

Thanks be to God
For on the other Shore is this Ocean
Which the drop can never empty
My cup overflows living God’s Eternity!

A Drop of the Divine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luRmM1J1sfg

There aren’t surprises which do not have the element of the transcended in them. There isn’t an admiration where a part of the unconsious self does not admire an absolute. Without a God there are no absolutes, without a ‘God of surprises’ there are no surprises either.

 

47, unwed, unloved except by a cat
Unemployed. Unruly hair
Unkissed lips, ungroomed being
Stands up to surprise an audience.

An audience that love freely
Groom costly, sit smugly.
Kiss countless, cuddle many.
Cynical coterie, ridicule ready.

Stocky limbs, stumpy physique
Grumpy manners, Cheesy chatter.
Not unlike the distant cousins
Evolutionary garbage?

Suddenly, a dream
Out of nowhere
Simply outrageous
Ultimately hilarious!

Oh, but, from the ludicrously dreamy
Unshapely frumpy bundle
The sound of Divine Breath
The dream come true.

A shocking marvel.
Ravishingly outlandish.
A voice of an Angel.
A miraculous evolution – the misfit survives.

From the primordial slime
To the first amino acid, to ape and the man
The fit miss, the misfit hit
A dream, a beautiful dream.

Not a chimpy cousin
Not an aberrant DNA
Not the primordial soup.
But a drop of the Divine.

If nature’s got talent
Man’s got the Divine.
A drop of the Divine
Of the God of surprises.