The opinions expressed on this blog are the personal views of Andreas Kjernald and do not reflect the positions of either the UMC congregations in Skien or Hvittingfoss or the UMC Norway.

fredag 10 mars 2017

Those clear moments

I remember a class in seminary where the teacher drew a line on the whiteboard, marked off the extreme edges and then asked students to put an X on the line between the two extremes and back up their answer. For instance, the question would be predestination and the left extreme would state that everything is predestined to happen the way it does and the right extreme would state that everything is random chance. As a student, you would then put your X and explain why. I loved that class!

One of those questions was "When can a person be saved?" and it really made us think. Is it all the time or only at certain times? Is God always willing and ready to save? Is man always able to be saved, even Himmler in the camps on a Tuesday? Can we save ourselves by calling on God when we want to or do we need God's grace to even know that we need salvation?
It is not an easy question but I remember that most of us agreed that day that God is always ready to save but that we are not AND that therefore there exists "windows of salvation" in people's lives when the grace from God is able to find us, as wind through an open window, as it were. Most of the time we have the window shut.

I call those moments "clear" moments when we open our spiritual windows, by God's grace. I consider it such that it is me with my volition who chooses to open the window but it is God who enables my volition to see why I should.
In my experience I find that most people have relatively few "clear" moments. There is a lot of intellectual and spiritual haze and most of the time also a lot of distractions. When you consider that the only thing separating you from the wind of God's Spirit is, at all times, just a few "millimeters" of "window pane". Those distractions and the spiritual haze that is so prevelant in these days are what I call that window pane, shielding us from the power of God for good and for bad. Mostly for bad.

Today I stood watching the rain fall here in Pokhara outside my window. It was the first time it had rained here since we came here in January so it was just a little mesmerizing, or unusual, to see water fall vertically...and as I stood there watching out of my window I had a "clear" moment. Not a moment to be saved but a moment when I could feel the Spirit of God blowing his gentle breeze over my Spirit. Nothing mystical, just a "clearing" if you would.
Perhaps it had something to do with that the power had gone out, the internet router was dead, there was a nationwide strike so no taxis or shops were open and I had just finished reading my book. In other words, no distractions were available. Just me and some rain outside my window.

The clarity brought a message with it. The message was: the joy of the Lord is better. I know, it sounds super spiritual and like God spoke audibly or wrote something with fire on the wall. That's not the case. It was just clarity...for once.

It's like that worship song that sings that the love of God is the air that they breathe and you think, "- Really? The very air that you breathe?"...and you dismiss it as poetry. Well, what if it isn't? What if some people actually live like that? What then? Would you like to have that kind of life? Faith? Love?

There, at that window, I caught a glimpse of it. Later in the everning I remembered that such spiritual clarity usually involves something intimidating. Well, it is intimidating to the natural self, or the "old man" as Scripture calls it. It is a relinguishing. It is a change of heart. It is a different way to live.
All grand statements, to be sure, but they all begin in the insignificant, the smal and the irrelevant aspects of life. The question is, is holiness (becoming like Christ) and living as if Christ is the very air that I breathe worth it? It would certainly change a lot, wouldn't it?

So, is it worth it? There, at the window this morning, the word was better. Now, at the window in the evening, the question is...yes or no?

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