We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
(No. 4 of “Four Quartets”)
I started this blog nearly three years ago as a way of publicly recording my wanderings in the desert with God. I fancied myself as a western Poustinik…one called into the desert by God and whom would then periodically return with a message for the village. Being a Poustinik felt like my role in the church in which I was an associate pastor.
There have been significant changes in my life since I started writing here, changes which have included two major job changes and a move to another state. Perhaps you notice from the dates of the blog entries that I have only posted twice in the last year. Circumstances in my life have brought me to a point of working out of the vocational pastorate. But, that is not why my blogging has greatly decreased.
Over the past couple of years I have been discovering Eastern Orthodoxy. That journey has culminated (can one use that word with a journey that is really just beginning?) with me and my wife being received into the Church on Holy Saturday. We have finally come home.
We have seen the true light! We have received the heavenly Spirit! We have found the true Faith! Worshipping the undivided Trinity, who has saved us.
This is from a prayer sung during the Liturgy. The Orthodox believe the fullness of the faith–the fullness of God–is found by participating in the ancient Church. I’m not going to try to defend that statement; I don’t feel a need to. I simply believe it is true because the Church Herself proclaims it. I am experiencing it.
The Orthodox also believe that God is incomprehensible, but that you have the know Him to know that. Like Eliot’s poem, I have been exploring God for many years now, including sixty hours of formal, post graduate study. With Eliot’s traveller, I feel like I have arrived back at the beginning of my exploration: an infant in Christ.
The Orthodox Divine Liturgy is the very real journey from this world into the kingdom of God itself worshipping the Trinity with all the heavenly hosts, and then returning to this world. In my participation in this journey I have realized that I am only beginning to glimpse the incomprehensibility of God, only beginning to realize just how little I know Him and His revealed nature.
Before Him, before the men and women past and present who have given their lives to Him in a way that is so far beyond anything I have done I simply have nothing to say. Rather, I need to be quiet and listen and experience God through Him and His worldly saints.
I pray God draws me deeper into the desert, deeper into Him. Perhaps I’ll write here again here one day. Only God knows.
In the end all is silence, as Horatio says of Hamlet. I have quit writing my Porter Posts for I have come to the place where I have nothing more to say. I hesitate to speak of what I now know to be true because in most ways it is unspeakable. Although you and I have come to different kinds of places–you finding what you need in Orthodoxy, me in Celtic Christianity blended with a lot of other mystical truth–we both know that what we know is known with the heart. I find that I agree with Francis of Assisi that everything is holy. Thank you for sharing. I am with you whether you write here again or not! And you are always in my heart.
Thank you for your post, CurateMike. I sense the “…peace of God which passes all understanding…” in you, and commend you to our Good God for the furtherance of your journey. As you know, I am on my own journey as well, and I find here great faith, great beauty and great joy. But I also find often that many around me do not understand, even some very close to me, and that’s why I find Philippians 4:7 so important. May its profound mystery continue to surround you and Linda, as it has enveloped Gail and me, and may you go forward in hope and expectancy for each turn of the path before you. We love you.
Hi Rick. Thank you for your well wishes and prayers. Linda and I pray that you and Gail, too, continue to be drawn deeper into the Mystery that is God. May you continue to experience His peace that does surpass understanding. Lord have mercy upon us.
Hi Meg. I did know you had stopped writing. Your comment provides additional insight as to why you made that decision. I pray God draws you deeper into Him along the ancient path and good way, giving you rest for your soul. ( Jeremiah 6:16).
Richard Parrish said:
Your awareness of the importance of being silent, feeling that we have nothing more to say, is frightening & rewarding at the same time. The more I’m getting to know God, the more I recognize how my words, opinions, and ideas pale in comparison to the beauty & mystery of the Triune Godhead. – my hope is that you will continue to share with this fellow pilgrim, the deep insight revealed in your silence. We (I) need it.
Thank you for your kind words, Richard. I would urge you to read the early Church Fathers (and Mothers!) or listen to some of the podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio. I’m sure these men and women will have much mor to say to you than I can. I have been particularly helped by listening to Fr Stephen Freeman and Fr John Oliver.