This Friday thru Saturday CSOM had a retreat / workshop with Ed Piorek. Ed Piorek is a early Vineyard pastor with a special calling to teach on the Father's love. Well, we learned this weekend that Ed has been called into a new season to teach how to continually abide in the love of God through contemplative prayer. One thing Ed said really resonated with me. He said, "Us Kingdom people are really into the power of God on us and in our midst, which is great, but we can also live in God's presence that is in us, the indwelling Holy Spirit." I was a bit embarrassed that this obvious fact felt new to me. When we pray in the Vineyard our minds so often conceptualize God as in our midst of "on" us. Our focus is on God coming from the outside onto us. But, God abides and lives "in" us as well. As I attempted to focus on this presence of God abiding continually in me, I sensed an insight.
The Bible uses the marital relationship as a metaphor and a teaching image of our relationship with God. There are many aspects of the marital relationship some more exciting than others. We often talk about people seeking the big experiences of God and chasing experience. This is an extreme version of an emphasis on the Spirit coming upon us. But, in marriage, it isn't only the big exciting experiences. There are also the intimate walks and the deep discussions. There are also meals together. There is also the experience of just lying in bed silent but touching each other. And, there is also the simple knowledge that your spouse is near. Maybe he or she is lying next to you silent, not touching but just there. This is akin to the silent presence of contemplation. God is just there. He loves us. He is committed to us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will fight for us when necessary but most of the time, He is just there, being who he is, the God of Love.