If you’re reading this on your computer, you’re probably sitting down. You might perceive yourself as being stationary. But you aren’t. In fact, every time you think you are not moving, you are wrong. Very wrong. The truth is, you are moving at an incredible speed—every minute of every day.
For one thing, the earth is rotating. How fast is the earth rotating? If you live near the equator, you are going about 1,000 miles per hour. It’s a little slower the farther you travel towards one of the poles. Why don’t we feel this movement? Because our atmosphere—and everything in it—moves along with us. This means our oceans, trees, cats, houses, skyscrapers, and pumpkins are all speeding along with us. The earth rotates steadily, too, so that’s another reason we don’t feel this movement.
The earth is also orbiting the sun. How fast? About 18.5 miles per second! And our solar system is traveling through our galaxy, the Milky Way. How fast? About 515,000 miles per hour! And the entire Milky Way is moving too, being pulled by the gravitational force of other celestial beings. And yet here I sit, typing this reflection, and there you sit, reading it, and we are oblivious to the fact that we are being hurled through the cosmos. Amazing!
But what does this talk of movement have to do with the spiritual life? I believe (and maybe you do too) that creation somehow reflects the spiritual life. If this is so, then movement must be an essential element of our spiritual life—just as it is an essential element of our universe. The spiritual life or (more accurately) God calls us to keep moving. In fact, some theologians have said that Original Sin is really a kind of inertia, that is, the desire to stay put, to not move or change or grow.
Scripture reinforces this idea that God calls us to keep moving. What were God’s first words to Abraham? They were: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.” In other words, “Get a move on it, Abe!” God called Moses from the pastures of Midian to the splendor of Pharaoh’s court, instructing him to lead his people to the Promised Land. And what a move that was! One that lasted 40 years!
But not all movement can be measured in miles. When the angel appeared to Mary, he invited her to make an unimaginable move: accept God’s invitation to become the mother of the Most High. And when the angel appeared to Joseph as he tossed and turned in bed at night, the angel told him what his next move should be: take Mary as your wife and raise the child as your own. And in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus begged Abba to re-move the awful death he was about to undergo, and Abba didn’t, then Jesus made an unbelievable move: he embraced his horrific death, trusting in God’s love and wisdom and goodness.
What are some of the implications of viewing our spiritual life as a movement?
First, where are we moving to? Earlier I mentioned the force of gravity. Perhaps we can say that the greatest gravitation pull in the universe is God’s love. This means we must tune ourselves to that pull and, like Jesus, surrender ourselves to God’s love.
Another implication: we must be open to change, to learning. If we sense we are moving toward selfishness, for example, then we must ask God’s help to move toward greater love of others, one small step at a time. If we are racist or sexist or some other ist, we must tune ourselves to God’s pull toward a more inclusive love. The spiritual life is all about conversion. And conversion means change, transformation, movement.
Some questions for reflection:
- What have been some of the major movements in your spiritual life? What or who helped you to make these moves, these changes?
- Do you feel the gravitational pull of God’s love right now in your life? Is this pull inviting you to some movement or change in your present life?
The song today is “God Is on the Move” by the group “7eventh Time Down.” Sometimes I tell you to turn the volume up. But this is a very lively song, so you might want to turn your speakers down a tad. I think the beat of the song mirrors God’s vitality!
Please feel free to share a few of your thoughts with us!
PS: Last Saturday I gave a presentation at the Lial Renewal Center near Toledo, OH. About 65 participants reflected with me on “Three Gifts from Autumn: Beauty, Harvest, and Letting Go.” A big thank you for all who came! This Saturday morning I’ll be at the Laurello Vineyards in Geneva, OH for a presentation entitled “The Spirituality of Hope.”
Then I will be making my annual retreat Oct. 23-30 on our provincial center property. But I will post a reflection for Monday, Oct. 24. (I already wrote it.) Please pray for my retreat. Thank you! And I promise to pray in a special way for all the readers of my blog!