Excerpt from Reality of the Spiritual World

When our souls are utterly swept through and overturned by God’s invading love, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a wholly new relationship with some of our fellow human beings. We find ourselves enmeshed with some people in amazing bonds of love and nearness and togetherness of soul, such as we never knew before. In glad amazement we ask ourselves: What is this startling new bondedness in love which I feel with those who are down in the same center of life? Can this amazing experience of togetherness in love be what people have called fellowship? Can this be the love which bound together the early church, and made their meals together into a sacrament of love?

Is this internal impulse which I feel, to share life with those who are down in the same center of love, the reason that the Early Church members shared their outward goods as a symbol of the experienced internal sharing of the life and the love of Christ? Can this new bondedness in love be the meaning of being in the kingdom of God?

But not all our acquaintances are caught with these new and special bonds of love. A rearrangement takes place. Some people whom we had only slightly known before suddenly become electrically illuminated. Now we know them, for lo, they have been down in the center a long time, and we never knew their secret before. Now we are bound together with them in a special bond of nearness, far exceeding the nearness we feel toward many we have known for years. For we know where they live, and they know where we live, and we understand one another and are powerfully drawn to one another. We hunger for their fellowship; their lives are knitted with our life in this amazing bondedness of divine love.

Others of our acquaintance recede in importance. We may have known them for years; we may have thought we were close together. But now we know they are not down in the center in Christ, where our dearest loves and hopes of life and death are focused. And we know we can never share life at its depth until they, too, find their way down into this burning center of shared love.

Especially does a new alignment of our church relationship take place. Now we know, from within, the secret of the perseverance and fidelity of some, a secret we could not have guessed when we were outside them. Now we see, suddenly, that some of the active leaders are not so far down into the center of peace and love as we had supposed. We had always respected and admired them for their energy, but now we know they have never been brought into the depths, nor do they know the secret of being rooted and grounded with others in love. 

Now we suddenly see that some quiet, obscure persons, whose voices count for little in the councils of the church, are princes and saints in Israel. Why had we not noticed them before? The whole graded scale by which we had arranged the people in our church according to importance is shaken and revised. Some of the leaders are greater even than we had guessed; others are thin and anxious souls, not knowing the peace at the center. Some that stood low are really high in the new range of values.

Into this fellowship of souls at the center we simply emerge. No one is chosen to the fellowship. When we discover God we discover the fellowship. When we find ourselves in Christ we find we are also amazingly united with those others who are also In Christ. When we were outside of it we never knew that it existed or only dimly guessed the existence of bonds of love among those who were dedicated slaves of Christ. There are many who are members of our churches who do not know what I am speaking of. But there are others of you who will say, Surely I know exactly what you are talking about. I’m glad you’ve found your way in.”

From Reality of the Spiritual World, copyright © 1942 by Pendle Hill Publications, Wallingford, PA.

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

· Last Featured on Renovare.org June 2022

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