What a wonderful time!! I returned this past Sunday night tired but exhilarated. Sarepta is a special church in a special place – Gillets/Hillcrest – all green and luscious, with daily visits from monkeys to all the houses! I stayed with Alan and Mary Ellen Blackman, the team leaders of Sarepta. I so enjoy staying in people’s homes, as I get to experience something of their family life, seeing God’s goodness and beauty in people – the Blackman’s are no exception! (The older I grow the more fascinating I find human beings, each unique in the mystery of God’s creation and good work in them).
I taught on one of the biblical and life themes that is closest to my heart: “Intimacy with God and People.” There was such an enthusiastic and affirming response from those who attended the conference. About 40 or so came to the Thursday and Friday nights, and Saturday morning, and then a full church service on the Sunday morning (about 180 or so). I defined the biblical understanding of intimacy as a growing oneness in love with God and others, through the gift of self, which is relational self-disclosure. Intimacy is “into-me-you-see”! That is being very vulnerable! The intimacy of which I speak is not sexual as in genital intimacy – that’s for covenant called marriage. It’s intimacy in the whole of who we are: spiritually, psycho-emotionally, socially affectionate – all of which is godly sexuality.
And of course, all that we know of love and intimacy in life and relationships is revealed to us by God in his/her intra-Trinitarian life and love… the Father eternally pours his love into the Son, generating the Son into being in love. The Son eternally returns love to the Father saying, “yes, Father, not my will but yours be done”, completing the Father in love. The life and love between the Father and Son IS the Holy Spirit, the Dance of the Trinity. This beautiful mystery of complete intimacy was incarnated on earth in Jesus of Nazareth. We see and know and are included into the love between the Father and Son by the Spirit, in the man Yeshuah. He SO appreciated and lived in and through his Father’s love that he makes known his Father to us “in order that the love YOU have for me, Father, may be in them, and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:26).
Jesus says in John 14:23, if we love him we will obey him and the Father will love us, and he and the Son will come and make their home in us by the Spirit. And so the Father and Son by the Holy Spirit dances within us, with us, and through us in ever expanding inclusive circles of loving, enfolding all those around us into the Trinitarian Dance of Love, to the ends of the earth! God is THE most passionate fiery lover, drawing us ever deeper into the flames of his love. What a mystery! But it IS concrete and practical. The test is: how intimate and loving are we in human relationships – not in word but in deed? If we say we’re intimate with God whom we do not seen, and yet are not intimate with people whom we do see, how can the love of God dwell in us? We lie and do not live the truth!
Anyway, here I go again preaching!! It’s just a little taste of what I taught with great joy and freedom in the Spirit. O how I love to teach God’s Word to hungry people! Sarepta Church was just that, showing great appreciation. I did one session on the blockages to intimacy and then we prayed for people with the laying on of hands for healing. Tears flowed and good things happened to many people. I could go on, but I must thank those of you who prayed for my ministry trip – it was a delight – and my family is safe and sound!