Love Last

Love last

Earlier I have written posts called Love First and Love Now. Now I have to write a post called Love Last. This is probably for some the most controversial of the three posts, since it communicates an inclusive view on the afterlife and eternity. So if you want to hold on to your traditional view of Heaven and Hell, or if you would like not to be provoked, read no further. And for the rest, keep your minds and hearts open.

We have heard that the Christian message is the Gospel, also called the Good News. Now in my later years after going through valleys of darkness, the thinking, reading, listening and rethinking has brought me out into an open landscape of, in my view, truly good news.

Karl Forehand, a friend of mine and an author of several books, and among them the book Apparent Faith, asks the question, can God’s love be any less than the parent’s love for his child? The point is that a parent would do anything for his/her child and never give them up or leave them for good. Why would God leave people for good and let them go to a place called hell? A parent would never do that. Why our Creator?

Let’s get things out of the way, I do not believe in hell as a place in the afterlife anymore. I believe there are enough hellish experiences and suffering in people’s lives and in our world. Going to hell for an eternity (eternity!!) makes no sense. And heaven for just a few chosen faithful people, is that truly heaven Off course both Karl and I are only trying to find answers that make sense, and off course we do not have “God’s mind” and understanding. So we can’t claim we get it right 100 percent. But some would not even want to work with the question, and some would rather hide behind the biblical phrase, “God works in mysterious ways”.

I already mentioned Apparent Faith by Karl Forehand. Another good read is Love Wins by Rob Bell. I think Rob has the same message in Love Wins, that I try to communicate in this post, Love Last. I would also say, for the Gospel to be truly good news, it must be good news for all, it must be all inclusive. Love must win in the end. I do think Richard Rohr’s book The Universal Christ also speaks about this.

I say, we are created by love first, to live our lives in love now, and early (for some too early) or late we will find rest in eternal love at last! People and the Bible talk about the good road to be a small road. But what if this small road actually is very wide, if we only had a change of heart and understanding? I will not go into details here in this small text, but also remind us all, of the words of Jesus, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms”.

Off course not everyone chooses the path of love in this earthly life. There are many reasons and explanations for that. And there’s only one Judge. Yet, can you imagine being judged by the Lover of Souls?

If there’s any truth to going to a spiritual reality in the afterlife and for an eternity, I do think people also somehow choses their direction after death. And for those now living a life in pain, of evil and destruction, why would they not choose or search for love and restoration in the spiritual realm? Would a God of Love really close the door for all eternity? Sorry, if this makes you think, I am lost and far gone. I feel safe that I am not, and that’s enough for me.

I believe we are eternal souls and the bodies are our huts. Our deepest selves are also the Spirit of Love and of God. This Spirit will, at least when it freely can, and when it is released from our decaying bodies, travel back to the Loving Source it came from.

Love first, Love now, Love last, I do believe this is for all of us. Yes, it is all inclusive! Yes, the Bible even talks about a new heaven and a new earth, a great recreation. So salvation is not only for you and me, but for all, even for the whole Earth and the whole of creation. The Colossians talks about everything (every single thing!) coming together in Christ! This for me, is the good news. This gives me hope. This casts out fear of living and fear of death. It is true freedom! I truly believe in a loving Creator or even Creational Energy loving us all. This love is as the Bible talks about, strong enough for a earthly life, but also even stronger than death.

Last I would add that coming to these thoughts and conclusions in such a way that I can see this as the Truth I believe in, has not been an easy road. Still, I do believe it is a road from fear to love. It also is a road into freedom and the joy of living now and with a real hope for the future. It’s like the the prodigal son coming to his senses and knowing he had always belonged to this his Loving Father. It is the greatest news for all! All you truly need is love, and love is first, and it is now and yes, it even is the last there is and will forever be!

Blessings!

Wounds

“Everybody hurts” is a well-known and popular song by REM. I guess one reason is that it resonates with most people one way or the other. We all hurt, we all have been hurt, and we also hurt other people. It is a circle where many spend much of their time and life.

We all need to experience love. And the less attention and love we were shown in our early days, the more we crave it when we’re older. No wonder the Christian focus on the Father heart of God is very popular both in preaching and reading. Most of us have been wounded by our parents slightly or deeply. And I guess very often the father is most lacking in love and acceptance. This partly because the feminine and nurturing side of men has been less embraced and therefore less developed. It’s not only the women who have suffered in a patriarchal society.

But okey, we are all wounded, so what can we do about it? I believe we need more love, acceptance and healing. If we open our eyes and realise how wound driven we are in our actions, it is possible to experience a deeper satisfaction, not only through the love of a Higher Father, but through the experience of self love. Self love has a bad reputation, and sadly, because it quiet different from self worship.

It is therefore paramount that our suffering and craving, leads us on a road through our blindness. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence, especially when what we’re looking for is the love we lacked in our childhood.

Before we can bring the deepest and purest love and healing to others we often need to love and heal ourselves. This process consists of developing an acceptance and love for ourselves, and at the same time a realization that we are deeply loved by the Love that gave us life.

This healing I am pointing too, has no easy route. But a good way to start is to take a deep look at your wounds. Not to fall into the wounds and drown, but sense your wounds enough for you to be able to both grieve, forgive and accept them. This involves forgiving others, but very often also, since you may be quite grown up when you truly see this, it also includes forgiving yourself. I guess many we will be in this process for much of their lives, if they want to grow in love. Still, at first, it’s important to start, to embrace more and more of the pain, so you may grow through so much of it that you become free enough to be of more help to others, instead of clinging to people and things for love and acceptance. You may even become a much needed wounded healer as Henri Nouwen wisely wrote about, and the love grown out of wounds eventually becomes a gift to this often hurting world.

We need to come to our senses and to ourselves, as the prodigal son also had to do, in order to direct his life towards the great Source of Love again. And like this lost son, we often get lost in craving love from things and people, that cannot give us what we now must give ourselves, and what we also must receive from our Mother, Father God. A Divine presence that waits for and even chases us from around and from the deepest parts of our souls.

Ask yourself today, what drives your actions the most today? Is it the lack of contentment and a need for lost love, or have you walked the valley of grief and forgiveness, and come out of it, with a new or renewed selflove? At least, stop blaming and pulling yourself down. What you have not received, you cannot pass on. Those wise words I leave you with, and at last an important reminder: You are loved ❤️

Now and Forever

Open my heart wide, so I may see
Open my heart wide, so I may let go
Open my heart wide, so I may know
You, my Lover and Love

Help me bow down deeply, so I may drink
Help me stretch far, so I may pluck
Help me sit down quietly, so I may dine
Last, help me walk gently, so I may bless
With You, my Lover and Love

Now and forever

Overflowed by Life

At the beach yesterday I witnessed the image above of stones and overflowing waters. Tumultuous waves were overcoming solid ground. Rohr (Falling Upwards, great book!) speaks and talks about a lever to stand. The lever is needed at different times in our lives. Some times outer pressure or inner turmoil are overwhelming. It feels like drowning.

I’ve been through times like the mentioned above on several occasions. Last not so long ago. I lost my zest for life and had no drive or motivation. It felt like I was overcome and lost, as in my last poem here, “I gave up and gave in”.

If you have read the whole poem though you have realized I have yet to draw my last breath, and gracefully things ended on a good note. I am meant to live and there’s still meaning and renewed meaning to be found in life, mine included. But for a long time it felt like the image above. Out of control, with no escape in going through the pain and darkness. Part of the reason for my troubles were great grief in my life, since I have slowly been losing my mother to early dementia. There has been other things too, among those an earnest search for truth and the deep desire for love and union with Spirit.

So if you’re experiencing grief and outer and/or more inner turmoil, know that I have been there. Hell is not a place in a God-willed afterlife. God’s love is for all, it upholds us all, whether we recognize it or not. Hell is also at times circumstances here on Earth, whether it is outer war and suffering, or inner turmoil and loneliness deep within. Fortunately, at the same time, heaven, God, God’s kingdom are also here on Earth, all around us and deep within each and everyone. This includes you, no exceptions. I also do believe with Rob Bell, that Love Wins (book recommended!). If that makes me an universialist, I am guilty of the “heresy”.

The Spirit of Christ lives within us and our bodies groan for freedom and union for eternity. Happily, this is something to be embraced and experienced in the now, if only in glimpses. Can you sense your inner Spirit calling you? Are you overwhelmed by the life you have lived so far? Maybe what we need when there is no solid ground to be found, is a surrender to the great vast Ocean? At least a surrender to the River within that Jesus spoke of to the Samaritan woman.

Now I dream of new projects and a future for contemplation in my country and across the globe. I connect with what Rahner supposedly has said, that the future Christian is a mystic. I truly believe that. I want to be among them. I do think more and more people will see and find the path of contemplation. Nothing else than contemplating the mystery of the Divine and beholding and experiencing its beauty can satisfy our hunger. Would you like to join me on this often messy but also blessed journey?

Blessings on your day and your further travel – never forget you truly are the beloved of the Great Lover! Even more, when darkness leaves you blinded.

The Walk Already Prepared

Walking shoes

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10)

In earlier posts I have written quite a bit about surrender and I have meant to convey that a surrender to silence is also a surrender to God. Since God is something and someone beyond your thoughts and feelings, and someone spiritually living deep within you, a surrender to silence is a way to tune into and “listen” to the life of God in you.

It may sound so easy, but as many of you know, being silent is for most people very difficult. Not only is it difficult to actually sit down, stop doing anything and stop talking to become just quiet. It is also difficult to really experience true silence since our minds chatter non stop.

So, in order to tune into God’s life and the walk he has planned for us, we need to get serious about surrender and serious about silence. My opinion is that through an experience of non-action and silence outside and also within we may be able to connect to our deeper ground of being, which actually is God’s Spirit within us (or you might say, God’s image in us).

Through my novice experience surrender to complete silence is not so much about stopping your thoughts, something very few people are able to do for any significant time, but it is really more about how you deal with or live with your chattering mind. It is about truly accepting, but not dwelling on, the thoughts.

I actually believe Christians can learn something from mindfulness practitioners here, when it comes to how to tackle the monkey mind. One example is to acknowledge thoughts as they appear, but then visualize them as leaves floating away upon a creek, one bye one, then disappearing. I believe that by doing this until it almost becomes a routine, thoughts become less powerful and as a result the mind also becomes quieter.

This choice of silence is not a war on thoughts, but actually an acceptance of thoughts, and at the same time it is a choosing to give less power to them. If you want more information with a Christian perspective on how to become at peace with your thoughts and praying contemplatively you may read books by Thomas Keating (ex. The Way of Christian Contemplation).

Later I will write about a book I am now only mentioning. This is a book, that can be read no matter your spiritual or religious beliefs, that truly changed my life by altering the way I related to my mind. The book is called “The Unthethered Soul” and written by Michael A. Singer. More about this in a later post.

For now the message is: By choosing and practicing silence we may be able to connect deeper. By connecting deeper and getting in touch with the often very quiet or soft-speaking Spirit in our innermost being we will able to live from the inside out. We will be walking into the world coming from a different place so to speak, we become more and more able to walk a walk already divinely prepared. Our lives become a response to God’s life in us!

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.