“We were left to believe that Jesus was physically raised from the dead but no longer present in any particular place.” – Ken Wilson, Mystically Wired
In chapter 4 of his book, Wilson talks about prayer as a location. As something we participate in by “going somewhere”. I find metaphorical hungers being fed in this chapter, that have been grumbling for quite sometime now. So much so, that even as I begin chapter 5, I highly recommend this book to anyone launching into new realms of prayer. (note: my entire local church family) 🙂
In his book, he is gradually re-introducing Christianity as a religion with roots in Eastern/Middle-Eastern traditions, while remaining very scripture/experience/reason centered as well. He begins with the frustrations that I’m well familiar with, and would venture to say many others would be as well. Wilson reminds us of what prayer truly can be, and that our frustrations with prayer generally stem from our attempts to make it something else.
Later in the book, it seems, he introduces many prayer techniques that may be new to many people. These techniques and prayers find their sources in ancient practices that have been used by Christ-followers and God-seekers for a very long time. I remember being introduced to many of these back in college, while reading The Sacred Way, by Tony Jones.
What I hadn’t received with Jones’ book, was the much on the theology of space/place. The words from Wilson’s book here, as quoted above, help to fill a gap that has existed for quite sometime. It’s something that is simultaneously quite complex and mysterious, and yet simple for us to grasp:
1. We pray in the resurrected Jesus, and in His name. We believe He stands as the bridge between the world/creation as it is (broken and dying from sin), and the New Heavens and New Earth God desires to bring about. (Colossians 1:18)
2. We believe Jesus has been bodily/physically resurrected, and exists somewhere/somehow as the resurrected Christ. Scripture tells us He has gone to be with the Father (John 16:28)
3. So it follows, when we pray in Jesus, we are connecting/participating in that place where God is. We cannot explain/rationalize this away, and probably cannot grasp just how important it may be.
Wilson reminds us that for ages, “heaven” was believed to be “up there” somewhere. At some point, science allowed us to see/travel much further than eyes had previously seen. We discovered there was no “up there” besides the seemingly infinite “space”. When that happened, heaven took the form of an “idea” and became spiritually intangible. Prayer became more and more an introspective “what happens inside of me” journey, and the focus became more and more within…even though we still believed we were connecting with a very real God.
That same realm of science is discovering there are things we cannot know/explain. There are atomic and quantum levels of existence that we cannot know or predict, and some things seem to point toward parallel universes/dimensions. So what exactly does prayer accomplish in regard to our relationship to a God who may be “located” more fully in another “dimension”? What does that even mean? 🙂
I don’t know. 🙂
But it certainly increases my urge/desire to spend more time going before that God, and praying in Jesus’ name. Not because I believe in some gnostic magical passage I’ll discover, but because I believe in the bodily resurrected Christ who has called us to pray in His name…perhaps I’ll even take my family with me. 🙂