Reconnecting to the Source

“Maybe this is why we journey in pilgrimage… because we want to get in touch with our beginnings. We want to touch again what is deepest in us and in our traditions and to reconnect with the One who is our source. For in touching the innermost strands of our being, we will be born anew.” – John Philip Newell

I’ve had a slew of friends who have welcomed their firstborn children over 2016. They have shared with me their hopes and dreams as new parents… and already much of their frustrations and failures. There is this sense of a fresh life which does not have the emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual wear, tear, and tread of longer lives. Parker Palmer relays a story about a three-year old who insists on being alone with her newborn sibling. The parents consent because they know they can listen in over the intercom. They overhear the three-year old’s request to her infant sibling—“Tell me about God, because I have almost forgotten.”

Jesus was asked by his disciples who would be considered greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. His answer is one of the more familiar sayings of his, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:2). In the Gospel of John, Jesus famously says, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3). We have largely understood this as pointing to the need for a conversion from a lack of saving faith in God to placing our faith in God. And this is a good understanding. But if we only see these verses in terms of conversion, then we rob them of the power for us as we grow in our faith.

Rich Mullins sang, “Well, we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old/And our Father still waits and He watches down the road/To see the crying boys come running back to His arms/And be growing young.” Each of us longs to reconnect to our true self hidden with Christ in God. The deepest ground of our being we experienced before we became cynical, burned-out, and complacent toward our lives and our faith. We long to experience a fresh faith and awed wonder in light of our unfolding journey with Jesus the Christ. But as Yoda quipped, “we must unlearn what we have learned.” Jesus said, “we must deny ourselves.” This is the humility of placing ourselves before God in a spirit of openness, radical trust, and full wonder. When we come to the end of ourselves, even the end of our “know all the answers, heard all the sermons, read all the books, gone on all the conferences and mission trips” selves. It is then a space inside of you opens up to reconnect to the Source of your life, Jesus the Messiah, in unpredictable, unsettling, and in a life-giving Way. It is then we are growing young.