Ecstatic

In the “modern” Western Church, we live in a mostly non-ecstatic world. And most of it is of our creation. A good word to describe it is “bland”. I want to discuss our desperate need to be ecstatic in our life with God.

Ecstatic: feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement; involving an experience of mystic self transcendence.

Can you remember the last time you experienced anything like what is defined above? If your answer is affirmative, most likely it was at a football game, a concert or a baby’s birth. Or falling in love. Here’s my question: was it at a church service? I would guess your answer is “No”. And if not, why not? Sadly, the vast majority of worship services held today steer as far away as possible from being ecstatic. Our well practiced, predictable, repetitive, well controlled meetings (our God is a God of order, brother!), placating our essentially ecstatic-free public gatherings are passed off as “meeting with God”. 

The Scriptures paint a very different picture of what people do when they meet with God. Think of how the Israelites react when they hear God’s voice at Horeb. Or how they sing, dance and shout in the Temple. And, the ecstatic experience we witness in Acts when the Holy Spirit falls upon God’s people – the list of Biblical examples goes on and on.

Let’s talk about “feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement.” I have always wondered why it is that the same people who talk loudly and excitedly before and after a Sunday worship service calm down to an almost zombie like state once the actual service begins. Gone is the excited talk, hands and arms gesticulating in happy chattery, now replaced by angelic looks, followed by a subdued, expressionless visage as we “enter the throne room”. All brought abruptly to an end as suddenly we have to “now be seated for the announcements”. 

And what of “involving an experience of mystic self transcendence”? Transcendence means “beyond the normal or physical level”. Typically, the word is employed when referencing to a spiritual experience in which the individual is profoundly affected, often beyond their ability to control. When was the last time you experienced transcendence in a worship service? Or in your private quiet time with God? Friends, we have a desperate need for the ecstatic in our relationship with an infinitely loving and all powerful Creator and Father, beyond our simple, sinful human comprehension but knowable through the touch of the Holy Spirit.

I can think of two powerful examples from the Scriptures of transcendence: one is with Moses, the other with our lord Jesus. We learn from them both that to experience the Father’s presence in such a way as to transcend our earthly existence takes dedication, persistence and focus. In Exodus we read that Moses pitched a tent of worship outside of the Israelite camp where he daily spent time in God’s presence. 

Often, Jesus separated Himself from His disciples and His Kingdom work to spend time with His Father privately and unhurriedly. In Moses’ life, we see the culmination of his devotion when the pillar of cloud leading the Israelite nation through the wilderness comes and hovers over his own personal tent of meeting. It immediately makes one think of the time when Jesus takes three of Is disciples up a mountain to pray and they experience the transfiguration of Jesus. I would say that both Moses and Jesus had ecstatic experiences with God. I would also say that if they needed and enjoyed it, so should we.
I understand very well that we live in a world full of the ecstatic that is both false and shallow, and often sinful. But that should never stop us from desiring and pursuing “feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement; involving an experience of mystic self transcendence” as we seek to be in His presence and know His power.

The Music of Being

Lurking the smaller spaces, avoiding familiar faces, searching deep the singular traces, hoping for undiscovered places.

Trusting the undiscovered, loving the never mothered, touching the other worldly, restlessly wandering.

Voicing the unspoken, forgiving the forgiven, opening the solemn, learning how the listen.

Landscape loved and sadness, dancing through the madness, for in all of us is greatness, diligent and faceless.

Music is the being, troublesome and freeing, tricky with the living, assuming with the dead.

Future

The younger are stronger though the shadows grow longer.

As we hunger for hunger they play with new thunder.

The record is broken by language unspoken, and though the load may be lighter, the circles grow tighter.

Give

I thought I was on the path, my road tried and true, I surrendered all and sacrificed even more.
But now I find that what I left behind wasn’t what You required.

And if You ask me if I have been true what do want me to say to You?
Should I speak and run away or coming to Your side, hide in it.

Is is true? Can I give myself to You?
Do I want to? Do I have to?

I know You see what I sell of me.
Is the price enough to cover all the stuff, and if I think I’m free am I still really me?

Now I see better than before what I am truly here for.
The words you spoke over me for which you paid so dearly could free me.

I can see that what You see is not the one I see, but who You are making me is You showing Yourself more freely.

And as I see myself in You, do you see Yourself in me too?

Green

Sad flows the pristine street, mother nature fringing sweet, souls drowning in steady beat.

Glancing now a furrowed brow, lies smiling and hurried low, touching not the air we breath.

Green is good or so we hear, and broken what we hold so dear. Cracks and crimes, dollars and dimes, now we bow, sinking quietly to ground.

And yes, the sun is shining, within it’s own dirty lining, bringing lies to those who seek truth from all created speak.

Streets

I guess I loved too deeply, couldn’t help myself.

Don’t come any closer, it only hurts me more.

I gave my heart to you, my mind and spirit too,
but still you cannot see me clearer, you don’t want to.

Will I ever walk these broken streets again?

I thought you loved me more, my rosebush friend,
and if I must surrender these streets I love,
I pray you will one day remember it was you I loved.

Delicate

As you wander through the squander of a delicate mind,
do you wonder, ever wonder what it is you will find?

Through the glasses and the grasses of a delicate mind ,
in the morass and the sorrows of an intricate find,
shallow and hollow, furrow and borrow from a delicate mind.

In the narrow great tomorrow lies your wonderful find.

Friendship

This is a guest post written by from David W. Dussault, a dear friend, to his employees at P1 Industries.

Friendship is one of our company’s core values values. Friendship is not merely a word that incorporates “hanging out” or going to the game or movies together. Friendship is a deep, lifelong pursuit of mutual honor between two people that act in each other’s best interests.

Friendship is about honesty. It is about encouragement. Friendship puts others first. Friendship looks out for another out of honor and loyalty. Friendship is ultimately about sacrifice!

The Bible tells us, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”.

When I decided friendship will be one of our core values, I envisioned a deep, tight and enduring bond of brotherhood (and sisterhood) between people fighting in the trenches together each day to build something truly wonderful.

I imagined people from all walks of life and backgrounds passionate about serving one another in our company’s mission, banding together, combining our gifts and talents in unity to move forward!

One of my dear friends, Mike Sacoccio, CEO of the City Mission of Schenectady, spoke at my College class last night on the leadership principle that, “We need to do all small things with great love and admiration, out of honor for others!”

A great example of this was Mother Teresa. Every day she treated the poor, the widows and the lowest in society as friends. She loved and fed them, pouring herself out on the altar of service to better their lives. Mother Teresa was poor and frail but out of doing small things every day with great love and admiration, she won the Nobel Peace Prize and rescued a generation.

How great P1 could be if we all did the small things daily with great love and admiration!  Imagine a company full of people passionate about being friends and serving one another with honor. Honor in how we speak about one another. Honor in smiling and patting each other on the back. Honor in encouraging and lifting up others!

I am challenged today by these thoughts. I need to work on doing the small things with great love and I need to work on my smile and the way I treat my friends!

As the Bible says, there Is no greater love (honor, admiration, respect) than to lay down one’s life for a friend. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your life, but it does mean you’re willing to sacrifice your will and desires and setbacks in order to build up, encourage and honor the friends working alongside us each day.

Let’s make P1 a community of friendship, honoring, admiring and respecting each other and doing the small things for one another with great love and admiration!

You can read more from David at his personal blog.