How God enters

Archbishop William Temple said: “We only know what matter is when spirit dwells in it; we only know what man is when God dwells in him.” There is no aspect of us that is either incapable of worship, or more capable. God made us, he made all of us, and he is interested in nothing less than our loving him with all our “mind, heart, soul, and strength,” which was Jesus’ way of pointing to the whole of us–every spiritual and physical aspect.

It is on account of this fluidity that we see God shaping us by appealing to any or all of our bodily or spiritual senses. God forms us however he wills, and sometimes in the way we least expect. God calls people to himself sometimes through an immovable intellectual proposition, sometimes through a crushing sorrow, sometimes through the texture of communion bread moving across the tongue or the smell of an ocean wind. These experiences accumulate, and collide, and coalesce, and through the Spirit who is orchestrating it all, what results is new spiritual growth. We may not even see it right away, but what comes of it is a new strength or a clearer spiritual idea or a fuller joy.

There are many doorways to the soul. God knows them all, and he may come knocking at the door we least expect. C. S. Lewis spoke about being surprised by joy, by which he meant a stabbing sense of longing, “an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” Martin Luther said we may be stunned by the law of God when we read the Scriptures or when we hear the sound of rustling leaves. God chooses his own points of entry.

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