Thursday, May 29, 2014
Kissed With Holy Flame
We had just finished our ice cream, his a butter pecan in a cup, mine a Kahlua chocolate fudge in a waffle cone, when I noticed the time. 8:15. Sunset. We threw away our trash and headed out the door of ZuZu's Ice Cream shop just yards away from the ocean that lapped St. Simon's Island. Yes, the sun had already begun its descent beyond the trees on the western horizon, and so I picked up my step, almost running to the end of the long pier so as not to miss the last kiss of the day.
I took my place at the rail among the holy silence and found myself being pulled into what Thomas Merton calls "the everlasting movement of gravitational force into the very life and spirit of God: God's own gravitation towards the depths of his own infinite nature, his goodness without end." I am not sure I have ever experienced a sunset with such an awareness of God. In silence and majesty, He was awakening in the depths of my soul; His skies sanctifying not only my eyes but my entire self.
At one point, I became aware of others who had gathered on that pier. Some had probably come for just this moment. Others found themselves there by chance. But incidental or deliberate, religious or not, for a moment, we all understood our position, and we remained silent, mute, in the presence of the Beloved. For a moment, we saw nothing in this world but His glory. For a moment, we all fell into insignificance. For a moment, we were all free from preoccupation. For a moment, time stopped and we entered into the eternal. For a moment, we were all awe struck. For a moment, we were all kissed with holy flame.
Tears streamed down my cheeks as the sky blazoned and that great ball of fire dipped once more behind the Earth's western sphere. Yes, that One whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, had found me and loved me.
Then breaking the silence in the only way that seemed appropriate, one lone observer applauded.
Be still and know that I am God.