We’ve begun a summer series focused on the book, Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation by Robert Mulholland Jr. We’ll explore the concept of spiritual formation that he compares to a journey and look at it through the lens of summer vacation we’re so familiar with.
You know that point in a vacation where you reach the pinnacle. You’ve reached the place you were heading towards and not only are you there, but you and your family are looking at each other and you’re really “there” with each other. There’s this moment of “we’ve arrived and this is exactly what we were waiting for” that comes.
This experience can come in big or small ways. On an amusement park ride as pictured above or at the top of a mountain journey. It can also come at Grandma’s house as you laugh at the same old stories or play a card game you’ve played a million times before.
Regardless of how it comes, there’s a feeling of union in that moment that is real joy. Our book describes the fourth and final stage of the journey as “union”. He says this about it, “It characterizes those experiences of complete oneness with God in which we find ourselves caught up in rapturous joy, adoration, praise and a deep peace that surpasses all understanding. This is not an escapist kind of experience, but the experience of being at last in the kind of relationship with God for which we were created and for which our beings yearn.”
We were created to be with God and when we move more and more into relationship with him, when we allow more of him to govern our lives, there is an incredible joy, especially in those moments where he really has his way with us. Many of us experience this in worship. But it can also be in a very quiet and unassuming devotion or prayer when God really grabs you with some truth. For most of us, I think on this side of heaven and the resurrection we’ll only receive tastes of it, at least as I understand the journey. But those tastes are incredible and make us want more.
Think of some of the experiences where you’ve really tasted that union. You can’t artificially recreate that, but what was going on in life that gave God the room to do what he wanted to do? Give God a moment of quiet right now and thank him for those moments of union, big and small.
Hope Lutheran Church & School