HOT FOR GOD
By Nirvana Reginald Gayle
We’re in the month of August, the hottest month of the year in the northern hemisphere. So I wanted a theme for my sermons of the month, that dealt with the heat, something hot. So I came up with the theme of “Hot for God.” I almost made it “The Hot’s for God,” but decided that might be a bit to risqué for some folks taste.
Hot for God is not unfounded. Christian Mysticism is said to be about a passionate love affair with God. According to Ursula King, “The story of the Christian Mystic is one of an all-consuming, passionate love affair between human beings and God. It speaks of the yearning, a burning desire for the contemplation and presence of the Divine… This yearning is a candle by the fire of Divine Love Itself, which moves the mystics in their search and leads him, often arduous journeys, to discover and proclaim the all-encompassing love of God for humankind.”
The mystic is all about a passionate love affair with God. It is the business of feeling the love of God vibrating not just in the heart, not just in your mind and soul, but also in your body; an embodied God. It is a full-bodied experience of God from the tip of your toes to the top of your head and everything in between. This is what it means to have an all-encompassing, full-bodied, omni-bieng love affair with God.
My own personal experience of God is as a passionate, intimate lover. I have a passionate, intimate, all-encompassing love affair with the Divine. I feel the rapture of the Holy Spirit in the bones of my soul. There is a passionate burning in the citadel of my being and a tingling throughout my entire body temple for the Beloved. I actually experience God as the Beloved, and myself as one with whom God desires to have and all encompassing love affair. Yes, my experience of God is that She desires me as much as I desire Her.
We must court the Divine if we are to have Her in our life. Our pursuit of God can’t just be mental, or part-time, or void of any feeling and passion. You can’t pursue God robotically. It must consume us, we must be on fire for God. As Jesus says, we must love the lord our God with all our soul, all of our strength, all of our mind and all of our being, if we are ever to know/feel the experience of God directly in our life.
In high school I wrote a poem called, “And of God.” In this poem I inquired about all the pain, suffering, cruelty, violence and suffering in the world. I demanded that God fix it now, if he actually existed. When that didn’t happen, then like a jilted lover, I denounced and left God in anger and hurt. I even cursed God, bad-mouthed his name, and turned others against him. But when I came back to spirituality several years later, with a more mature understanding of God within and everywhere, after having experienced a direct encounter with the Divine, it was with a fervor and a passion. I read everything I could get my hands on sometimes all night long. I craved the silence of meditation, or dance or anything where I could feel the breath of the Divine upon my flesh and soul. I visited every spiritual center, guru, spiritual teacher in Los Angeles (thank God every spiritual genre you can imagine is right in the backyard of my great city). I was inspired to write love songs and poems in passionate salutation to the Divine and I was in-love, on fire for God.
People want to be passionate about their work, or passionate about their love for a mate, or even passionate about their love for their Lakers. Yet they try to be cool and dispassionate about God. We’ve got it all twisted, that somehow God is above the body and its desires, and is immune to the passion of our heart and soul, so we have this cool approach with God. I say, the same fervor with which you burn for a beautiful woman, or are fired up about your great job, or are passionate about your fav sports team, is the same desire, fire and intensity you must muster for God. Be immersed in an all-encompassing love-affair with God.
I so prefer using the word with as opposed to for. “For” implies that it is only my love for God and that’s it’s distant, out-there, more of a one-way street. “With” means that God is participating with us in this magical love affair. It’s up-close and personal. God rejoices and desires us, just as much as we desire Her. We are jointly participating in the love, joy, good of God. My desire for God is matched by Her desire for me, and thus we are dancing in an orgasmic love affair, an explosion of ecstatic bliss, a supernal love affair for the ages.
St. Francis of Assisi referred to his relationship with God by proclaiming that he was “a spouse of the Holy Spirit.” Intimacy with God was foremost with St. Francis, or what he called “being in-love with the one who loved him first.” St. Teresa of Avila wrote of one of her encounters with God, “He spoke to me saying, if I do come to you in a dream and satisfy the most intimate of your physical desires, know dear, know it is for the upliftment of all.”
In one of my poems, THE SUPREME LOVE OF GOD, I wrote; “It is out of this Love, The Supreme Love of God for Itself, That you and I and creatures of our likeness, were born, out of the Womb of God! Made of the very Stuff of God! Nourished by the Bosom of God! Out of the Supreme Love of God for Itself, we popped into Being. We are the Supreme Love of God, so in-love with Itself, that It could no longer be contained in what it had been. It had to explode into multitudinous expressions of Itself known as you and I. We are the Supreme Love of God, called forth into visibility, that God may see Itself and smile…”
So just as God was so in-love with us as Itself that it birthed us into being, into creation, we must match the intensity of that Love of God and one another. We must love the lord our God with all our strength, being, might, power, mind, body & soul. We must meet God with the fervor with which She sees us and feels for us, if we are ever going to experience the Divine and have a love affair with God.Love is never one way, you must meet the passion of your beloved with passion of your own in order to taste the sweet nectar of love, in order for their to be a magical love affair. If all you are ever doing is letting your lover give his all in love while you remain passive and unresponsive, you’ll never know the sweet secrets and depth of being to which love is calling you. You’ll never know the depths of love to which God is calling you if you love with that same fire in your belly.
That’s why Jesus kept telling us to just love, love, love and love some more under every condition and circumstance that ever comes up in your life. Love God, love your self, love your neighbor, love your enemy, love ye one another. He wanted to get us into the habit of loving like God loves; that is loving everyone all the time, not a selective love, so as to touch the heart of the Beloved, the Divine, God within our very soul. He knew, only through Love could we ever feel, sense, taste know God.
God is Love, so to know God, you must know Love. You must experience love, be consumed by love, allow love to encompass your entire being. In order to do that, Love must become your mantra, the supreme practice of your soul. By practicing love in all these ways Jesus admonished us, we open up a corridor, a portal for the Love of God to be lived and felt within our own being as our very being. It becomes the way in which we court the Divine.
In other words, since the love of God is a partnership, a shared communion, our demonstrative expressions of love are our overt participation in the love affair with God. They become the way in which we make ourselves fertile for impregnation with God’s Holy Love. That love is already within us. It is our nature, the very essence of our being, out of which God created us. To experience it we can’t passively wait around for Cupids arrow to strike us. We must love, open up the corridors of our own being and pour out a mighty love to strong to be contained.
You have to be hot for God! You must court the Divine and seduce the Holy Spirit with all the fire and passion of your desire. We participate in the Love of God by being the Love of God, igniting it and radiating it. The more we are able to love under every and all conditions, the more we access the Love of God. In accessing the Love of God, we experience more and more of that love and discover that it has always been right here with us, right where we are.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, searching all over for the way home to Kansas. She sought it in the experiences of the world, in the scarecrow, the lion, the tin-man, the good with, battling the bad witch, in the all powerful Oz. But all along the way home was within her. In fact, she was home, she had never really left. All she had to do to realize this was click her heels 3 times and voila, she’s home. Realize I AM home in the Love of God, and lo and behold, I AM Home.
Realize that you are the Love of God, that God’s love has never abandoned nor forsaken you. That God’s love is ever with you, even unto the end of the world; that if you create a hell and make your bed in it, even there God’s Love is ever prevailing in all of it’s radiant light and glory. Because we are made of the stuff of God’s Love, we can never get away from it, because we can never get away from ourselves, no matter how hard we try. To paraphrase Martha and the Vandella’s, “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, just can’t get away from you God, no matter how hard I try.”
The sin, mistake, error in judgment is in believing and accepting the big lie that you are not worthy. It is that notion of believing that you are the original sin that has kept you from experiencing the truth that will set you free. That truth is that God so loved the world that he gave you as His son, his child, begotten only by Him. We are all the only begotten child of God because we are all begotten only by God. We are all begotten of the Supreme Love of God, all the children of the Most High, loved beyond anything in the entire cosmos. We are God’s in training, awaiting transmutation like a butterfly into our Godliness. As the great mystic poet Hafiz says, “Sweetheart, oh Sweetheart, you are God, You are God in drag!”
We are the only begotten of God, given unto this world to play, enjoy, dance, celebrate and experience “more love, and more joy, than age or time could ever destroy,” as Smokey Robinson would say. If we can’t let go of the big lie that we are the original sin and somehow unworthy, we’ll be trapped in a ragged state of existence. In order to experience the love of God and have a love affair with the Divine, you must deem yourself worthy. You must accept the truth that Genesis says when it proclaims that we are created in the image and likeness of God. You must accept what Psalm 82:6 says when it profoundly proclaims that “you are Gods, all of you are children of the Most High God!” A Line that Jesus later reiterated as indicated in John 10:34, as the folk attempted to stone him for daring to proclaim his sonship as God , he said, “Is I not written in your own law, you are Gods?”
Our own salvation individually and collectively as a human race is predicated upon our acceptance of our soulship in/as God. In order to court the Divine and have a personal experience of God, we must deem ourselves worthy by being that which God created and ordained and proclaimed of us from jump street. We must be hot for God, not just as some object of our affection, but because God is the very nature and essence of our being. Until we come to grips with that, we will never attain the great heights f our destiny or experience the grandeur of bliss for which we are ordained. Ultimately, being hot for God boils down to being hot for yourself, hot for the God of your own being, on fire for the truth of the indwelling power and presence of God as me.