My bishop-at-large Brian Zahnd wrote yesterday comparing the story of Mary losing young Jesus in Jerusalem to his own faith-experience of losing Jesus. He writes:
Losing Jesus. Finding Jesus. Rethinking Jesus. This is how we make spiritual progress. This is the only way we make spiritual progress!
Yes! This is exactly my experience, and it’s at the heart of discovering what it means to be Jesus-centered anew and afresh. In fact, this is also at the heart of what it means to be a New Charismatic:
BZ hits even closer to home in describing what this experience of losing and finding Jesus feels like:
After a desperate search I found Jesus in robust theology and the ancient practices of the church. I wasn’t expecting that. Just like Mary wasn’t expecting to find Jesus in the Temple. It was a joy to find Jesus in a new way, but I also had to rethink some things about how I understand Jesus and his church.
How did I become a sacramental, liturgical Christian? By losing Jesus and then finding him again…this time in the theology, sacraments, and prayers of the church. That’s my story. Others have a different story of losing and finding Jesus. Going from Jesus Movement to Charismatic Renewal to the Great Tradition is not necessarily a pattern (though a lot of us seem to have a similar story). What is a pattern is losing Jesus, finding Jesus, and then having to rethink Jesus.
What I’m calling “losing Jesus” is what John of the Cross (1542–1591) called the “dark night of the soul.” The dark night of the soul is not a crisis of circumstances, but a spiritual crisis of absence — the apparent absence of God. God woos us forward by seeming to disappear. It’s a kind of spiritual hide-and-seek. God hides and we seek.
Have you faced this kind of dark night of the soul, this spiritual hide-and-seek?
Have you lost Jesus and then found him again in a new way?
Have you even experienced this Jesus-centered, New Charismatic pattern that bishop BZ is talking about?
Read Brian’s whole post here. And feel free to tell more of your story in the comments!