Some of the things in human experience that enable a sense of freedom can, paradoxically, limit us also. One such thing is language – words – semantics. There are concepts and experiences that simply cannot be adequately conveyed by words. So, sometimes we struggle to learn and grow, but without understanding the barriers that seem to hold satisfaction just beyond our grasp. Here is the entry point for prayer (listening, not dictating), music, art (in the broadest sense), friendships, fulfilling the work we are led to in this world.
We are fortunate when we find an author of words that do, in fact, reach something deep inside – perhaps something we didn’t even realize we were looking for. Likely we return again and again to these words, and discover something newly enriching each time – something that energizes personal growth, authenticity, commitment to life. One such writer for me over many years has been Agnes Sanford in her first book, The Healing Light: The Art and Method of Spiritual Healing, 1947. This book is intended for any reader, but is not a quick read, not for the faint of heart, not literary in any sense of the word, but has become one of the very few books other than the Bible that I think of as a “backbone.”
The One Who Knew said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.’ Happy, that is, are those people who know that their spirituality is small, that their creeds are imperfect, that their instruction concerning God and man is incomplete. Happy are those who know that they do not know all of truth. For only those who admit their spiritual poverty are willing to learn.
Through meekness those who seek God can produce results by learning to conform to His laws of faith and love.
The first step in seeking to produce results by any power is to contact that power. The first step then in seeking help from God is to contact God. ‘Be still and know that I am God.’
– Agnes Sanford, The Healing Light: The Art and Method of Spiritual Healing, 1947
Later on the Lord commissioned seventy other disciples and sent them off in twos as advance-parties into every town and district where he intended to go himself.
(Jesus:) Whatever town you go into and the people welcome you,
eat the meals they give you
and heal the people who are ill there.
Tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is very near to you now.’
Luke 10:1, 8-10
J. B. Phillips, translator, The New Testament in Modern English
Revised (Student) Edition, 1972