Time passes, as it does. I get really deep in to yoga, which opens my mind and heart back up to the spiritual enrichment possible inside churches. I attend mass with my mom whenever I'm home on a Sunday and sometimes walk over the hill to Saint Peter and Paul in North Beach because it's just so pretty. The better sermons lead me to deeper inquiry and exploration of my relationship with God. I even begin to study the character of Jesus, who is present but not heavily emphasized in Catholicism, and to whom I have never felt particularly connected. Through a wild, winding series of events, I find myself in Los Angeles because God told me there were people I needed to meet and things I needed to learn at this time that would be delivered there. Nine months into my stay here, thanks to the influence of a tremendous new friend, I arrive quite unexpectedly one Sunday evening...
in a new age Christian church housed in a modern former theater with a Christian rock band whose lyrics are projected on the wall and impassioned sermons from a cool young guy in jeans.
And this time I'm not laughing. This time I'm in joyful tears, my heart overflowing, because my whole being has just been flooded with a light like a salve for the wound. Mosaic presents faith, God and, most predominately, Jesus, in a way that is relatable, relevant and easy to apply in order to make you and the world around you better, brighter, truer, more graceful, more loving and more aligned with God's unique plan for your life. The version of me all those Easters ago would be in shock and awe at the spiritual home I've found and how profoundly right and life giving it feels to be there. The message and story of Jesus that the pastors of Mosaic share is changing and healing my heart in ways I have struggled with for years. It reminds me of a piece of ecstatic poetry about Jesus written by Symeon the New Theologian a long time ago that I identify with now:
open your heart to Him
and let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
we wake up inside Christ's body
where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him,
and He makes us, utterly, real,
and everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed
and recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light,
we awaken as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.
Pastor Erwin told a story I heard recently in which a woman lamented to him that Jesus was a building she was running around but couldn't find the way in. He countered that it was she that was the building and Jesus was running around her, looking for the way in. In all the softening and surrender that I have been working on in my yoga practice, it would seem that what I have invited in is, most surprising to me, a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is with me now to lead me, like the best and truest guru, from darkness to light, from the past into the unimaginably glorious future God is creating for me. And through Jesus, in whom all things are possible, I was finally able to recognize that He was what was missing from my life.
This coming Sunday, I am choosing a life of faith as a conscious adult through the celebration of baptism. I am deeply grateful for this outward recognition of what is already happening within: the covenant made with God as I surrender to a life lived joyfully in service to Him. Through this journey, as I continue to explore this new relationship, I look forward to Jesus growing my love big enough to envelop the whole world and everyone in it.
Big Time Love: it's what Jesus would do, and what I hope to live in every breath and word and action.