Growing in Faith Advocate Rev. Ann Perrin is taking us through a five-part series of reflections on Revelation. Ann explores the different lenses through which we think about revelation on Christian faith and thought. Part One is about Experience. Future reflections will focus on revelation through scripture, tradition, reason and mission.
As a post-Christendom convert, the experience of revelation has played a significant, tangible role in my saying “yes” to Christ and continuing my conversion through the ongoing revelation in my life. For 48 years I wandered on the Emmaus road seeking to find fulfilment through relationships, music, career and children. But when a significant relationship breaks down, one is left floundering and so it was for me. The search for the meaning of my life began.
God represented the Godself to me in unique and distinctive ways. Firstly, this experience was triune. I was made aware of the breadth of creation and the power and majesty inherent in God in such a way that I began to see the world with new eyes. The Holy Spirit for me was the musician, the wordless communicator par excellence. Yet the Spirit teased me, what more the Spirit could be? Jesus, the one I found most troubling, came to me as a consciousness of forgiveness for all that I had ever done and all that I was to do. A gift of unconditional love, a love that I had never known. These experiences provoked me to respond by saying “Yes!” to God in Jesus Christ through the Spirit
I was then called into the church. God had met me in the world.
Twenty years later I am now aware that conversion is not static. We do not get to a point and say I am right now. There is always more to know about an unknowable God.
Our knowledge of God is only as good as our action of meeting God in the world. All the doctrine, all the theological reflection, and all scriptural insight across salvation history can only ever be fully tested in the world. God meets the world where the world is, not where the church thinks the world should be or where we might like the world to be.
I also believe that God does not want us all on the same page. My experience of God is that God meets us at particular times and in particular places in our lives and offers revelation, limited by our inability to know God completely. Therefore, our knowledge of God is different and diverse and ongoing. Revelation is different for different people in different places and at different stages of our lives.
This is God-given diversity on one hand might look like chaos but on another is a creative space with that Word that started everything in its midst.
This is the place and nature of diversity – it is God-given chaos and God said that it is good and so it continues to be good. It is in this creative space that I find life and continuing revelation.
God’s unknowability and the continuing nature of revelation mean that I am constantly drawn into a community with whom I journey. This means searching for my individual path but supporting, working with and for the community in which I travel, enriched by the conversation of all who travel with me.
It is in our ‘doing’ for God together, the pulling in of that promised goal, partially realised into now, that we respond to God as a missional movement.
We need to be in continuing conversation with each other. The more conversation partners the better the conversation so that we learn more from one another and God. The more conversation partners the more fertile the soil and the greater the flourishing of our community, the church of God. It is here that the differences in how and what we think we know grow faint and our conversation becomes easier.
This for me shows we live out our way towards that ‘promised goal’: a continuing conversation, sharing our experiences and our awareness of God’s revelation through our work in mission together because we choose to follow Jesus as our exemplar.
Rev. Ann Perrin
- What were your first experiences of God?
- Have there been times when you have ignored your experience of God?
- How have your experiences led you to a deeper commitment to your faith?
If you would like to share your response, email firstname.lastname@example.org