In the Flow of the River


READ:  Revelation 22:1

“Then the angel showed me the river of life, streaming forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb, a river flowing as clear as liquid crystal.” – Revelation 22:1

One of my favorite hymns is the Gospel, Shall We Gather at River.  It is song of hope in a destiny promised by the Lord, a remembrance of the life of the Spirit is like a flowing mountain stream on its way to the Great Sea.  I sing it often and hum it even more often … for it brings me a certain Peace for which my soul has need.

Shall We Gather at the River, Robert Lowry

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we every burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

Christian spirituality includes a flowing with the river.

flowOne November, while on a retreat into the mountains, I came upon a stream.  A rather quiet stream but one traveling at sure and steady pace.  It was a stream fresh from the higher mountain: its water, cold; its water, clear.  The trees were well into their autumn, already the first gold and rusty leaves of the season having already just let go in their noble fall to earth.  Most of the leaves fell upon the earth, returning to the earth with thanksgiving its Providence, to become once more the strength for a coming Spring.  But one leaf happen to fall upon the waters of the stream.  And that autumn leaf became my soul’s focus for a few eternal minutes.

That golden leaf, now in its final, aging glory, first drifted almost aimlessly – as if suspended in contemplation.  Slowly, the subtle currents in the both the waters and the air, began to spin about, like a dancer doing pirouettes on a mirror of liquid crystal.  In time, the leaf embarked on an unexpected journey, a voyage to an unknown place, along a course only yet imagined, guided only by the whims of the water’s gentle, fateful flow.  I followed this autumn leaf a ways … watching her spin and turn, stall and slip, here and there, on a course both meandering yet, in the end, well-determined.  And before the leaf traveled beyond my sight, the leaf seemed to be – at least, to me – at peace in her new found freedom and her unexpected joy.

My Loved Ones, we are wise and prudent to live well-planned lives.  Yet, I have found the human spirit – especially one that is grace with a sense of the Divine – needs at times to let go … and settle soft upon the stream of God – and travel with the flow.  You see, looking back from this place in my life where I can now hear the breakers of the Great Sea lapping against the shore, I realize that we may spend far, far too much of our lives rowing against the current.  We sometimes forget that life is more than “accomplishing”, more than “gaining”, more than “winning”, more than “acquiring”, more than “proving ourselves and getting ahead of others”, … the deeper part of life is … “Living”.  Brother Elias once said to me …“Brother Anthony, we are to be always lifting praise to God.  And do you know just what it means to praise to God … praising God is to be so caught up in the wonder of God that the rejoicing cannot help but follow…”  Like an old leaf resting in its November glory … dancing on the waters and going with the flow.  So, my Loved Ones, take time each day to do nothing else but … to simply go drifting with the flow of the bright and shining river.

Shall We Gather,
Brother Anthony of the Cross
(jim mcwhinnie)

For the latest installment of the ongoing story, The Mystic Realms of Shadow Fox, just click …  … The installments are separated by ********* with the latest being at the end (obviously).

Visit my poetry site, Willow Words, by clicking .
Also visit my new Psalter site for a reading of the Psalms

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