This year I, Pastor Matt McClure, and my family was giving the a huge gift by the PCCRC family to go on sabbatical. My sabbatical learning centered on the believers relationship with God and the movement of that relationship. I will be posting excerpts from the writing I did during this time, reflecting on what it means to grow in intimacy with God.
The Move of Intimacy Toward the Heart of God
I was walking through the venders in Seoul, South Korea, listening to the rhythm and cadence of the sellers trying to get my attention. The language, culture, beauty of Seoul captivated my imagination and has a special place in my heart 20 years later. I am still trying to learn Korean and chip away at it year by year and one thing I learned along the way is that there are three levels in Korean that form the grammatical structure. Grammatical structure is not something unique to Korean but the way in which it is structured is and the way it is structured revolves around the relationship of the two individuals talking. If they are meeting for the first time or if one individual holds more authority over the other than the formal structure is used; the individuals are semi-familiar with one another and are fairly equal in authority they may use standard; if the individuals are close friends or family members they will use the intimate level of the grammatical structure. Using the wrong structure in a given situation is considered rude. I had not studied a language before that based its grammatical form on the relationship of the individuals. So looking at Korean I asked the question if English changes its structure or vocabulary in prayer as the relationship with God becomes deeper and stronger.
The question is predicated on two beliefs: that God is exists and a relationship with God is possible and grows. I find arguments for the existence of God to be interesting, laying out that argument is not the purpose here so I will not be addressing it. The relationship with God is going to be the main thrust of the thoughts and research shared and I will engage with the reality of the relationship, the truth that it grows and matures, and that this growth is a movement toward greater intimacy.
Jesus states that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength in Matthew 24:36-38. He goes on to sight the second is like it and we are to love our neighbor as ourself. Love and intimacy are so close in meaning that separating them appears to me to be impossible. So for sake of my sanity I am going to operate from the understanding that love and intimacy are interchangeable. So to love God, Jesus says one must do it to the “all” degree and he notes the break in areas of one’s life that the “all” degree is to implemented. One of those areas is the the mind and it is here that knowledge becomes a vital piece of intimacy.