That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (KJV)We cannot get by without some words - even religious words. Don't worry if they make little sense for the moment. They will sink in.
There was a germ of truth in that assembly and their doctrines even though they tended to rigidity. This is the germ, perhaps: that there is a tragedy of helplessness in what is broken and that cannot fix itself. The germ gives rise to what anyone might lack, an overwhelming passion such as at the opening of Psalm 18. Now maybe I have always been of that type of person - O well... better to have been a recreated passionate person than a helpless broken one. Here is that bit of passion - and while I am at it, I remind you of the character of the one who is so praised at the beginning of Psalm 18. And the poet said
I am passionate about you Yahweh my courage, Yahweh my cliff and my fortress and my security, my God my rock, I will take refuge in him, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my retreat. (my translation)In Psalm 146, we have come to know this Yahweh better as one who saves people in trouble - and we know there are plenty of troubles and plenty of peoples in them. So how do we make a difference then?
My memories, even individually passionate as in the above psalm, nonetheless have their grounding in the character of the One who acts on behalf of the distressed as I have so often pointed out from Psalm 146. This is one who
... keeps truth forever, does judgment for the oppressed, gives bread to the hungry, releases prisoners, gives sight to the blind (I will be coming to this with cataract operations soon!), uplifts the disturbed, loves the righteous, shelters the guest, restores orphan and widow, and subverts the way of the wicked (paraphrased).This catalog of Yahweh's actions is a substantial prayer. All this is simply to say that the 'mystical' is not an insubstantial wisp of air but a grounded, action-centered, growth that has content and direction. Another name for faith, hope and love.
There is yet more to say. Perhaps most important is the question: is the analogy of substance, the doctrine, 'derivable' from the text? In a word - No. The word creates. We do not derive as if by our own logic. Do we therefore impose the experience of being created, our experience, onto the text? In part, yes, we do. Where then is the cusp of origin? Is it random, like the sowing of a seed? This is the image used of the word.
Yet more to say.