For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews ch. 12)
I have always loved this verse. In my youth it was one of my favorite verses and I frequently used it as a text for my sermons as I was intoxicated with the ego-ridden notion of wielding the “word of God.” And even then I grasped the significance of the notion of “discerning” the “thoughts and intents of the heart.” I still believe in the Judeo-Christian notion of the “Word” of God having been spoken, that the whole of creation is His “Word” reverberating throughout this void that we live in. Of course, at this point in my life, I am wont to ask, “Now, just what does that mean? which leads me into this complicated, ambiguity-filled world of “literarylew.” (I’ve tried medication but it just won’t go away!)
Yes, I do believe that I speak “the Word” today but not in any special sense, any more than do you, or even those people who believe differently than myself. And, even more so, “the Word” technically speaks “me” just as it does “you” as it is a basic, guiding energy which lies at the heart of life. For, science and mythology tells us that the whole of this universe is merely energy…including ourselves…even though I still prefer to refer to that “energy” as a “Person.”
But back to that “discerning business.” This “Word” that I believe in is indeed “personal” and therefore is essentially dynamic; it is alive. When we come into the presence of life that is static, I argue that we are face to face with death. This is very much related to the scriptural observation that “the letter of the law killeth but the spirit maketh alive.” Those who live only in the “letter of the law” (those who are literalists, for example) live in a static world and according to the Bible, they are in an important sense, “dead.” And when this Word is allowed to live within us, to be dynamic, it does offer us a “discerning spirit” which often comes through the feedback from other people. This “discerning spirit” is closely akin to the Buddhist notion of “mindfulness.”
I have friends and a wife who frequently facilitate this “discernment” process in my heart; they give me feedback. And the blog-o-sphere also provides valuable feedback re my “literarylew” ramblings which, as a body, are very reflective of what is going on in my heart. Two of my readers are very well blessed with this gift of “discernment” though both of them would be given pause for me to assign to them this “gift” as they are hardly Christian. But the Spirit that I believe in, that spoke this world into existence and continues to allow it to cohere, supersedes all religious creeds and belief systems, including those who avow that they have none. These two individuals often cut directly to the “heart” regarding my musings and their blogs themselves approach the heart issues on basic life issues that we all face. These two people have the gift of “assessing” or “judging” (in a good sense) and providing critique of what is being said and of what is going on in their world. This is a “discerning spirit” which is often missing in our world.