March 26

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword, they shall be prey for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

– Psalm 63:1-11

This psalm resonated with me as a young lawyer in the courts of Western Pennsylvania facing the perils of legal fights. I felt the strengthening effect of the psalm, as King David must have felt it while facing his foes. I needed a God like the one in this Psalm to help me in the trenches. This God is different from the God I experienced later, when I was 57, and had a mystical experience. The difference, of course wasn’t in God but in my perception of God.

In the years following that experience I have learned that to experience God gives a great freedom of mind and soul, and this God is absolutely free of any definition or description except absolute Love. People who experience God are not alone because they experience an unchangeable oneness with God. This experience allows trust in God and freedom from fear, worry or anxiety. They know peace. They can laugh.

Experiencing God makes a person want to live fully in this world as a channel of God’s love. Being one with God makes one aware that everyone else is also one with God, and that we are here together to learn to love one another.

PRAYER:

In this quiet moment, may I open my heart and mind, the center where God is. May I remember God in the giving and receiving of love, which are two inseparable parts of the same experience.

– John Hayes