Each year I pick a book to slowly go though for the year. In 2010 it was The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning. Among the many profound things I learned along the way, the chapter that impacted me the most is titled Union. In this chapter Manning reflects on Thomas Brodie’s commentary of the book of John. His reflections are fascinating.
“Brodie argues persuasively that the starting point of John’s theology is abiding restful union. The Irish scholar first establishes the union of Jesus with His Father. As the gospel progresses, Jesus speaks not only of His oneness with the Father, but also His union with us. (15:4) The extraordinary picture of the beloved reclining on Jesus’ breast (13:23-25) and Josh’s surpassing repetition of that intimate moment at the very end of the gospel (21:20) convey the intention that the abiding restful union frames his gospel.” (Manning, p64) Brodie sums it up in his own words, “Thus the is a form of restful union which exist first of all in God, but which humans CAN (emphasis added) participate both during this life and during a later life.”
This past year I spent a fair amount of time pondering this idea of abiding restful. Am I participating in union? Am at in a state of rest before God? The NASB translation of “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10) is more accurate: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” As we cease striving in this world that incessantly teaches us to strive, we will know that we are loved by the one and only who can give us the union we long for.