October 22, 2020

The Descent to God

This month, while Chaplain Mike is on sabbatical, Jeff has asked me to provide some Sunday meditations.  I find that daunting.  I’m not a scholar or a preacher, but I’ll give you the best I have.  Ironically, the best I have is other people’s words, but these are words that have taken up residence in my head and heart, that sing in my mind when I can’t find my own words, that fall like rain on dry soil, that give me hope.

For Lotte Bielitz (Written at her request)

By Rainer Maria Rilke

It is hard, the descent to God.  But see:

You’re plying your empty vessels in distraction,

When to be child, girl, women’s suddenly

Enough to give him endless satisfaction.


He is the water; you need only mold

The cup out of two hands extended yonder;

And if you kneel as well – why, then he’ll squander,

And pass all your capacity to hold.


This poem rings true to me because it expresses the same kind of backwardness or paradox the scriptures do.  God is far above us, yet to find him we descend.  We struggle effortfully to please him when all he wants is us.  We need no vessels to receive the living waters, only hands cupped in prayer; and when we ask him, he’ll pour out all the riches of his love, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.


  1. I like it.

    The down to earth character of the gospel.

    That God in Christ Jesus has descended ALL the way down…ti the bottom of the grave to meet us where we are.

    What an awesome God we have.

    Thank you, Damaris.

  2. We find God through descending, because God comes to us through descending – through being conceived, born, suffering, being crucified, dying, and being buried. He comes to us not in esoteric, cloud-splitting dreams but in bread and wine. Theology of the Cross vs. Theology of Glory. George MacDonald has a sermon along these line on why we must become like a child to come to God.

  3. David Cornwell says

    And very often we find God in the faces of those we would rather look away from.

  4. I loved this because it is so true. I once gave a talk regarding the fact that God needs nothing but us. He wants us to love and this is all that is needing. Loving Him and being open to pray to Him and await some form of response. It is beautiful to just pray with God and that is what He wants from us anyway!

  5. The descent into quiet, the descent into light
    It sounds funny, it sounds right.