Have you ever heard of “hypnagogia?” (You can read the Wikipedia entry about it here). It’s the official term for that peculiar state of consciousness that falls somewhere in between wake and sleep. I sometimes wonder if hypnagogia is related to the “trance” which scripture says Peter was in when he received a vision that changed the course of church history, or Paul was in when he received a warning from the spirit of God to flee Jerusalem.1 I was surprised to learn that Beethoven, Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and many others learned to enter this state regularly and on purpose, finding it helpful for creativity and problem-solving, even receiving scientific breakthroughs. The early Quakers, who possessed spiritual insight far beyond their time (ours too), were big proponents of “silence” of the mind in God’s presence. In many meetings they refused to speak or do anything unless and until the spirit clearly moved upon or within them to do so. If they sat in silent corporate communion with God for hours, that was no less successful to them than a lively meeting. I know some are probably made uneasy by this sort of thing, but I absolutely don’t think a Son of God need fear intentionally silencing their mind or beginning to fall asleep with the intention of communing with God through Jesus Christ, nor do I think God is somehow displeased with that. I’m sure many would disagree, but I suspect that most disagreement would be from fear and ignorance, not true spiritual insight.
That said, my main purpose in writing this is to share a random thought which came to me while in a partially-asleep state this morning. For me, such things are rare, so I took it seriously. This thought, which I have never had before but was on my mind the very moment I woke up, was basically that apostles function as the “waste management” branch of the Church (I told you it was random!). Along with this thought, I immediately thought of someone I know through Facebook, who I realized has been gifted/called of God for the role of an apostle, though he’s never claimed such. Shortly after getting out of bed, with this on my mind, I logged onto Facebook, and one of the first things I came across was a youtube video about apostleship this person had posted within the last 24 hours, his first video in over a year, from what I can see. I was amazed by the correlations between what he shared and my “epiphany.” You can watch his video here.
Wikipedia defines waste management as: “…the “generation, prevention, characterization, monitoring, treatment, handling, reuse and residual disposition of solid wastes”.2 As I’ve thought about , I see two main functions that apostles perform: identifying and getting rid of what is spiritually rotten, toxic or no longer useful, as well as managing the household to make it run more cleanly and efficiently. In the physical world, if toxic waste isn’t identified and removed properly, it can cause chronic illness or death. Or when waste management services go on strike and refuse to haul away trash, things quickly get ugly. How much worse if spiritual “waste” isn’t recognized or disposed of. If a household had become overrun by clutter, garbage, and toxic waste, how useful and needed would those be who were specially tasked to take away the garbage and replace the broken, waste-producing systems with a clean, efficient one?
I think one thing the spirit of God is emphasizing right now is the adoption into sonship that is offered us in Christ – not only as a nice idea or concept, but resulting in a genuinely, radically different relationship to God than many of us have experienced before. A relationship of freedom and love, with a fresh and genuine lack of pretense, fear, or any obligation, along with spiritual power and wisdom beyond human ability. But along with the transition into a new spiritual season, there must also be a tearing down and removal of old things, including the system that perpetuates the outdated, irrelevant things. The spiritual VCR and rotary phone factories have to be torn down, and the household equipped for the modern age. This is not a glamorous job, but I believe it’s what apostles are called and given grace to do. If you see or hear men and women saying new things, talking about new seasons of the church, about inheritance and sonship or the dangers of religion, don’t dismiss them too quickly and harden your heart. Be willing to receive new things from God’s spirit – that’s how you FOLLOW. It’s not static…
Christ in his day functioned as an apostle (along with other things), and members of his body will do the same in the season that is upon us. The religious will always be fond of their traditions and opposed to the progress of the Spirit, but they won’t be able to stop the Kingdom’s growth. Though I am not there yet, I want to truly walk as a son of God in the steps of Christ – honoring and communing with my Father, performing His will in love and walking in Truth. Still lots I don’t understand and haven’t attained, but I know who I believe in. Amen.
Acts 10:10, 22:17