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by Jon Dephouse

This coming weekend marks three years since I finished cancer treatment, which is a moment for me of remembering my own mortality. The other night I shared my spiritual journey to the new member class and after talking about my story one person asked me what that the struggle of cancer treatment did to my faith.

This was hard to answer, but as I looked back to my experience I realized that an abstract “me and God” individualistic, mystical faith didn’t mean anything to me at the time; nothing at all. The ONLY thing mattered was human love, whether it was meals dropped off, prayers prayed, embraces offered, restraint and space when it was needed, a doctor’s skill and knowledge, or a nurse’s care.

The only God I experienced was through other people. Period. This cannot be overstated.

One author I love, Christian Wiman, who continues to live with an incurable cancer, says it so well:

“It is not some meditative communion with God that I crave. What one wants during extreme crisis is not connection with God, but connection with people; not supernatural love, but human love. No, that is not quite right. What one craves is supernatural love, but one finds it only within human love. This is why I am, such as I am, a Christian, because I can feel God only through physical existence, can feel God’s love only in the love of other people.”

I wonder if the experience of divine love through people is the truth of God all the time, and not just in times of crisis, but times of crisis are what open our eyes to divine reality that is so utterly rooted in this human life now, and nowhere else.

During the Forty Days of Lent, we will offer daily meditations from All Saints Church. Today’s is written by Senior Associate for Formation & Education Jon Dephouse.

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