“I want to go deeper, but i dont know where it goes” (Delirious 1996)
So, when the Niceans, the chalceodonians and the apolstles got together back in the day, when they discussed, argued, voted, and sought to clarify the essentials of the emerging christian faith, the one thing that the missed off, given that it seems to be a bedrock of christian thought for the last decade, is that for a real true faith, for a significant, meaningful communal relationship with the triune God, for acting in Christ, with Christ and for Christ, none of this would be possible, unless you hadnt gone ‘deeper’. You know that unmeasurable deeperness that seems to emmanate from every festival movement, conference season since Delirious had that pop record in 1996. So, what does it mean? how can we tell if its been had, and why does going deeper, feel like doing the same standing, singing, listening, promising/pledging, leaving and forgetting – is that deeper at all – or a linguistically clever way of encouraging a state of being, that could be different, and makes the speaker of such saying valid in their inference. Is it just an easy thing to say – i mean to say “this week at _______, we’re going to go deeper____” – rather than “this week at ______, itll be shallow for Jesus, bit of singing and some great food” – its great motivational speak – but – is it Biblical?
I mean, did the discples ever sit round and go – Jesus take me deeper? or Paul, or did he encourage the churches, with exhonorations to go deeper?
The two NIV references for the word Deeper are
Leviticus 14:35, in reference to the depth of mould on a wall, and Job 11:8 in which the description of the mysteries of God are given as deeper than the depths below.
So, taking away the thought that during a conference we are to examine the extent of the mould on the wall of the butlins entertainment buildings ( a spring harvest venue) – though i have seen 3 inches of limescale on the bottom of a kettle at the aforementioned butlins. I would hope that , given the only other biblical reference to ‘deep-ness’ is ths second that we go for that one. So Gods mysteries are deeper than the oceans, and deepest places – how does that equate to the eschewing of the desire for a personal going deeper?
To go deeper into the mysteries of God, the unquestionables, the nature and essence, the creator, author, presence and subject of his own drama, to hear from the saints who have gone before, to listen, to share stories, to discover God at work. To gather to do God in the midst of community, to love despite hate, to reconcile and restore – might these be moments of being and knowing and hearing the deepening voice of God who dances in our midst. To love God more because of his mystery, that love only a God whom i can contain in the sized box in which i like.
There are also 45 references to ‘Depths’ – of which many look like being taken/rescued from the ‘depths’, Jonah being ‘flung’ into the depths , depths of riches and wisdom and knowledge of God ( Rom 11:33), depth of my love for you (from Paul to the church at Corinth 2 cor 2:3-5), and finally Philippians 1 8-10, which states:
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.
So, Biblically, we are rescued from the depth places , flung into them against our will, or its a measure of a LOVE that is growing knowledge and insight, for discernment, for best action and personal holiness, which in itself is collective & vocational . Its not then something that occurs through the process of lots of singing, or just hearing. Its an ongoing yearning foracting in love (Love is a verb), knowing listening and being with God, for discerning right action in the ongoing drama.
So, shall we give up singing songs about intentions, and actually do them? Maybe ‘we need to go deeper’ is just becoming a new pet-hate – just as much as ‘we need to go forward’ was/also is. Its more that its become synonimous with the trickets of a personal expression of faith, rather than the desire to love and worship in action the complex trinitarian, incarnate, merciful biblical God. To dance his dance in the community, to explore the mysteries of God with and grow with others, thats deeper.