This past week, a poetic voice in the spiritual formation world found a different venue. The articles on Willard's life here and here are well worth reading, but personally I have only grown to appreciate his work in the last 2-3 years. From books like Renovation of the Heart to The Divine Conspiracy, Willard has laid out a realistic view of how we can put on the character of Christ and begin to live the Kingdom of God that is available NOW.
His voice will be missed, but there are many missed voices. Mentors, fathers, mothers, friends and others who shaped our way and gave us our first dose of life in full voice, singing with thunderous goodness into our souls. These are God-with-voices, humming eternity like the swell of a cello into the very deepest part of us, calling our heart to that which matters most.
Eternity, now as it will be later.
Kingdom, here as it is in heaven.
So, a fitting prayer comes from the Apostle Paul and my hope is that if you have lost someone this will bless you with courage to listen anew again.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21, NIV)
Thank you Dallas, for helping us be rooted and established in love.