Devekut and Fear of the Lord

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Devekut and Fear of the Lord

#1 Postby Phillip » Fri May 15, 2015 8:04 am

When I picked up my first plucked instrument, a mandolin, and pushed my way through a tabbed version of “Stairway to Heaven” I remember a distinct and profound sense of fear. I felt as though I was taking a power into my hands that was perhaps too great, and I held in my heart a fear and awe of the Lord while I worked through the simple and popular solo.

As I continue to learn how to play music, I have no illusions about becoming a “great” musician but I remember this awe, this fear of the Lord and a great power music can have for many of us, especially particular kinds of music. Something about particular instruments always possessed a sense of mystery and distance for me, as though beyond me, beyond my powers as a mere mortal. To take up their study, therefore, holds great awe and wonder, as well as a kind of (I hope) Divine pride.

I go through stages with practice, as cycles of life and my profession, as well as having a full life with other interests. I don’t practice as intensely at all times in the year as I do during the spring and summer. But when I return to my musical practice with increased fervor and passion, it is always with this awe and wonder, even a fear behind the study, as though I am touching something sacred, precious and even dangerous... as though it is a power too great for me and I secretly fear I am being too bold to presume reach out to touch it. It is part of what drives the intensity of my passion during such periods.

So, though this begins as a contemplation about my particular interests in musical pursuits, it ends as a contemplation of fear of the Lord. It has been said that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom,” and I wonder if there might be some connection between fear of the Lord and passion – devekut, cleaving? Is ‘fear of the Lord’ intimately connected to Devekut? Is it the fuel underlying Devekut? Is this the fear that underlies movements of Devekut?

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Re: Devekut and Fear of the Lord

#2 Postby BrandonLw » Sun May 17, 2015 8:53 am

Shabbat Shalom,

I find fear of the Lord a powerful source of passion as well. As I look closer into some mental models I might keep, or to some boundaries and "comfortably low" (another song reference there) expectations, I find they are actually a strange form of hubris. Hubris because I may be letting subtle doubts and karmic patterned expectations have greater command over my days than the Lord. Fear of the Lord for me of late is letting the Lord be master of the land in reign. It is for me to listen and focus on the Lord's will, and not as some perceived "ought-ness" of assumptions, but a practice of deep listening and self knowledge, and prayer for greater insight. I focus on the Lord's will if I fear the Lord, and this is an ongoing, beautiful and subtle work. Who am I to travel one direction in karmic doubt if the Lord has willed another? If I am focused so deeply on fear and doubts how will I hear my Lord? All this of course predicated on the wonderful balance of spiritual pride and humility: to love and keep communion and serve with honor. God is life abundant, better to fear not living in fullness in an honored place in Messiah than anything I might encounter in the world, in worldly fears.

In this I agree wholeheartedly with your questions here. I think it is right that we not ignore fear or desire, but channel them into vessels of service and honor, into joy and clarity in a time of muddle and hubris.

In this, Yeshua's praise of the Roman soldier comes to mind (Matthew 8:8-10). I believe that soldier had right desire and fear of the Divine authority moving in that moment, and so merged his request with Yeshua's speaking, merging the feminine with the masculine properly with Yeshua, and in short: speaking up boldly and keeping the movement simple and complete in fear and courage.

Lord's rest with us.
Sacramento, CA

Elder Gideon
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Fear and Awe

#3 Postby Elder Gideon » Tue May 19, 2015 7:44 pm

Shalom Brothers:

I very much enjoy what you've begun here, Brother Phillip, as it's inspired Brother Brandon.

What overwhelms the poet and physicist both in peak moments of their career might rightly be called awe. The space of awe indeed invokes passion, precisely as you've said, Brother Phillip. Awe induces cleaving. The very instinct to make or express burns the cleanest fuel when it is sparked from the expansive, enveloping space of awe.

More than fear in peak experiences of elevated dream-states, it is awe that nearly breaks me. My heart cannot contain what wells up within to such an intensity that I lapse in consciousness. Is this not what guards holiness? Is it dread or awe? The awe I'm attempting to describe is even more intense than dread, for it's not so much of something outside of me, so to speak, but what's responding inside of me, that makes awe more overwhelming.

Fear in our language is as flat as love. Perhaps we can thank religion for this. When I roughly track the exact words for fear in the Old Testament, I'm astonished to learn that the more conservative, dreadful, threatening pahad פַּחַד is not nearly as common as old time religion has connoted. In fact, the word for awe, reverence, and everything humbling yarey יָרֵא combined with its derivate of the same letters, matches dreadful pahad two-to-one. In other words, biblical narratives of dread are more often eclipsed by awe.

This shifts me and my own creative process, for it is from awe and humility that greatness can be reflected in smallness.

Elder Gideon

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