Contemplative Life

Coracle Fellows Update from Judith James Fellowship Class of ’18

By: Judith James

 “ ‘Let NOT the wise man glory in his wisdom; let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight’, says the Lord.”
(Jeremiah 9:23-24)

I thought I was mature. When I initially embraced the idea of participating in The Coracle Fellowship, I entered the experience pregnant with “glories” based on years of Christian experiences leading me to believe I had acquired more than a modicum of wisdom regarding the life and topic of Christianity.  After all, I was chronologically mature; I had traveled to Israel 18 times over 18 consecutive years; I had been the number 2 person on ministry trips to Africa and India; and, in addition to all of that, surely I was qualified to also glory in my might when, during a ministry trip to Nigeria, I survived jumping into disease infested waters that I was cautioned not to enter, in order to participate in a Christian baptism. YET, today, I look back on those experiences with new lenses and challenge myself with the questions: was I fully alive in God?  Was I free and fully activated in my identity in Christ?  Was I a false-self engaged in serving His kingdom?  Did I do ALL to the glory of God? It turns out, not so much.

Very early on in this already powerful and rich Fellowship year, I came face-to-face with the realization that my spiritual formation/spiritual development was, at most, still quite elementary and even, perhaps, somewhat superficial.  I not only had not lived a contemplative life, I had not experienced a contemplative day; and who, besides C.S. Lewis, knew that “every Christian is to become a little Christ and that the whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else”? Moreover, I became aware that my growth level had been stunted by a false-self that was quite judgmental and self-righteous; and, yes, I could say that I had engaged in Kingdom action for the sake of the world, but, because of Coracle’s teaching, I am mindful of a need to “move on towards maturity” in several different categories of my spiritual development.

The past four months of The Coracle Fellowship have been profoundly revealing and transforming.  To see spiritual formation as a journey and to recognize that everyone is on a journey (including me)  – regardless of our stage of development  – has served to alter my heart, head, and hands.  In January 2018, I could not authentically confess that I gloried in [fully] understanding and knowing HIM (Jeremiah 9:24).  Today, I am convinced I have grown to the next level; that is, I am understanding and knowing HIM so much better.  In January 2018, I vaguely knew “God loved me” (deep down, I merely hoped God loved me). Today, in contrast, I believe “God loves me REALLY(i.e. I know God loves me!).  This distinct difference has everything to do with believing in my head without a deep abiding knowing of God’s love in my heart.

Although only one-third of the way through the 2018 program, I already owe a debt of gratitude to Coracle.  I’m very grateful for all the Coracle staff shepherding the process, for the excellent readings I have been introduced to, and for the rich fellowship among the Coracle Fellows. Already this year has been a time for “opening the eyes of my understanding” and positioning me to press toward the mark of the “highest” calling such that I, like St. Paul, can declare, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ that lives in me.”


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