Lessons from the Cave

An Inspired Essay by Rev. Marcia Sutton

I came to the Greek Island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea to visit the Cave of the Apocalypse. This cave is where the Book of Revelation was scribed by Blessed St. John, the beloved disciple whom Jesus had loved and in whom the Joy of Christ had been made full. I had come to pray here. I wanted to lay down my sorrow so that I might know the promise of such Joy as given in this scripture. I wanted this fullness of Joy that Jesus promised and that St. John had lived.

The fullness of Joy means the end of sorrow. I now see that Joy comes only when we have been re-formed in the crucible of God's loving kindness. It comes only when we have learned the lessons of Love or rather the lessons of not having learned to love. Love is the doorway to opening the splendor of Joy within our souls. Joy is the peace-filled bliss that arises from the realization that all is well...that truly all is well.

I have experienced the blessing of resting in the consciousness of Christ and knowing that right where I am, at any given moment, there is a gift. Right where I am is holy ground. Right where I am is where all is given. Right where I am is where Love abides. And right where I am is the realization that all is well and my joy is made full.

St. John teaches me about such Joy. He teaches me about the Joy of knowing Christ as the Living Presence of God, active in me and in my experience of life. And so it is in this sacred Cave that I light a candle to send a "love blessing" in the name of St. John to all who have contributed to the support of my ministry. I light another candle and give thanks for all who are being served by it. As I stand in this precious place, I dedicate myself again to joining with others in one accord in order to serve the revelation of the Light and Love of Christ in all humanity.

I am aware that monks have prayed in this cave for centuries. In this knowing, I allow myself to be lifted up by those prayers and, in so doing, I add my agreement to every prayer and every act of faith that permeates the invisible atmosphere of this stone carved room. My prayers become another step on the long stairway of Light that has filled this place since St. John first uttered his own prayer here.

In this Cave, I am also part of the great lineage of God's Love that has been made known through the prayers of the saints, sages, monks, mystics and holy ones of every calling. I am part of it all. My prayers for all of you are welcomed into the womb of all prayers. My light radiates from the Light of the eternal Light and my love is blessed by the Love that has always been.

I began this journey to Greece with an impulse to know more about my own divine nature. I ended it knowing that I am nothing. I am no thing. Yet, in the very next breath, I know that I am a beloved of God.

Love Itself has brought me here. Love has carried me when I didn't know where I was walking. Love has opened my eyes when I couldn't see. Love has given me words of kindness when there was nothing left to say. Love has whispered in my heart when I had closed it down. Love has been the beacon when I passed through the deep darkness. Love has raised me up when I was rejected by the world. Love has made things new when I hung onto the old. Love has always been an open door even when I had run the other way. Love always gave Its guidance even when I was afraid and alone. And Love never left me even though I failed It countless times.

I now know that Love is the only journey and that my life is a life that Love has made. As this is true for me, I know it is true for you and for every living being. And in this awareness, my joy is made full. May God's Love bless your life now and forevermore.

Rev. Marcia Sutton January 2003