The heavens record the glory of God;
And the firmament declares His handiwork.
Day unto day gushes with speech,
And night unto night reveals awareness.
There is no speech, and there are no words;
Their voice is not heard. (Psalm 19:1-3)
(Translation note: The final line cited above, in most English translation, sees “where” inserted at the beginning because translators are seldom mystics who understand Hebrew thought patterns. The above is my own effort to be more literal so that it stands on its own.)
Notice what the quoted passage from Psalms says. Any translation of Hebrew mystical poetry will be rough, but we can see where it’s going: The sky talks, but it doesn’t. Creation as a whole exudes the sense of God’s glorious Presence. There is a powerful sense of knowing and moral content, yet you cannot put it into words.
There was a time some years ago when it drove me nuts. It came through my mind like a sense of expectation, as if something was going to happen. That was as much as my brain could make of it.
Over the past few years I’ve spent time with the concept of wordlessness, or what theologians refer to as things ineffable — it can’t be told. It points to a state of awareness above the intellect, a sort of moral communion directly with the Holy Spirit. This is what people seek with private prayer languages (a form of speaking in tongues). It’s not meant to communicate with others; you couldn’t tell them. It’s a private experience of God’s power overshadowing our fallen nature.
This is the context in the New Testament referred to as being “in the Spirit” (Revelation 1:9 for example). It’s an overpowering sense of living in God’s favor. It may not result in any particular revelation from God, but it often signals a reason to expect something special. This intensity varies with the purpose of the Spirit in the context.
On the day of my bicycle collision, it was earthshaking. I knew something was at hand. Did I have any options for escaping that tragic event? Only at the expense of departing from the state of spiritual communion. Just as surely as I knew something was at hand, I also knew I had to carry on the path I was taking. I stopped on that bike path bridge to taste the wind, to confirm and to enjoy how that powerful state of awareness changed everything around me.