I spoke of how the healing and peace I’d found on retreat had evaporated in my re-engagement with the digital milieu. This morning, reading the only blog I currently subscribe to, I found words to express what had been going on. Once more, Fr Stephen’s words were enlightening, but in this case very personally so. In particular I draw your attention to the ongoing discussion thread, where thee is much extra wisdom and help. The blog can be found HERE
It is the mental noise that I wish to leave behind – I find that the multiply distracting internet is in the main ‘noise’
“If we give ourselves over to the passions, these disordered sounds, thoughts and feelings, we simply yield ourselves to a lot of noise. A lot of the noise might be religious and spiritual, but it will always come back to frustration because it’s just noise and not the primary work of purification.”
Sermon for Lent 4 – Year A – Sunday March 30th 2014
‘Without humility no-one will see God’
Lord Jesus Christ, take my lips and speak through them; take our minds and think through them; take our hearts and set them on fire with love for you. Amen.
What does it mean to love God with all our mind?
When I was in the process of considering the call to come here to St John’s – as any person might do I checked the parish website. And there I saw the comment ‘St John’s not a church where you need to leave your brain at the door . . .’ I must admit at first I was quietly pleased, it would be disingenuous of me to say that I am not interested in the life of the mind. But I have to say that as I typed these words out they made me shudder . . . I will pass over my objections for now, to an obvious objection to my taking issue with it. For as we have hear every Sunday, Jesus in calling Israel to remembrance of who She is recites the Shema – ‘Hear O Israel, The Lord thy God, The Lord is One, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength’. There it is!! Love God with All of your mind!! What’s my problem? Well simply this – What does it mean to Love God with our minds?? Because just Using our minds is not necessarily loving God with them. (Although we would like to think so) For our minds can obviously be put to many uses that have nothing to do with loving God. And even thinking about God is not necessarily to love him with our minds – esepcially if we consider God to be some sort of ‘problem’ – as if we were thinking about the ocean, or the news, or what to have to dinner tonight. To think about someone you love is not the same, and this is to love God with our minds. And, to make matters worse, the better our minds, the better we are at deluding ourselves that we are loving God with our minds.
To Love is to Give. God so Loved the world, that He Gave. Love is a giving over of what we have for others. To love God with our minds is to surrender our minds to God. Now the very phrase ‘To Surrender our minds to God’ may well cause us to shudder. I struggle with it. Yet without that First step, we cannot be enlightened – we cannot by our own self serving processes of Reason come to the Truth. But if we Surrender our minds to God, Trusting in his Love then He will lead us deep into the Truth of who he is. We Must acknowledge that we are utterly dependent on God to know the truth of God. Theology as the doctors of the church tell us is ‘Faith seeking understanding’ What is faith? Faith is the surrender of our lives to God. In other words we begin by saying Yes to God. And the rest of our thinking is predicated on that unreserved ‘Yes’
All too often the phrase ‘we don’t check our brains in at the door’ leaves us in effect putting ‘God in the Dock’ – as if our pitiful powers of reason could elucidate the truth. To hear our own St John – if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the Truth is not in us. To as it were put God on trial, to put him to the test is to assume we are without Sin, that our eyes are completely clear. That We See. But Jesus destroys our illusions “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains. If we start from the assumption that we see, then we all we admit is our blindness. That is why long hours of loving prayer – of spending time with God is the prerequisite for any thinking about God. Without Love for God, no thinking about him can be truthful. For to Love IS to Know. To do otherwise is to assume that we are greater than God, in practise, if we would never acknowledge that in theory.
I recounted to the Lent group a week ago how I had been revealed as someone smug, superior and arrogant and dreadfully sinful by my Spiritual Director some years ago. How she had listened carefully to me and then asked ‘Eric, would you prefer it if you were right and God were wrong?’ And facing the state of my wicked heart I admitted that that was the case. She dismissed me with the words, “I think you have some serious work to do!’’ I don’t think that ever, before or since I have so felt the fires of hell licking at my heels. For we cannot love God with our minds if we will not surrender our need to be right . . . and that battle for the love of our minds is right at the heart of our Gospel today. As is the whole Gospel – the encounter with Jesus, the lover of our souls, the one who confronts us with terrible truths about ourselves, that we might turn from our wickedness and live. I had assumed that I was greater than God – although if you were to put it to me I would have said ‘Never!!’. But the Truth of my life was revealed by a skilled and holy director.
So as my director revealed My Sin – so our Gospel also reveals Sin. As I said to put God on trial it is first necessary is to assume We have not sinned, however we might protest otherwise. Our Gospel reading hones right in on this, God in the person of Jesus is on trial, and the occassion of this is the healing of the man born blind, and notice how Sin is a thread running through the whole story.
First there is the question of why he is blind. ‘Did he sin or was it his parents?’ – Jesus declares that the straightforward connection between suffering and sin is wrong. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” You are wrong to make this connection – but then Jesus adds a somewhat mysterious phrase ‘he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him’ I’ll come back to that at the end. “4We” ( Jesus is here including the disciples in His work) “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” This healing is a Sign of Who Jesus is, ‘the true light who enlightens everyone.
So Jesus dismisses sin from the equation concerning the man’s blindness – but that does not mean that he is dismissing sin as we shall see.
Secondly, the man in obedience to Jesus goes and washes in the pool. Note Jesus does not say ‘go and wash the mud off’ – just ‘Go! Wash!’ Surely we are right to see here an allusion to Baptism. He went and washed and came back able to see. And as he comes from the pool more astonishingly he is not easily recognised – the mud takes us to the thought of the creation of Adam, from Mud. The Man is a New Creation – not readily recognisable, as of course neither was Jesus after his Resurrection, The New Creation. He has been born again. His parents without realising what they are saying tell the Pharisees, ‘Ask him yourself, He has come of age’ They say ‘he is no longer our child’, by their refusal to defend him – and in truth he is not – for now he is God’s child.
And notice also that Jesus is not in the picture. The man stands alone before the Pharisees. As the confusion over sin and his blindness reveals, health was seen as a spiritual matter. If he is healed, this is religiously important. So as the healed lepers are sent by Jesus to the Priests as a testimony to them, so also the man is Sent, to the waters of new Birth, then sent before the Pharisees, to witness.
Jesus says to those who follow him, ‘As the Father sent me, so I have sent you!’ The Man is one of the Sent ones, as Jesus the firstborn from above was sent.
Jesus as the Judge – the one who brings into Light things hidden
Now the story really hots up. It is at this point in John’s gospel that the narrative of conflict between Light and Dark is brought right to the forefront. Previously it is alluded to – Nicodemus comes by night and leaves in the dark – the woman at the well comes in broad daylight and receives Life from Christ. But now it is exposed. Jesus words from the end of the story “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” are enacted as the man bears witness to Jesus. This is what faithful witness to Jesus does, it reveals Light and Dark. His presence Is judgement. We blithely think that Judgement is something for the end of our lives, but it is Now, wherever Jesus is present – the Spirit separates the Light from the Dark, the Day from the Night, and Yes, there is more to the Creation story than a story of origins . . . Jesus is made present in the testimony of the man, as he simply declares what happens. The man testifies to what Jesus has done for him . . . as all those who are baptised are called to. We bear witness to Jesus, not primarily by talking about him in the Objective sense, but by bearing witness to what he has done for us – in this sense our words and actions can be understood as one, for our lives are renewed in all dimensions. And the Light breaks in exposing the darkness of the Pharisees. And they are angry
“Give glory to God! (On Oath – ‘Tell the Truth!!’ and the man does) “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know (Again the pride – that same pride that Nicodemus came to Jesus with ‘We know that you are a teacher who has come from God) ‘We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 (There is that Creation theme laid bare) Not since the Beginning has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. In the blind eyes of the Pharisees, Jesus is a sinner for healing on the Sabbath, and the man is a sinner because he was blind. So Light and dark are separated. the darkness cannot abide the light and seeks to drive it away.
The Pharisees and Us
The Pharisees had a very highly developed theological system of which they were judge and jury. They were at the centre of things, however much they said God was – they had things arranged so that they could have a very comfortable life and still worship God. Life entirely on their own terms. I have no doubt that they would have said ‘this is how we worship God with our minds’. They were not about to surrender their way of thinking to God. They were not about to accept that this man whom all their training said must be a sinner, had been healed by Jesus, whom they Also they saw as a Sinner for he healed on the Sabbath. Their whole way of life was under assault, and they were not about to admit that they were Wrong, for that would cost them Everything! As Faith in Jesus does. Jesus and his sent ones find themselves rejected by those who think that they are the centre of everything. They are ‘outside the camp’ Jesus will be crucified outside the city. There is no place for obedience to Jesus in the Pharisees system. Light has come in Jesus – their darkness is revealed. ‘You were born blind!! You were steeped in sin at your birth!! – How dare you try and lecture us!! The Action of Jesus has threatened them to their very core. If what the man says is true then their whole way of life has come under judgement in Jesus . . . and it is the same for us.
Indeed they weren’t about to surrender their way of thinking and indeed they weren’t about to surrender anything!
But what of us? The man hears the command of Jesus to go and wash and he does. In Obedience he is reborn. In obedience to the Son of Man, he is revealed to be a child of God. Every time we hear the words of Jesus, so plain in their command, it is Judgement. The words of Jesus reveal light and dark. Every time we respond in obedience to Jesus we are revealed as children of Light.
But if with the Pharisees we to use our thinking to adapt his command to our lives, rather than obey their plain meaning – we are revealed as children of the darkness. Take for example the command to love our neighbour as ourself, for many people the epitome of Jesus’ teaching. Love your neighbour as you love yourself. What would you do if you were hungry? Is your neighbour hungry? What would you do if you were cold? Is your neighbour cold? Etc. Etc. Yet how readily do we modify this word of Light, to one of darkness, namely Love your neighbour insofar as it is convenient to you – insofar as you can continue to live the life you want to have. And therein is found the heart of it – which life DO we want?? But the life of faith is not life on our terms, it is the Only life there is, the life of God, the life of alignment to the purposes of God, the life of simple obedience.
And such obedience, apart from staring it in the face and counting the cost of it, requires not much thought. Obedience does not require brain power. In truth some of the greatest of Saints have been the simplest of people. Loving nothing more than to love God with their lives.
Every time we take the plain words of Jesus and use our minds to change their meaning we are doing exactly what the Pharisees did
Who are the recipients of mercy
The man who witnesses to what Jesus has done for him is thrown out – he suffers the rejection of Jesus. Jesus comes to him outside and the man worships him. Two weeks ago we heard of Nicodemus – coming by night. A Pharisee with too much to lose . . . although as his story unwinds we see that there is even hope for Nicodemus . . . Then last week Jesus seeks the woman in the Light – the woman who is an outcast finds life in the Truth about her life being brought into the Light – The man who is born blind – the man who is a beggar – born thus that he might be the ground of God’s New Creation – receives New Life from Jesus. These people with nothing, the humble poor, the poor in Spirit of The beatitude see the Kingdom of heaven. The people with nothing to lose receive the Life of God. Next week we see this brought to a dramatic climax with the raising of Lazarus. The epitome of someone who has lost his, and so might gain it
Thus humility is the prerequisite for our Life in Christ. Thinking much of ourselves is always an error – Thinking much of Christ is always the way to Life. As St Benedict has it ‘The first degree of humility is obedience, and that without delay.’ And only one whose mind is surrendered to God, one who has laid down their Pride can live in such obedience.
Perhaps rather than ‘St John’s not a church where you need to leave your brain at the door . . .’ We might say, ‘St John’s is a church where we seek to support one another in the apparently foolish, very difficult yet life giving path of surrendered obedience of our minds to Jesus Christ – Our Life.’
In this session which was meant to be a repeat of earlier material I gave some teaching which I had earlier missed out – this led us into waters I hadn’t expected to navigate on the Necessity of the Church in terms of the Salvation of the World
What follows is a set of notes as much as a text – apologies where it is unclear [or better, ‘even more unclear than usual!!’ 🙂 ]
Apologies but the recording did not work – I may be able to upload one at a future date
Sermon for Sunday March 23rd Lent Year A 2014
Jesus and the woman at the well
The seriousness of our Vocation
Last Sunday evening I spent some time reflecting on the Seriousness of our vocation as the Baptised people of God. That as Children of God it was a requirement to forgive everyone for everything – not something which we might choose – that in times past the church spent several years preparing baptism candidates for the seriousness of the life they were entering – that as that sense of seriousness fell away, all the training except in monastic settings fell upon priests and that, to be truthful scandalously, we are part of a church which does not even give time to training clergy prior to ordination. As part of what I said we thought for a moment about the significance of prayer
I wonder how important we understand our prayers to be?
‘Did you pray everyday for every member of your parish? If you didn’t, then the days they stumbled, you were implicated as well for they were depending on your prayers.’
Do we pray as if it really matters that we pray?? As if the salvation of our brothers and sisters was in some sense we cannot see dependent on it. As if all our lives were woven together in ways we cannot begin to comprehend, especially in this day and age?
I wonder how important you think what we are doing here is, this act of worship?? Do we understand that it is Vital indeed NEcessary for the Sustenance of the Cosmos? HOw might we approach it if we did see it that way? What might we forgo to be present at the Eucharist if we thought it was of ultimate significance
In our gospel – Jesus reveals the truth about the woman he meets at the well. Immediately she shifts the conversation to matters of worship . . . I wonder how we hear this? I’m going to return to the encounter of the woman with Jesus in a moment, but for now, just ask yourself what you think is going on here
One writer on this passage I remember saying she is dodging Jesus – and indeed we may well think so. After all this act of worship is – well just one thing amongst many, no? I mean the worship of our lives is what really matters in the long run, no? Jesus has revealed the truth about her life and so she shifts the conversation to seemingly obtuse matters about where we worship . . .
I wonder, how important you think what we are doing here today is? Think back to the prayer question . . .
Certainly our forebears in faith saw Worship Very differently . . . If I said ‘What we are doing here in this act of worship is maintain the cosmological order – the heavens and the Earth – the Creation – the angels – all of humanity depend on what is going on here this morning . . . that this act of worship was the point in the Created order where EVERYTHING was held together?
As I suspect we probably pray without recognising its significance (not its power – its significance) so also we probably didn’t come here this morning thinking I must be there for all of creation hinges on this act of worship – All through the history of the people of God, from the earliest times of the Jewish people – through the time of Jesus and for the first thousand years of the life of the church, this was Precisely the understanding of what we are doing – and most especially in The Eucharist – the Place where in Jesus Christ Earth is offered to Heaven and heaven to Earth . . .
And then something changed – people stopped looking at everything as if it was connected, started to understand it as if nothing is connected – humanity disconnected from the wider creation – how else can we despoil the Earth and pollute it if we see we are part of it? and humanity disconnected from each other – to a point where in Western society (educated by Scientific objectivity) there is an epidemic of loneliness and even where people occupy the same space, they are not present to each other but texting and surfing – lost in their solitariness. Where we are all solitary observers and nothing is connected to anything anymore . . . A lie of the Prince of this world
Let us return to Jesus and the woman at the well – She is VEry different from Nicodemus – night – day. He comes as the expert – she is there for she has utterly Failed in life and everyone knows it. Nicodemus comes in fear – the woman is utterly vulnerable – and so Jesus can approach her ‘Give me a drink’
She is shocked – I am a nobody compared to you . . .
Jesus gently pursues her – ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” Jesus sees her thirst – she is has come for water – she who has no life is seeking life. Well as Nicodemus – you must be born -so the woman – but you have no bucket!! Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob??!! Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Go call your husband . . . Religious matters – I have no husband . . . and immediately Jesus responds you are telling the truth – for you have had five husbands and the one you have now is not your husband – what you have said is true. The Truth about the woman Jesus draws out of her – she is in the light. Proud Nicodemus of course in the dark – has no further part in the conversation
And so begins the conversation on worship – The Samaritans worship on Mt Gerizim – You Jews worship at the Temple . . . and Jesus tells her “the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Worship in Spirit and in Truth – Last week we reminded ourselves that this Gift of the Life that comes from God, the Life of the Spirit by which we are made his children through baptism – is GIFT. So we worship with the life that He has given to us – He is seeking those who offer that life back to him ‘in Spirit’
And worship in Truth – the woman in her vulnerability lays her life bare before Jesus. Thus she is healed, thus she receives life and thus if we read the story further – the whole community comes to life
She has nothing to lose, unlike Nicodemus who has much in terms of his respectability, his status as a teacher and more. This is why the gospel so readily takes root amongst those who’s public lives – who’s lives in the light are far from respectable. The woman at the well is truly poor in spirit – everyone knows it – that is why she must hide in the noon day sun
So she can receive the Spirit of Life – She is liberated as the truth about her is laid bare.
As we seek to grow into the fulness of our calling as the church – our lives must also be marked by such openness one to another. Walk in the light – these are the words of John the Evangelist. The community of faith is not one of moral respectability, it is one where who we are is brought into the healing light of Christ – where sins are forgiven. It is the life of the Spirit filled baptised children of God.
Formerly we have recognised the depth of the seriousness of our calling through three years of baptismal preparation – confession of sins – preparing our bodies to be vessels for the life of God – that forgiving everyone for everything is not second but our new nature – our first nature
But because we have failed to treat our vocation with any degree of seriousness, seen it as primarily about OUR salvation and not that of the whole world, the emphasis has switched and all that work which properly bleongs prior to Baptism, ends up as a curriculum with no date on it for completion after baptism. As I said last week – our problem is that we have forgotten who we are and our life together is in large part a shared amnesia – where we think nothing of not coming to worship – we think nothing of worship apart from the Sacramen. The spillage of this can be seen throughout creation. LIFE is known in the mutual Love of the believers – LIght ot the World. Rleaionships of Truth and Light, in the Spirit.
This Community of Light is the Vessel for the Life and Love of God into the world – we are called to be such vessels and as we gather for worship, in the presence of the One who Is Spirit and Truth – Christ is present in his body the church, offering the acceptable sacrifice to God the Father – so in the Sacrament, Christ is given back to the world for healing
How would we treat Sunday worship if we thought that through it the healing power of God flowed into the world?? Well it does
The Churches primary vocation is Worship and Prayer. It is why we exist. What we do here is of Ultimate significance – truly Heaven and Earth are woven together here for the sake of the whole world.
The Father is seeking – Jesus the good shepherd comes looking, for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth – for the sake of the whole world, and for his eternal glory.
One of the great gifts of my retreat was the disconnection from the internet – and yes I am not unaware of the irony of disclosing this on the internet, but bear with me 🙂
For many years now I’ve experienced what I can only describe as constant mental distractedness, fragmentation and stress, and my time away from the screen in addition to rich times of prayer and communion with the Ngatiawa Community saw this disappear for the first time for a long time. Returning home, feeling Well in a way I had never experienced, (And with people telling me how different I seemed and how well I looked) I noted that blogging, social media etc. just raised this sense of stressful distraction once more. Surfing, keeping an eye out for messages, following link after link of fascinating and ‘worthy’ posts just brought back that old dull pain in my forehead. [And thank you for your concern but my glasses prescription is fine 🙂 ]
I’d ceased to live from my heart. I realised that I was writing mechanically out of a knot of mental wires. My blogging had just become one more thing to do. It wasn’t life giving – it left me drained. Unwell
Doing some research bore out what I had thought, that using the internet was in effect rewiring me neurologically. To put not to fine a point on it, the very nature of the internet affects us fundamentally, at a physiological level. It is certainly not going too far to say that our consciousness becomes wired into the net through our engagement. Whether you like to think of this or not, I think it is demonstrably true. Along with a good number of others, I had lost the ability to concentrate especially when reading books. (not good news when one is preparing for long term serious study that will take all my powers of prayerful attention)
I used to love study but it had become increasingly difficult. In neurological terms I was addicted to changing tracks – following ‘interesting links’ one after another – with nothing driving the process except my appetite for mental stimulation, fed by regular dopamine shots as I followed one rabbit hole after another. Long Deep Reading had become impossible for me where once it was my joy to get lost in a book.
Beyond this, research has shown that our capacity for deep relationship is very limited. (That recurrent theme of depth) By so much engagement I am spreading myself far far thinner than that limit. As I have said many times – there is a world of difference between written text and the sound of a voice, with its pauses and colour – and that is before you think of communication which is embodied, those occasions when long silence can be profound gift. In the ‘virtual world’ of the internet – silence only gives cause for concern. James’ warning to be slow to speak is unobservable.
As a Priest I am as it were bi-vocational. I am called to be with God -to spend long hours in prayer – and to be with people with God. As my pattern is the Word made flesh – I too am called to be such a presence. And Called to be a presence Here. Despite the fervent protestations of its acolytes, such engagement is not possible in virtual reality. When we die, we don’t want lots of text messages – we want a hand, the sound of breath, touch, an eye to look into. And we should live as though dying, for we always are.
[The fact that anyone engages with any degree of seriousness in conversations about the possibility of Virtual Church makes me shiver in my very core. How can we have come to a point where we are so blind, so led astray by the Prince of this world??!]
I know that I came away from retreat Well a few weeks back, and rewired into the net, and that sense of wellness dissipated. If I take time out it returns. It was interesting to observe this – to test it . . . Once, a long time ago, I foolishly played with fire like this. I was testing my vocation. I noticed that when I asked God for a sign, I got it – if I didn’t, I didn’t. I began to enjoy this, until I saw the utter sinfulness of my behaviour. I sense God gave me great healing in and through that disconnection – enabling me to be present to the world and other people and indeed with him in a way I had known deep down I hadn’t been for a long time.
This isn’t an age when we can afford to play with fire. I know what the internet does to me – I know how it draws me away from Him and His presence in others. I know how it sucks me dry and spits me out.
I am saying that this is a particular weakness of mine. There may be others who can navigate these waters without harm. All I know is that I once thought that way – I have realised that I was wrong.
So – sermon postings aside, I’m disconnecting from this blog and other internet use, at least for the time being. There is a possibility that in the future I may again post articles on the blog, but they will be the product of the prayerful reflection that the internet has for now made impossible for me.
I’m not deleting my FB account, although I have had a mind to. Partly because it can be a means of keeping in touch with friends, but I think I will probably reduce my participation to FB messenger on my phone, which is always on silent and which I only check periodically.
[Re-reading this I find it dreadfully incoherent – another sign that it is time to ‘log off’ :-)]
This has not been an easy post to write – indeed it has been edited etc. many times over and still doesn’t really say what I want to, but perhaps there again as another reason to quit. But as I was just about to go to sleep I read the following in Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove’s excellent book ‘Stability’ a book which I’ve much enjoyed and learned much from – this really seemed to sum things up
“What we hardly ever want to admit is that we are limited creatures. Subject to the confines of time and space, we cannot be anywhere, anytime. As a matter of fact, we can only be in this place, now.”
I think for those of us wealthy enough to be able to read this, this is a huge challenge. We live in a world which seems to us to be of almost unlimited opportunities. So much so that we have largely lost touch with our 180lb frame of flesh and blood and often those around us. What Is it saying when people sit together and are wired apart? I admit it – I’m limited. Very limited. And that is no bad thing. It is a gift to be accepted.
And thereby we leave space for others: Proverbs 23:10; Luke 22:24-25
Whoever you are – if you have been following my posts, my prayer is that God will richly bless you, wired or unwired
Soon I shall return to where we left off – to consider the second disconnection my recent retreat offered me, disconnection from the Internet.
As we shall see, this was more than metaphor, and the gift of it was more than I could have imagned in terms of learning about myself and my relationship with God.
For now I share a little insight from the world of morticians told me by a good friend who is in the business.
When preparing a body for ‘viewing’ by family and friends, enbalmers take great care to notice those things that many of us would like to get rid of – signs of ‘aging’, wrinkles. But rather than calling them signs of aging, why not call them signs about our physical life.
This particular insight however is both an insight into physical life, and also our disconnection. Of using our bodies to escape from our surroundings. A New wrinkle has been identified. Not previously seen, below the chin at the top of the neck. It has been labelled ‘cell phone’ wrinkle. For it records the repetitive looking down at our cell phones.
We are our bodies – they even tell us when we are trying to escape them.
If you are anything like me, you absorb a lot of information. Threads such as this one are in some regards most unhelpful for us – for we never settle with one idea, one thought, one necessary thing. Journals become places for us where we put things in order to forget them (however well intentioned we are)
So let us pause
Look back at the past 16 days
What is the One thing necessary?
What is the one gift the Lent might have for you?
Has it got lost under many other thoughts and ideas?
If it is The Gift, then unsubscribe from this blog.