Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Name and a waiting...

A candle of the Lord is the soul of man, but the soul can become a holocaust, a fury, a rage. The only cure is to discover that, over and above the anonymous stillness in the world, there is a Name and a waiting. Many people suffer from a fear of the self. They do not feel at home in their own selves. The inner life is a place of dereliction, a no-man's-land, inconsolate, weird. The self has become a place from which to flee.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, with thanks to  inward/outward
Faithfulness is consecration in overalls. It is the steady acceptance and performance of the common duty and immediate task without any reference to personal preferences--because it is there to be done, and so is a manifestation of the Will of God... The fruits of the Spirit get less and less showy as we go on. Faithfulness means continuing quietly with the job we have been given, in the situation where we have been placed; not yielding to the restless desire for change. It means tending the lamp quietly for God without wondering how much longer it has got to go on. Steady, unsensational driving, taking good care of the car. A lot of the road to heaven has to be taken at 30 miles per hour.

Evelyn Underhill, The Fruits of the Spirit.
People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works.

Meister Eckhart, with thanks to  inward/outward

Sorry for the silence since Connect 2010. I've been trying to make sense of my own feelings. Nearly a week of being so close with my sisters and brothers in Christ, of worship and prayer and talking, of just being church, is not easy to put into words. It might sound trite to some to call it a glimpse of Heaven, of the Kingdom to which our Lord is betrothed, but honestly that's how it was.

Things are not going to be the same, even if there is not another Connect in next or subsequent years, even if those who were there try to forget what they saw, and heard, and felt. The Church (deliberate big 'C') in the Isle of Purbeck knows now, very practically and simply, that it is one, that our different ways of doing things, our different comfort zones in worship and in the minor application of doctrine, are pretty irrelevant beside the great love our Lord has put into our hearts one for another...

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

We are in a state of waiting. The Kingdom is here,  and yet it has not yet come. (Mark 1:15; Luke 11:2; 11:20; 12:31) And yet we are not alone, far from it. Our waiting lives within the Name of Jesus; all we are is in his wounded hands. What shall we fear? (Romans 8:28-39)

Tomorrow, I'm off to Hilfield Friary, for the Caring for Creation in a World of Crisis weekend. More when I get back, I hope...

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