TIME AND TIME AGAIN THIS LENT I’ve come across some wonderful people who’ve told me of the strong sense of invitation they’ve received from God. Invitation to a new quietness and time for reflection. Invitation to a new sort of “loving as (God) loves”. And I delight in engaging with people who, in the very midst of “being healed” in the wilderness are nonetheless, just like me, forever planning the exit route. Forever planning the next reason to avoid just being.
And I delight in these encounters because we can encourage each other, you see. The more of us who recognise the call to “be led by the Spirit into the wilderness” – to “be led into times of contemplation, reflection, self-examination, a facing up to our own demons” the more of us will experience healing Life. Over 50 people entered into that kind of quietness with me yesterday. Right here in midweek Lenten Pause in St Michael’s, Bramhall.
This “wilderness”, this place “not interfered with by human hands” is the very home of prayer. This is the place of direct encounter with God. This is where we meet Life “in all its fullness”. This is where we encounter the ladder between “heaven” and “earth” and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. Or within it.
And experience of this Life, this Divine Life, makes us more willing instruments of it … makes of learners in God’s Kingdom, makes of disciples (from the Latin word for “to learn”) what has been called “the Body of Christ” … or to widen the language circle – wider still and wider – a body of “Anointed” people. (Christos = “anointed”). So what Mary, see below, calls “a basic Christian”, is what all of us are called to be. Mary’s right. It does all boil down to loving God and loving other people (together with all created things).
How do we get to the “heart of the matter”? Well, by following the example of Jesus, and just about every great spiritual teacher that ever lived: we start, like them, by “going into the wilderness”. Whether we understand it in the church-type language or not, we start by entering into Lent. And the word Lent, of course, originally spoke of the “lengthening” of the days. The Spring event. Wilderness lengthens our view of God’s world. Lent stretches us.
I’m a basic Christian. For me it boils down to loving God and loving other people. Whenever I talk about God at church or with family, friends or in the community I always talk about his love. Recently I was leading prayers at the day centre and my prayer included a confession that we have failed to love God properly – and failed to love other people. I’ve been thinking about this since then, and it is the reason I’m entering into Lent. I want to love better. When I became a Christian my prayer was “Teach me to love as you love.” I’m a very very long way from getting close to that.
Six days into Lent I think I am learning some stuff. I am learning how very weak I am and that I can’t sort this out for myself. Rather than asking for God to give me strength I am asking him to come into my weakness. I am telling him all my feelings all the time and not running away when things are painful. He has given me an amazing amount of calm and healing and has helped me to where I am now, despite me wanting to follow the signpost pointing out of Lent and back to the World of Mary. Even as he is with me healing my wounds I am looking for the exit.
via All Now Mysterious.
The whole of Mary’s LENT post is worth a good long read … maybe with a cuppa close at hand, maybe with a lighted candle nearby, or in the company of someone else engaged in silent prayer, any of which might help keep your attention focused in the one place, just for a while.
Thanks Mary …