desert day?

Last night’s Bible Study went really well – I felt in the groove and it all worked pretty well for once. It came together very last minute. But, as if to punish me for enjoying myself, my brain turned on me. I dreamt of my past life – my favourite nightmare – and I woke really sad. It was an extremely emotional dream that was very vivid and intensely personal.

When I woke from the nightmare, I prayed. I find the silent moments of the night or early morning great times to pray. And praying with tears has become somewhat of a pattern for me. I know I need to stop telling God what to do. I need to simply be open to Him and let Him do all the controlling. I am very much at a cross-roads and not sure what to do with life.

I have survived two weeks that have been very stressful and emotional. I admit that I am surprised at myself for facing these challenges without going to pieces and without descending into darkness. I am think of rewarding myself for surviving but that, too, is causing me some anxiety. (I have lived so many years with a negative image of myself that I do not think I deserve any reward and I should be happy with what I have.)

So … I am not sure what I will do today. I think I will have a “desert day” – a “somewhat” silent retreat at home. Drink mint tea and read a book. It looks like there might be some sun out today so I could sit outside. I think I need a day of “no-thing” – a personal day with the Person.

I pray you have a Jesus filled day!

Existentialism explained

I love The Sopranos. It is just written really well and is just real. So I wanted to share this clip from season 2, D-Girl. Be warned: it includes explicit content!

This video always makes me laugh. The episode also mentions Kierkegaard.

Pentecost gospel

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

John has been the gospel for this Easter season. And it is the gospel reading for the Day of Pentecost, Whitsunday, the Solemnity of Pentecost. Traditionally it is the day when the church remembers the descend of the Holy Spirit on the disciples. It is a day to think, meditate, reflect on the work of the Holy Spirit.

I think the Holy Spirit is a very difficult topic. Our experience of the Holy Spirit is always so much more than any text could describe. And our experience is always very personal, very intimate.

So just one point from the above: “when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin … about sin, because they do not believe in me”. Sin is much more than an action – it is “not believing in Jesus”. Sin is a broken relationship. The actions follow the broken relationship. But stopping the actions does not fix the relationship. Only faith in Jesus will restore me to a living relationship with the Father. And the point is that the Holy Spirit grants us the gift of faith and there is nothing more needed.

Faith is the highest passion in a human being. There are perhaps many in every generation who do not even come to it, but nobody goes further.

Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy), 108.

why are you here?

Yesterday, at church, our vicar asked a number of questions during the sermon. And, unlike more traditional one-way sermons, we got to answer. One of the questions was, “why are you here?”.

I have been thinking about that question. And the answers that people gave. Sometimes, I think, we confuse the “sign” with the “object that it is pointing to”. Or, in Thomas Merton’s language, “we look at the finger and miss the moon”. We argue about liturgy and hymns, about buildings. Yet in the end these are not what Christianity is about. Christianity is not a moral code that I must follow to be accepted by God. Experience shows me that there is an unbridgeable gap between God and me. Only in God’s action of love can that gap be bridged. So only in God’s action towards me can I have a relationship with Him.

So, why am I here (at church)? Because of Jesus. And only Jesus. I like the more traditional signs – liturgy, vestments, buildings – but only Jesus saves. Only in Jesus is life. Only in Jesus is hope. All the others have just signs to the reality that God has reached out to me in the man Jesus. I meet and experience Jesus in a particular way in the community that is gather in His name. He speaks to me and meets me personally. But in the end it is all about Him and Him alone.

Anyway …

rituals

My Sunday morning ritual includes getting a cup of tea on the way to church. I have switched to herbal tea so mint or peppermint are my favourite.

Today we are watching The Chosen after church. I am looking forward to seeing it again and on the big screen. I pray that it will be bonding experience for the parish – gathered around Jesus!

I pray you have a Jesus filled Sunday!!!

prayer and self-knowledge

I have a nice day ahead. I am seeing my counsellor and meeting family.

I am a little anxious about the family meet-up but with prayer and self-knowledge I think it will be very nice. The insights I have gained over the last three month make a major difference in my day-to-day life. They give context, background, depth. I have the experience of living through it and coming out the other side.

And I have learned to pray! I have prayed all my life but only recently have I prayed. I have stopped telling God what to do and am simply open to God. I have stopped escaping into form or ritual and have simply used silence and solitude. The moment of silence is worth more than hours of chanted liturgy.

So I face today with prayer and self-knowledge.