They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus.Luke 5:19
Today the reading at Morning Prayer was from Luke 5. I may have written about this before but I was struck by the people who cannot come near to Jesus “because of the crowd”. I wonder if the crowd here is not something like “Christendom”? Or, how often have I stopped people from seeing Jesus by being “religious”?
I have a tattoo that says, “the crowd is untruth”. Of course, it is from Kierkegaard’s “This Single Individual”. But I wonder, in the wider sense, if Kierkegaard is not making the same point as Luke? Sometimes the many can stop us from seeing Jesus clearly.
I have been reading The Cloud of Unknowing. And I wanted to share the prayer it starts with, which is also the Collect for Purity that starts the Anglican Eucharist:
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
After Communion yesterday I had this very strong sense that Jesus is saying to me:
I surrender justice and “being right” for love of you.
I had a sense of being called to share in the cross in a special way. Psychologically I can see where that sense originated – I have decided on a new life. But Jesus gives up everything, including any concept of justice, on the cross for love of me.
Or, of course, it could simply be the leftover wine that I drank!?
I have so many things happening in my head that I often find it very hard to put them in order. So I was somewhat confused (and happily amazed) when I read this:
All coming into existence occurs in freedom, not by way of necessity.Kierkegaard
A “new life” will not come without my choice made in freedom. No one is forcing me, circumstances do not set the agenda. And I think the moment has come for a choice. Without knowing the future and without allowing the past to slow me down. I know all of that but feeling it is a completely different thing.
BTW: the liturgical rites we have (baptism, communion, especially monastic vows) are a free choice for a new life.
The second requirement is that in order to see yourself in the mirror when you read God’s Word you must (so that you actually do come to see yourself in the mirror) remember to say to yourself incessantly: It is I to whom it is speaking; it is I about whom it is speaking.Kierkegaard
I have been following the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia. A little more like a spectator than a person who is involved. It is the community I call home but I am also somewhat distanced from it.
One of the things that struck me was the attempt to regulate how Scripture is read. Making statements about what Scripture does or does not say is difficult. But what worries me more is summed up in the quote above: Scripture is a mirror for me. I can take the Bible seriously without taking it literally. But above all else, it is always speaking to me and not to someone else.
And, morality is not a relationship with Jesus – the absolute telos and all that!?
No human being, with the exception of Christ, is the truth.Practice in Christianity, 204
I have been struck by how the modern person thinks they can inhabit truth – they can internalise it and make it their own. But the truth – as Jesus is – must always be witnessed as something outside of us. I never have the truth but can only point to it.
An afterthought: that does not mean that I must not be completely committed to that truth. And there is a sense that it must become “my truth” but only in the sense that I am resolved to put it into action.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Romans 12:1 (NLT)
I have been thinking about the word “sacrifice”. It carries baggage within theological circles – it is often connected to “death”. But what if we define it as a surrender of a lesser good for a greater good? So, in other words, define it in terms of “love” rather than “death”.
So the above, which I have always found a very interesting verse to ponder, would become something like:
Let your bodies be a living and holy surrender of love to God.
But I am no theologian!!!
There is a Matt Maher song that says, “And forever and ever His heart is my home”. I have always liked that image: Jesus’ heart is my home! Maybe that is a form of the sacred heart?! Maybe it is simply me!?
I found this image today that reminded me and I thought I would share:
I have vivid dreams. When I wake I am never sure if it was a dream or something that really happened. Sometimes that confusion can last for a couple of days and I have to remind myself that it was not real but a dream.
I have often wondered about the meaning of these dreams. Are they signs from the Holy Spirit? Or simply a physical reaction to chemicals in my brain?
Well, I am not the only person who has wondered about the topic! I have been reading Richard Rolle’s The Form of Living. It is less rule than a guide to anchorite ascetics. Rolle discusses dreams – “our enemy will not allow us to relax when we are asleep”. Yes, sometimes they are from God but often they are simply neurotransmitters firing in your brain.
Maybe it is living basically alone that means I have vivid dreams? Or maybe it is the way that God has made me? But I have found Rolle helpful – move on and trust Jesus.