Today, for reasons that would take up too much blog space, I found myself thinking of the concept of “yearning.” I was thinking of places or experiences or whatever that I yearn to visit again. I got a very great surprise as I did. I thought I would yearn for a repeat of my conversion experience, or of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, or the time I felt kissed by the Father’s love in the days of the Toronto Blessing , or of one of the times when I have experienced a miracle such as transportation. However, strangely enough I did not find I yearned for any of these things. They happened, they are real, and I thank God it is so. However strange this may sound, let me tell you what I yearned to revisit.
The first place I found myself yearning to revisit is a mountain pool somewhere in Bavaria. We stumbled on it during a school trip. I probably could never find it again, but today I found myself yearning after it. There was something about it: it was ice cold and refreshing both to drink and to swim in; the clarity was almost mystical; it was somehow clearer than air, with a shimmering beauty. The colour, well I cannot describe it, but I have never seen a jewel more beautiful, alluring or captivating. I really wish I could describe it to you.
The second experience I found myself yearning for, was when I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room a good few months back. I was feeling incredibly vulnerable, perhaps never more so in my whole life to date. However, the presence of Christ came. I was touched with the gentlest of loves. He did not come to rebuke lack of faith and tell me I should not be anxious, as I was trying to tell myself in angry frustration. He came to do something about my anxiety. He met me with a love that would not break a bruised reed.
I was thinking about the link between these two experiences. I think the link is “beauty.” The prophetic hope offered in Isaiah is that we “shall see the King in His beauty.” I have always known that beauty ministers to my soul. I think of my friend Sylvia and her beautiful home where the CLAN team used to meet. There was something about the house itself, something too about its setting and the beauty of many of the objects in that house that ministered to me as did Sylvia and her amazing gift of hospitality. But the beauty somehow mattered…
Are you giving enough time to contemplate beautiful things? C.S. Lewis once said that we must not allow the devil to hold joy to ransom. Sometimes it is easy in the world such as we know it is, to feel it is wrong to laugh, or to be happy, wrong or even escapism to think about beautiful things in a world where there is much ugliness and brutality and injustice. Sometimes modern versions of Christianity can make us feel that if something does not help to minister to injustice or solve some need in the world it is illegitimate. This sounds convincing but it suffers from inadequacy as do most politically correct statements.. We know from the bible that Jesus was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, but according to Hebrews Chapter 1 He is also anointed with the oil of gladness beyond anyone else in the universe. If our Christianity is simply turned into a “how to” for solving the world’s problems we have really gone down a wrong road. Some versions of Christianity remind me of an Orkney farmer in his 80’s who lived on the island of Stronsay which along with the neighbouring island of Eday was my first charge. Some incoming people had set up a water-skiing club. I asked him if he was going to try the water skiing? He was pensive for a moment and then he said, “No, I don’t think so. I never saw the use for it!” If Christianity has become only something that has merit because of its usefulness then we have lesser spirituality than the bible encourages us towards.
Let me place these words of Paul before you. You could never accuse him of being so heavenly minded he was no earthly use. Actually I have hardly ever met this specimen of Christian. I think the problem is that more often we are so earthly minded we are no use for heavenly purposes here on earth. Think about these words; they may help you to live better and sleep more peacefully.There is a lot of talk these days about the Apostolic. Well, most of it I think has no backing in Scripture. It is not I doubt that the gift of the Apostle is a real one for today’s church. I just don’t think that many who say they have that gift really have, according to my understanding of the Bible. The gift of spiritual entrepreneurship is not the gift of Apostleship, though it is often presented as such. This is wrong teaching I believe, tthough often it comes from good people and is well meant… but that is for another day! But I do know Paul was an Apostle and hopefully, whoever you may think is or is not an Apostle today, you believe Paul’s Apostolic Authority is still in place for us all as followers of Christ. Whatever church or gathering you are part of, it would do us all good to listen to these words:
Philippians 4:8King James Version (KJV)
“ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things…”
God bess you with his beautiful love.
PS – I would commend to you again the Concept of Christian Mindfulness which is relevant in the light of this blog.
I am finding this so helpful myself.
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