For whatever reason my lung problem made itself more known recently. However, if I never had this problem in the first place, there is so much of the love of God I would never have discovered.
I read a phrase today in a book that reminded me of that truth when I was somewhat alarmed at how I felt physically, yesterday: “There, away from their ordinary and proper place, they discovered life anew.” That is my testimony of the last 4 years. It was not an easy transition, as what for so long had been my “ordinary and proper place” was shifted from beneath my feet, but I thank God for the transitioning. I hope that may bring hope to those of you for whom all that is “ordinary and proper” seems to be shifting. May you know the presence of the Lord who, as Henri Nouwen points out, left his ordinary and proper place in heaven to come and be with us.
(Philippians 2, where we read of God moving from his right and proper place in order to be in the right and proper place is a good passage of Scripture to meditate on if you are in a time of “shifting” right now.)
When we share our spiritual life and experiences (especially any unusual or spectacular and dramatic elements) does it bring us into a fellowship of solidarity and compassion with others and their ordinary human struggles, or does it set us apart as an object of admiration or fascination? When we become an object of interest and attention something has gone wrong either with what we are sharing or how we are sharing it. We have swallowed hook, line and sinker the values of the X factor world, wanting to be the Star in the life and mission of the Church rather than its servant. The essence of the religious spirit is not to do with tradition or rules, rituals or requirements, but a Pharasaic underlying message, “I thank you God that I am not like all other men and women.” When the religious spirit is present, “Competition” reigns rather than “Compassion.”
Here is the paradox: genuine experiences of the Spirit of God, true gifts of the Holy Spirit can get in God’s way in our hands. We can obscure His compassion, His being close to people and with people in their need. See if you can get out of God’s way today as you live true to all He has made you and to all He has given you and to all He has done for you in Christ.
A sermon from this morning on Psalm 40: 1. “Waiting Patiently.” Two words that don’t sit easily together with me! What about you?