Tag Archive | Word of God

Is the remains of your prayer life, lying there like a discarded nest?

like a discarded nest

like a discarded nest

Sometimes I talk to people and they describe the remains of a prayer life, like a discarded nest.

Spring is a good time though to start the process of rebuilding a prayer life again. We can take our lessons from the nest-builders.

The most difficult thing in prayer and mindfulness is a daily practice. It is also the most important thing. You have to gather the stuff of a nest, and the stuff of prayer consistently and regularly.

Just as with the birds the stuff we need is all around. In our prayer times God interweaves his Word with all that we bring into a place that we can begin to find, home in on, like a nest. It becomes a home.

Just as the birds find the stuff they need from the environment around, so can we. Time spent in nature, letting the grass whisper of the Creator, as embodied contemplation, adds to the nest. The flight of silence and solitude where we attentively look and listen for the footprints of the Invisible God who is already there with us. The encouragement of others we see flying in the sky, also looking to build a nest of prayer.

The building of a nest and the life of prayer require stability, the returning to one place, from which we can fly. In that place, just like the birds, we can nurture new life, that will grow wings of its own. Like the birds we also need to migrate, to find a place to retreat to. For me over the last 10 years that has been Worth Abbey.

Perhaps each year, like the birds, we need to re-examine the nest, and start the process of building a new one. Automaticity in prayer and life can be the thing that leads us to discard the nest prematurely, and not try to build again.

Building again asks us to hope again, to not give up, to become resilient in our prayer life. In our prayer life our ordinary, embodied and relational life is transformed, as we meditatively consider His Word, the work of His hands…

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The dissolution of the moralities #moral memory

The dissolution of the moralities #moral memory

 

Click on the link above to go to a Baptist Times Online article I have just written on how we acquire moral memory as Christians. If we want to create a real community which shares Christ, Christlikeness, hospitality, service and attentiveness to the Other then we need moral memory.

the mystery of mindfulness part 3

Sometimes we need to focus on the riddles and mysterious statements Jesus makes, staying with just the one or two verses of that riddling.

For example what does Jesus mean when he says this in Mark 4:21-24?

He said to them, ‘Do you bring a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

‘Consider carefully [see] what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.’

A clue is that this has to be considered in the context of the rest of Mark 4. Two key questions are: what is the lamp, and what is being measured?

 Jesus was a riddler. And wrestling with riddles sparks new neural pathways in our neuroplastic brains.

So what does Jesus mean when he says this in Mark 4:21-24?

He said to them, ‘Do you bring a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

‘Consider carefully [see] what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.’

In the context of Mark 4 which is about the seed and the sower, with the seed being the Word of God, the lamp is also the Word of God. The echo is of Psalm 119:105,  ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ But what is being measured? And what will be received? The clue is in what the good soil represents in the parable of the seed and the sower. And the answer is worth waiting for. The answer makes Jesus a major contemporary player in a key cultural phenomenon.

The good soil is the attentive listener the one who attentively hears the Word of God. Another aspect of Mark chapter 4 is the hidden nature of God’s revelation, which also requires us to be attentive. Jesus begins the parable of the sower, with the imperative, ‘Listen!’ He ends it with ‘He who has ears to hear let him hear.’

He repeats this with a variation in verse 23, ‘If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’ This is followed up so that we get the point about being attentive hearers with ‘Consider carefully what you hear, in verse 24. Literally he says ‘see what you hear.’ Akouein in verse 23 is apparently a present imperative which means a continuous turning to God’s Word in attentive hearing.

What are we listening for? We are listening for God’s revelation. What Jesus is saying is that the more attentive we are the more revelation we will receive. With the measure you use (of attentiveness) it (revelation) will be measured to you (v.24).

 The sad thing is that we don’t value this attentive listening (a Christian version of mindfulness) to the Word of God in a continuous way. Of course we have to ask, ‘how do we do it?’, and that is another matter. Jesus is the master and commander of attention and we should listen attentively to him.

 

Mindful of mystery part 2

Jesus was a riddler. And wrestling with riddles sparks new neural pathways in our neuroplastic brains. I dare you to wrestle with this one.

What does Jesus mean when he says this in Mark 4:21-24?

He said to them, ‘Do you bring a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

‘Consider carefully [see] what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.’

In the context of Mark 4 which is about the seed and the sower, with the seed being the Word of God, the lamp is also the Word of God. The echo is of Psalm 119:105,  ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ But what is being measured? And what will be received? The clue is in what the good soil represents in the parable of the seed and the sower. And the answer is worth waiting for. The answer makes Jesus a major contemporary player in a key cultural phenomenon.