The lections for today include 1 Corinthians 2:1-12, a passage that challenges us to become aware of ourselves in light of the spirit of God that is within us. I doubt whether many people going about in their daily lives think about the spirit of the Holy One abiding within. For most of us our days are spent serving the spirit of the world that requires work, budgets, administration, status, taxes. I wonder how often we pause in our day to be in touch with the spirit of God within us. Do you think it would change what we do or how we do it? I am conscious that when I pause for a contemplative moment, when i say to myself, “Be still in God’s presence,” it helps me,
However, learning to take time to experience the Presence is only one part of the discipline. The other part is considering what aspect of God us defining our inner life at any time. Is our internal God scolding or judgement? Is our God compassionate and healing? Is our God full of passion for justice? Is our God distant and mysterious?
At a wedding last night, I listened to friends saying their personally composed vows to each other. They were beautiful and carefully crafted, but I did wonder if the promises they made to each other were as much expectations of each other as commitments to behaviour.
I often think that about God. One of the priests of my childhood contended that we were always recreating God in our own image. So how do we achieve divine input when our own voice echoes so loudly in our brains? I am going to challenge you to think about three stories from the bible that you keep tucked away in your memory. Do these messages define you or do they cause you to consider new ideas or ways of being? When I was very young, we used to sing the first hymn in the book, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.” I was captured by the magnificent splendour of those images of God and they fed my imagination. After a summer spent on Miss Hasell’s caravan mission, the story of Jesus chastising the rich became a mantra for a while and I modelled myself on the truth-telling, confrontational image that I heard in that. People who knew me then called me fierce. I have since had to spend time thinking about Jesus the compassionate healer who forgives even those who hurt him, who listens to people’s true stories.
Learning about the spirit within is a process. Like everything else in creation, it is a spiral, circling around like the satellites that circle the planets, offering new pictures and discoveries each time. We will never be done. I have often said to people who can no longer be out and about in the world, that, like Mary, they have the better part because they can tune in to the music of the spheres, they have time to be still and know God; they can pray for the rest of the rushing, clamouring world. And from their internal peace, they create waves of spiritual peace for the rest of us.
If, as people of faith we want to be like a city set on a hill, offering shelter and safety, compassion and solidarity, healing and forgiveness, then we have to think how each of our lamps are fuelled. So, after you think about the stories I asked you about earlier, think now about how you can add to your spiritual library of images. When you are still, how will you know God this week?