You really shouldn’t be encouraging me by reading this blog. I have stuff to do! A treatment to write for real money. You know, Her Majesty’s pounds sterling, dough, brass, bread, wonga. Come onnnn Luce, remember the bills.
And even forgetting the bills, there’s food to be made for a youth event tomorrow, lunch to be made for a sick pal, and the floor could do with a damn good vacuuming, and there are flowers to be thrown out and others need their water changed (fading remnants of birthday delight), there’s notes to write up on last week’s meeting (before I forget that there even was a meeting) and the car needs petrol and my desk looks like the inside of my head – full of unfinished jobs… and … and…. I’d quite like to sneak a look at Skype and see if Em and Beth are online….. or should I have another cup of coffee and look up that quote I heard yesterday from 1Timothy? Or was it 2Timothy? It was something about love. It was either something that’s never ‘hit’ me before, or it was a known thought in a new translation… what was it?
There. That was another two minutes wasted as I went to the church website and looked for yesterday’s sermon, which is not yet uploaded.
And that’s the way my morning dwindles away. Aren’t you glad you don’t live in my skull?
But here’s a thought that might be worth passing on. It might not be, but on the off-chance:
When I woke this morning, it was still dark. Velvet dark and silent. I thought about a sermon I heard yesterday, about love, and the teaching was that if the Bible could be described in one word, it would be ‘love’. There were many new thoughts for me in that sermon, a feast of fresh revelations, wonders. It’s not often a gnarled old cold-hearted trout like me is moved to tears by truths, but I was. There in the uncomfortable pew (did Victorians have tiny short legs?) a bubble of wonderment. And afterwards, how I resented having to step back into the noise and clatter of church! I just wanted to be OUTTA THERE! Out of there with my new wonder, hugging these spanking brand-new concepts to myself. But I’d been asked to stay behind for admin type stuff, so I was trapped by people in front and people behind, people chatting, laughing, calling, tea trays wending through the crowd, backs turned, faces smiling, questions, questions, questions. My bubble. Where was my bubble? Well and truly burst.
I found the bubble again, in the dark, this morning. The message of that sermon was essentially (for me) that we have always been loved by God. Before time. Eternity has loved us. Where there is no beginning and no ending, we are loved. We are loved not because of ourselves but because God is love.
Some people have the gift of taking something we already know, already accept, and they are able to come at it sideways… a new angle, a fresh perspective, giving it to us again, afresh, and our hearts leap, leap, leap! The gift of words, when the gift comes from God, feeds the soul. I think of old Willie Shakespeare’s line ‘Stiffen the sinews, summon the blood.’ That’s what words can do. If we hear them, really hear them, harken to them, if we are teachable and submitted to them, the words of God fill us with courage and love and resolve. They feed our inner core, our essence, our ‘us’.
This morning, I looked out at the endless sky, from the cosiness of my bed, and I was aware, really aware of God’s love. His love all around me. I looked at my clock, 5.40, and I thought of friends in South Africa, two hours into their morning, already praying or having prayed. I thought of friends here, soon to waken and to pray. I prayed for them as I knew they would soon pray for me. And in that moment I had a sense of the completeness, the perfection, of Christ in us. The truth that Christ really really is in us. As real as real can be. His love in us, spilling out, His love lavished on us so that we cannot help but lavish it on others. His perfect provision for all we need, emotionally, spiritually.
And that word ‘love’, don’t let it fool you. Love is not a cosy, sleepy, comfortable thing. It’s fierce and real, it holds us to account, draws us on, knocks us down, picks us up, it encourages, heals, and it never turns away . Always, always, love is for us, not against us (that was last week’s sermon…. see how we are nurtured?)
In this silent morning I remembered the host in the Roman Catholic Church, the belief that this piece of compressed and factory made ‘bread’ is truly the transubstantiated body of Christ. Forgive me, my Catholic friends, but whether I hold to that or not, there is a greater truth that wipes out all our religious dogma, all our rituals; Christ is indeed present, but He is present in us. That’s how much He loves us. He died in order that He could be in us, now.
Silence. Selah. Pause and think.
Wow. I am flabbergasted by God. Never has my flabber been so gasted.
Jesus Christ is alive in us. His love is so real, so present, so eternal, that we become His love. There is no real tense in the English language that says what I need to say: we are loved from beyond eternity and we will be loved beyond eternity and we are loved in this eternity, without time. God is love and when we are transformed, by Him, we will be His love.
Flip me. That’s still not what I want to say but it’s as near as I can get.
Now, now, with a sigh of contentment, I can make a coffee and settle down to the treatment that I need to write, to the vacuuming I need to do, the desk I need to tidy.
The important thing is done. This blog. It’s all a matter of priorities.