From Mike Yaconelli’s Messy Spirituality:
Rest is the ultimate humiliation, because in order to rest we must admit we are not necessary, that the world can get along without us, that God’s work does not depend on us. Once we understand how unnecessary we are, only then might we find the right reasons to say yes. Only then might we find the right reasons to decide to be with Jesus instead of working for him.
I like to work. I like to *do* things. But sometimes I forget that the most important thing I can do is absolutely nothing. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I am not a machine.
I love this quote, because it reminds me that I don’t keep the world spinning. If I’m honest with myself, I realize that the splash I make in the pond of life isn’t really even that huge. It’s always the ripple effects that create the most impact. But have you ever noticed that it’s not necessarily the strength or the speed of the throw that creates the ripples? It’s a million different factors, including the angle, the gravitational pull, the stillness of the water.
If the water is raging and tossing, the ripple effect is negligible. It’s just one tiny bump in a sea of frothy madness. But if the water is still, a pebble can create an effect that goes on for ages.
Too often, I act as though the force of my throw will increase the ripple more than the stillness of the water. I allow my soul, my heart, my spirit to rage and toss – and when the Divine tosses anything good into that water, it goes wild, not really making any impact at all.
But when I rest…when I quiet myself down, and really pause in the midst of life to remember that it is the state of my heart that matters as much as the actions that create motion…those are the moments when the smallest stone will cause effects I could never dream of.
I’m not responsible for the world. I’m responsible for me.
And when I’ve been busy, when I’ve been running crazy, these are the times when the Divine calls to me, celebrating my work; but also inviting me back into the Divine presence and rest. So, I think I’ll enter into it for a while, and allow myself to find peace, restoration, and fresh life.
Mark 6:30-31 (NIV)
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Hebrews 4:9-11a (NIV)
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.
(Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.)Read More
I’m taking a deep breath today.
It was Ash Wednesday.
I didn’t go anywhere special to have ashes painted on my forehead, though I respect and admire those who do. But I did have a remarkably spiritual morning.
It was sweetness and light and mystery and joy. From a place of tenderness I’ve never really known. And it drew me once again into the place of peace. The place of knowing. The place where things are reflecting ever-increasing glory.
I read a different translation yesterday of Isaiah 40:3-5. It moved a comma, and indicated that we’re preparing a way for the Lord *in* the wilderness, not shouting *in* the wilderness.
In the past, I would have always seen: “A voice cries out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way’”. I’m sure that there’s some interpretation going on there, as well, thinking of the New Testament prophet John the Baptist. This particular translation, however, struck me deeply.
This is what Lent feels like to me. There are so many interpretations of what Lent is about. Fasting, praying, giving things up. But it’s about being in the wilderness. And that’s where I have been dwelling recently. A speaker that I listen to says that the wilderness is the place that Jesus brings you when He’s most pleased with you. It’s His secret place, His treasured place. It’s the place where you become even more the glorious person that He has destined you to be.Read More
There’s a chill in the air tonight. The north wind is blowing. It streams down across the harbour and rattles the wind chimes on the neighbour’s balcony. The thin strand of a leafy vine trails down from above, swirling in the air. The sounds on a night like tonight leave me homesick. Not for a place, but for a time. A time when I held Hershey’s chocolate syrup in one hand, a glass in the other. My mum or dad would help me pour the syrup into the glass, one finger, two fingers. Then, the addition of ice-cold milk. As it hit the chocolate, it would dislocate small strands that would slide up along the inside of the glass. Then, teaspoon in hand, we would stir together, scraping the spoon along the sides to catch every last bit of the darkness. It would swirl into a sweet, chocolate treat. Every time it rained.
I’m older now. And the wind is howling. The rain streams past the orange globes of light that illuminate the plate-glass wall of my living room. The wind means that the rain doesn’t fall down, but flurries against the light, like tiny insects striving to be free. The wind traps them. I hold a glass of wine instead of chocolate milk.
And I long for a different time.
A time when chocolate milk was enough.Read More
A different translation of this text highlights a particular passage in this chapter by formatting. It’s a passage that the ancient scribe quotes from an even more ancient prophet named Micah. The passage in Micah is actually a bit harsher than the one that Matthew gives. In Micah, the prophet indicates that there is a “rising up against” or actually “despising” or “defying” going on. “Neighborhoods and families are falling to pieces. The closer they are—sons, daughters, in-laws—the worse they can be. Your own family is the enemy…”*
I’ve seen what happens when families fall to pieces. The verse isn’t just about families falling apart. It’s about the call and the cost of discipleship.
Jesus has sent out his twelve apprentices to minister to people. This is part of their commission. Jesus makes it clear that it is no longer simply family relationships that define our identity when we choose to follow the call to Light and Love. It seems that he’s saying, “your first call is to me, not your family. Let go of your creature comforts in order to experience the truly unconditional love of Your Divine Parent in Heaven.”
Jesus tells his followers to speak out into the daylight those things that were revealed in hiddenness. The Spirit saying that things have been revealed to the disciples in the quiet places – their personal revelations – and they are now to go out and shout them from the rooftops. I don’t know about you, but my private times with the Divine have normally been precisely that – private. I may journal about them on my own, but “blogging” them places me in complete vulnerability. I have a really beautiful journal full of hand-written prayers and revelations. To bring them out of the hidden places into the glow of my computer monitor is a bit nerve-wracking. What if people think less of me? What if some of what I say leads people to believe that I’m a bit mental? What if they think I’m wrong? What if they stop being my friend because of what they read? And what if this makes my family angry?