Lenten Contemplation

In response~~~Day 3

EBM Reflection

Mark is not one for flowery language and nonessential phrases. His whole writing is full of action moving continually from one place to another. In this passage Jesus preaches, drives out a demon, heals Peter’s mother-in-law and a guy with leprosy along with many people who were brought to him or came themselves.

In the midst of all this activity Jesus took himself off, to pray, to somewhere solitary early in the morning before first light. Jesus did this often, flurries of activity and then quiet time.

So what can we, in this time of Lent, learn from this pattern?

For me Lent is a time to spend more time in quiet contemplation, a time of heart and faith checks, a time of sharing and accountability, a time of being close to the Lord. Flurries of writing activity and family chores and then taking myself off to be alone with the Lord. It refreshes and revitalises, it focuses my thoughts and heart, it is a special time.

Each year I intend to continue in this vein but so often fall short.

Father God,

just as I am, I can come to You no other way. Search me O Lord and convict me of what I need to change, challenge my thinking when it gets skewed and Lord thank you for the encouragement you give me, You give me courage and strength to share Your gospel. Thank You Lord for the changes already wrought in my life and I look forward to Your next surprise. Amen

In response~~~day 2

EBM ReflectionDay 2

The baptism of Jesus shows us his willingness to enter into our lives in the rituals and ceremonies that we have created and then just blow our mind.

To an onlooker this young man came to the guy in the desert – the weird one with the wacky diet and went into the river just like they did and had the dunk. But what happened next was amazing.

Heaven was torn open – think like a caesarean that rips open the womb. When we are baptised by the Holy Spirit there are birth pains as we become new. For Jesus >>>

Heaven was torn open.

Just think what that looked like >>> was it like a flash of lightening? was it like the night sky visible in a slit in the day time sky? what was it like?

If this were now, it would be recorded on at least one phone, a satellite feed sending it round the world in seconds. It would be emblazoned on the 24 hour news all through the next few days. Scientists would have an opinion, environmentalists would have an opinion, dogs on the street would have an opinion.

How did this news not do the rounds in Galilee?

We can think of heaven as a far off place and pontificate about the thin places. But the thin places are in our ordinary. They are not just in some quaint valley with an abbey. Thin places can be found doing the messages, chatting to a neighbour, turning a corner on a wee boreen.

This places are where heaven and earth almost touch, but heaven is just a breath away.

There is no long commute to encounter heaven. It is in our ordinary. It is in our “normal” life.

We just have to seek it.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.

Charles Wesley wrote in his hymn:

Three uncompounded Persons One,
One undivided God proclaim:
In essence, nature, substance one,
Through all eternity the same.
Angels and archangels all
Praise the mystic Three in One,
Sing, and stop, and gaze, and fall
O’erwhelmed before thy throne.

In the baptism of Jesus not only is heaven rent, but the three of the trinity are in one accord and together. It was an astonishing scene and people possibly had trouble reconciling what they witnessed with what their mind was telling them was possible.

When Jesus got baptised, the “rulebook” was thrown out of the window with the bath water. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit had a moment. A checking in moment. An encouraging moment. A challenging moment.

We can have those moments too if we just centre our lives on God and live in the present, the thin places are there to be sought, in the ordinary mess of life.

Father God,

I thank you for this time of contemplation and reflection, as I look to the torture of the Cross of the friday and the glorious empty tomb of the sunday, today I am compelled to think of the waiting on the saturday. Lord I sit and wait as I meditate your word, I stand steadfast and sure in this very real living faith you have given me, I move in the community around me, sharing you as I meet, meeting you as I seek. Amen