Saturday, February 12, 2011

The primacy of now

George Macleod, the 20th century Celtic/Scottish saint said that, "the primacy of God as Now is what we must recover in Christians mysticism." Later quoting George MacDonald he says, "'Whatever wakes my heart and mind, thy presence is, my Lord.' Our innumerable 'nows' are our points of contact with God." Too often, I think, we relegate the perceived presence of God to the prayer closet. Bidden or not not bidden, God is here. All life is sacred as we see it enfolded in the presence of God.

Lewis, in Surprised by Joy, talks of how Arthur Greeves introduced him to the experience of the "homely": "Often he recalled my eyes from the horizon just to look through a hole in a hedge, to see nothing more than a farmyard in its mid-morning solitude, and perhaps a gray cat squeezing its way under a barn door, or a bent old woman with a wrinkled, motherly face coming back with an empty bucket from the pigsty. But best of all we liked it when the Homely and the unhomely met in sharp juxtaposition; if a little kitchen garden ran steeply up a narrowing enclave of fertile ground surrounded by outcroppings and furze, or some shivering quarry pool under a moonrise could be seen on our left, and on our right the smoking chimney and lamp-lit window of a cottage that was just settling down for the night."

I'm not sure I understand all of what Lewis and Greeves meant by "homely", but part of what I take from it is that nothing escapes the redeeming presence of God.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Practiced Presence

Reading Brother Lawrence's "The Practice of the Presence of God" I was struck by his invitation to experience the continued presence of God. God is in our midst whether we want to pay attention or not. He seeks to be known. But do we really want to know him? Do we really wish to acknowledge his presence in every little corner of our lives?
Says Brother Lawrence: "We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him. And when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure."
This cycle of invoked presence leading to knowledge leading to love of God can turn quickly into a healthy and vibrant pattern for life. But it begins, I suppose, with practicing the presence. Hard to do when you think life is supposed to be all about you!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What I could be doing if I wasn't watching the Super Bowl

To study the life of C.S. Lewis is to be astounded by the amount of words he read, wrote, prayed, spoke and thought: 49 books written, 3 volumes of letters that stretch across half a book shelf, hours a week in prayer and worship, two meetings a week with the Inklings. The man was intelligent to be sure, but there has to be more to it than that. Or maybe the most intelligent thing about the man is how he chose to spend his time. It's hard to imagine Jack Lewis spending four hours on a Sunday night watching ANYTHING on TV, the least of which a sporting event. It makes me think of my use of discretionary time. I do a lot of mindless things with it. Not that every waking waking moment is supposed to be filled with thinking, reading and writing. The mind and spirit are called to rest - that is what Sabbath is about. Yet I suppose I could come up with more to offer the world if I wasn't always planting myself in front of some screen - movie, TV or computer. Maybe life would be more purposeful if we did more purposeful things with our time. Back to the Super Bowl.