1 01 2011

I like new things. From new phone to new iPod running pouch, from new Christmas jumper to new CDs.

I forget new things. Being a creature of habit and not quite the spontaneous radical revolutionary I sometimes pretend to be, I forget i have them. I discover halfway round my run I haven’t used my new iPod pouch. Because I got my old one out. When choosing my clothes in the dim light of morning i get out the ones I always wear. After all, I know where they are. I load new CDs on the computer and promptly forget to listen to them again.

I like new ideas. They excite me, invigorate me, unsettle me, challenge me. I love new ideas about God especially.

I forget new ideas. No sooner have I read or heard or even preached a new idea or a new thought, I often forget about it. My mind resets to default factory settings like a computer. I think it easily happens to us all. The trouble is, our default settings about god are not always right. Nor are our new ideas of course, but to always default is never to think. And think we must, because that is how we discover.

this is not my new jumper

Maybe our default setting is that God is like an impatient father or a distant king, an effeminate uncle or a petulant child, a nagging wife or a boring Christian.

Our default setting rarely includes the patient sacrifice of the passionate heart, the intimate danger of the incarnate child, the intriguing story-telling of the questioning teacher, the broken heart of the abandoned lover, the shining magnificence of the dusty and humble cleaner of dirty feet.

What is truly great is when the new things become part of normal life, in a way that we don’t forget them but neither do we take them for granted. We treasure them, nurture them, love them, live them. Getting dirty from the dust of of Jesus’ feet was an important idea for our church in 2010. I hope we keep that one.

May 2011 bring fresh challenges to our default settings, may it keep us beautifully fresh, and like the love of God may we be new every mourning.



2 responses

1 01 2011

We can also fit so snuggly into the ways of Jesus, they become so natural to our way of thinking that we forget to thank him for what he has done and is doing in our lives. We get so scared that we will loose humility and forget to mark progress in our walk with him. New year is time to praise God for the people we are becoming because of our resurrected Lord. Thank him for our acceptance of change years ago, that is producing fruit now. It is so easy for us to belittle our faith and complain that we do not change quickly enough or grow to the height that we should. Sometimes its ok to sit with Jesus and reflect on how amazing his work is in us. Thats what the amazing power of the love of Jesus is.

Its so high we can’t get over it.
so low we can’t get under it.
so wide we can’t get round it.
O wonderful amazing love.

1 01 2011

“… like the love of God my we be new every mourning.”

So often our default setting is to aim for, and pray fror happiness and by that perhaps we mean that shallow Father Christmassy thing that is ephemeral. If that is what we hope for in 2011 then we may perhaps get it or we may not, but it will not be satisfying or enduring. But as Kevin implies with the use of the word mourning, God’s love is often more evident in our sadness and mourning than in our happiness. Ss we walk with happiness we learn very little, but as we struggle along with sorrow, loss and mourning then God does indeed teach us more about his love and make that love new within us.

So what should my prayer be for those I love this Winterval? Should I pray for sorrow and mourning as this will end up blessing them and helping them to experience more of God’s love, or should I pray for happiness which will not last and be of little help in their spiritual growth?

As the pot said to the kettle, isn’t it amazing how God can use even a person’s lack of typing skills to challenge us to deep thoght about his love.

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