Brother Ass needs times of contemplation so make a place of quietness.
Welcome to this third day as we consider a deepening relationship with God as central to the life of every Believer; if we are to be useful hands and feet in His service.
In day 1, St Francis of Assisi describes his body as being like a very useful but stubborn donkey. He depicts his frame as Brother Ass.
In day 2, we talked about St Paul’s teaching that having invited Christ in, our bodies become temples of God, the place where He dwells and to an ever increasing degree, rules.
Today we consider the life of contemplation. Meditation has become a bit of swear-word in our protestantism. It is associated with Eastern religions and to be eschewed either consciously, or simply by default allowing it to become an empty space in our faith walk with God.
Yet there are few more powerful phrases in scripture than the words, “Be still and know that I am God.” And I confess that in no other domain does Brother Ass in my own life fork his feet to greater effect. I fill my life with busyness and there is little space for being still before Him.
Perhaps part of the reason is that I have been on two silent retreats, many years ago, under the direction of our rector, Stuart Mennigke. They were both extremely painful, many tears were shed, but looking back some big issues that had conveniently been swept under the carpet were dealt with by God. Forgiveness of some huge sins that still held me, release and finally joy as I forgave myself.
But Brother Ass is very reluctant to go down that street again; a stubborn and obstinate beast.
We’ll speak again about the Blue Zones again in Day 5. The five parts of the world where ten times as many people reach healthy, zestful old age. What is interesting is that in all of them the people are very religious; but they belong to different faiths and none of them alas are Protestant.
In fact Protestant Christians as a group are no more healthy than our fellow travellers. Could it be because contemplation of God is not part of our tradition?
St Francis was certainly a contemplative man; it was a big part of his faith. Somehow he successfully countered the stubbornness of Brother Ass in that domain of his life.
I have no real recommendations. It remains a void in my life; yet I’m beginning to hear the call of Jesus to “come away” to a quiet place. I fear it may become a source of great pain once more as God deals with some of the big issues that remain in my own faith; but I also know it will be followed by release from the things that still bind me, peace and joy of knowing Him in a deeper way.
Bless you today as you deal with the stubborn nature of your own Brother Ass. Let us pray for each other.
Brother Ass needs times of contemplation as it's only in silences that we clearly hear the still small voice of God.
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