Hi everyone. Rob here.
I was walking home from the library this morning when I heard a dog barking and racing out of its driveway towards me. My first thought: Uh oh. Sure enough, the dog ran towards me and around me barking its head off, hemming me in place. It was annoying more than frightening. I didn’t want to keep walking and have it follow me. Eventually the owner came out and sheepishly rounded up his dog. Doesn’t life often feel like we’re surrounded by barking dogs! There is so much noise, so much angst and anger, so many opinions, with the result that we feel stuck in a life of revolving headlines. How do we rise above it all and remain centred in Christ and filled with his love?
I’ve noticed that the busier life is the simpler I want my spirituality to be. The noisier that life is the quieter I want my soul to be and the uglier the world gets the more beauty I need. Simplicity, stillness and beauty are antidotes to a world lost in noisy confusion. The discipline comes in making time to pursue these remedies for our heart.
Recently I have been using Lectio 365 in the mornings and evenings. They use small Scripture readings, simple thoughts, calm voices and set prayers. I make time for a lunchtime walk. On Sunday morning I’ll be found at a small liturgical fellowship within walking distance of my home. All of this is good but it wasn’t enough. I’m someone who deepens relationships slowly and with time. I needed more time with God. So, having some time in lieu, I headed off yesterday for a walk of several hours by the beautiful Waikato River. As I walked God revealed areas that needed repentance and change, things to be thankful for, promises to agree with and people to pray for. I finished the walk sore in body but lighter in spirit. Time, beauty, stillness (not silence; the birds were lovely) and simplicity (I just had to walk) created room for God to do good work in my heart and mind. It was good and I’ll probably need to do it again soon.
I need time for my friendship with Jesus to thrive. I need beauty to lift my thoughts beyond the circumstances of my life. I need stillness to open the door of my heart to the Spirit’s work. I need simplicity to set me free from my busy mind. What do you need? How are you going to silence the barking dogs and let the voice of Jesus be heard? What do you need to say no to so that your yes to God has substance?
Jesus, help us to silence the noise, simplify our lives, find your beauty everywhere and make time for our friendship with you to thrive. Amen.
Grace and peace everyone.