The Long Story

I’ve just been praying some set morning prayers from the Russian Orthodox Church – here’s an example:

May my faith replace my deeds, O my God, for Thou wilt find no deeds to justify me. But may my faith be sufficient for all: may it answer for me; may it justify me; may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory. And may Satan not seize me, O Word, and boast that he has torn me from Thy hand and fold. Save me, O Christ, whether I want it or not, for Thou art my God from my mother’s womb. Come quickly to help me, for I perish.

By using these words today, I’ve joined in the story of the Orthodox Church in Russia (and it’s a flipping long story) – not just as a bystander, but as a character in the story.  It screws with my head that, every day for maybe a millennium or more, other people have shared exactly the same words as felt personal to me this morning – I love it when my head can’t handle stuff!

This last week, I was in Herrnhut (a little village in Germany, near the Czech border), joining in the continuing story of the Moravians, who prayed around the clock for 120+ years (apparently using the trombone quite a lot 🙂  and sent out missionaries to everywhere in the world.  And then I was in Dresden, joining in another story as I sat in a city formerly destroyed by the Allies, listening to a guy who started a weekly prayer meeting that escalated out of control until, in 1989, 400,000 people were praying on the streets of East Germany, and the Berlin Wall came down.  That’s more than just a good story!

It can make you feel a bit small, cos the story’s not about you.  But I also love how empowering it is too, cos in God’s eyes I’m just as significant as any of the Moravians, or Russian Orthodox, or any other characters in any part of His story (Moses, Mary, Peter, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Florence Nightingale, William Wilberforce, Catherine Booth, Smith Wigglesworth, my Dad), cos He loves me for me, and not because I’ve done anything amazing …

Here’s a quote from The Horse & His Boy:

You’re not quite the great horse you had come to think, from living among the poor dumb horses …  you could hardly help being that.  It doesn’t follow that you’ll be anyone very special in Narnia.  But as long as you know that you’re nobody very special, you’ll be a very decent sort of horse.

The Smile of Impending Magic

Written in Hannah West’s living room last week …

I fill my silence with quiet fidgets:
there’s no rush but neither peace.
If there was someone else here at least
I could
listen to them not talk to me

There’s no charge in the atmosphere,
the smile of impending magic
is easy to miss.  But if we kiss
the tip of the wand we might

get caught up in a fairy tale tonight.

Cos the moon’s just as bright here
as in any land, and though the stars
don’t mean so much, they still can touch
the twinkle-twinkle behind the bars.

"I’d follow Him to the Moon!" I said,
and the Moon followed Him
It’s over there, behind the TV,
quietly glowing inside of me;
in the shadows.  Not talking or
trying to bash down
the door
But gently bringing power to an electric-lit room

with comfortable chairs and tasteful decor.

Trying not to miss the point

A couple of days ago, I found myself lying on the living room floor writing ‘If I could have anything in the world at this moment, what would I ask for?‘ in my notebook.  I’m not quite sure if this is something I need to do every day of my life, but Monday was a good moment.

It’s a weird-but-nice thing to stop for a moment and realise that, apart from ‘some crisps please!‘ and ‘England to win the cricket‘, I’m not really in WANT of anything, and that because of that, I’m free to notice how much I WANT to know God (I’ve always NEEDED to know Him, but at the moment especially I WANT to.  Yesterday, I read in My Utmost For His Highest that ‘the whole of the life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God.  I really GET that just at the moment.  I don’t have any major plans or aspirations (although I do have LOADS of lovely ideas and dreams), but I do want to go through life with Him, not just for Him.  It’s one thing to know a lot about Christianity – to be knowledgable about the Church & have some well-formed ideas about how it should be done – but surely that just misses the point?

So, I’m sitting here eating an interesting brunch of left-overs – cauliflower & cabbage, rice pudding, and Pringles – knowing in my heart that God loves cauliflower, He loves cabbage, He loves rice pudding, and He LOVES Pringles!  This is how ‘unbroken communion with God’ becomes very practical for me 🙂

The Urn

I remember, back in May, trying to explain to people why I was back in Britain for the summer (since it was God’s idea originally, not mine), and I remember getting very comfortable with the idea that maybe it was so I could be in the country when England won The Ashes.

I kind of gave up on that idea after the first test, but fortunately, the Holy Spirit was really in charge 😉

So now, job done, I am free to leave the country – firstly to Germany this time next week (for the 24-7 annual shindig/jamboree/hui), and then back HOME to New Zealand, for whatever’s next.  And it shall be lovely …

ps.  if you know anyone who knows someone who’s friends with someone whose boss’s sister’s cousin has an affordable place for me to stay in Auckland, let me know!!!