I’ve been reading, over the past week, some material by Simon Guillebaud- a daily discipleship resource called Choose Life 365. If you’ve not come across him, he’s a larger than life figure- working in Burundi as part of a missionary organisation he’s had your usual (!?) death threats and run of the mill diseases and privation. When he speaks there’s not a huge amount of gently gently going on, but rather a fairly full-on message, and if you’re wondering what he does to relax, its a combination of triathlon and iron man events- in a country where there are crocodiles in the rivers you definitely swim fast!
Anyway, love or loathe the man, his writing makes you think.
In particular, the last few days have been about being alert to what is around us- to the amount of stuff we have, the adverts we see, the pressure we feel to conform- even though we apparently live in a culture of choice and consumer privilege. He also writes about being alert to what is in the background, and speaks of the spiritual side of things. I often find it hard to talk about spiritual darkness and forces of evil, and can’t completely get away from childhood imagery of a comic vision of the the devil whenever I read or talk about Satan, but i have a huge respect for those who’ve worked in places where spiritualism and shamanism is far more common- Guillebaud and others like him have been in the scary places and I choose to listen to their voice of experience.
‘Be alert, for the enemy prowls round like a hungry lion…’ I’ve once heard a hungry lion, but I’ve no desire to come close to one, and so I choose to be alert, even to risks and dangers that I have never had to face. The truth is that its quite easy to be alert to large noisy creature that is in front of you. The harder part is to remain alert when it all seems quiet, or when you have that sense of ‘not quite right’ though you cannot spot the problem. That’s when you have to choose to be alert, even when you might not want to.