Why the long silence?

… because once you’re out of a habit, it’s difficult to pick it up again. Maybe? I haven’t been on a silent retreat or stopped engaging in social media; my broadband hasn’t been broken or my laptop crashed. I’ve just stopped writing, and not started again.

That’d be one difference between a habit and an addiction I guess. For a time last year I wondered whether I was on the verge of becoming a blog-addict, spending more time writing and thinking about my blog- wanting to check whether I’d reached double figures or higher for a particular posting and always hoping to beat last week’s views. I guess, if I was, then the last 2 months have been a reasonable cold-turkey break.

One other difference is whether its helpful to others or only self-centred. Going back to the viewing numbers- if I spend time looking at the stats and playing with the numbers, that is effectively self-centred and could be labelled as part of an addiction. If I was spending the time crafting some top-notch posts which really connected with those who read them, using the same amount of time… would that still be an addiction? Or a habit? Or am I just splitting hairs here?

I guess ultimately I’m not so bothered about the correct definition, or exactly how many people read a post. But I’m still interested in writing- both for myself and for those who’ve indicated that they’re interested. So I’ll be back in the fray, posting some sermons and notes, some thoughts and talks… One point to note is that I’ve been spending a fair amount of time helping others plan and produce talks, supporting their development, and while that takes energy and produces some exciting stuff, none of it sits on my computer… it’s all theirs.

Anyway, to move on from this spiel, here’s something I put together for a Lent lunch the other day, based around a passage in Ezekiel chapter 47…

Lent Lunch…

Before we start… would you consider yourself to be an environmentally aware, or ‘green’ person?

How do you think environmental issues relate to the Christian faith?

Then read- Ezekiel 47.1-12.

The Spirit of God spreading out from the Temple ‘God has left the building’…

The spiritual, the holy, which has previously been contained- within the tabernacle and then within the temple, is being released… but not in a contained, focussed way as in Moses or Elijah’s encounters with God, or the pillar of fire and smoke which led the people of Israel in the wilderness… in this image the holiness of God is spreading out- the water from the Temple…

But what happens is that the water- the flood, doesn’t damage the ground or cause erosion, it spreads and grows deeper (which is unusual in itself) and where it flows, there life grows- the salt is made sweet, fruit trees flourishing by the banks…

It’s a picture of the Incarnational god- holiness moving out, hands dirty, getting close to the world- not staying in the place of holiness but making the world a holy place by going there.

Its also a picture that speaks clearly of how God is connected with the material world, rather than just interested in the ascetic spiritual things…in the Genesis narrative ‘God saw that it was good’- in and of itself the natural creation is loved by God.

During Lent we are trying to go deeper/closer to God, and one area that has historically had little attention is how we live within the natural world… its something that didn’t need to be taught because for so long our lives and livelihood were so intimately connected with it, but in the last 150yrs a gap has grown… and so as Christians we need to know how to live in creation. Dominion, stewardship- both have been used, but both are insufficient…

Creation as gift- receive it, care for it, love it as we love the Giver

Us- getting our hands dirty, loving the creation, sanctifying the places we go to… ways of responding to God.

Discussion questions…

When you read or hear passages from Ezekiel and the other prophets, how do you transfer their meaning from the original time and place to your life- do you find it easy or hard?

In the passage from Ezekiel, we read of a very clear experience that Ezekiel had- a waking dream or vision… when you are thinking about things deeply, do your thoughts progress in the same sort of way- like a film in your head, or do your hopes and plans appear as pictures or words?

What helps you to transfer those thoughts from that place of ideas and make them real?

Going on from today, in what way have you grown or heard God during our time together?

These are all rather sketchy, but hopefully make some sense. Maybe you need to find some silence yourself…


2 thoughts on “Why the long silence?

  1. I have missed reading your posts. You have always given me food for thought and today is no exception. As a preacher you of course will be interested in the effect your words are having on your audience. In the blogging world the likes and follows equate with your congregation at church. We all need to know that we are being listened to if we feel we are saying something important. As a true man of God you feel it is wrong to ‘blow your own trumpet’ but I don’t think that is what you have been doing here. God’s trumpet is sounding loud and clear! ‘The Spirit of God spreading out from the temple…’ Yes; exactly! God’s Word is spreading far and wide through the blogging community. Thank-you, Andy.

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