Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Apart from a persistent hacking cough I'm more or less back to normal. Our Bishop is away, which leaves me in charge around here - well technically, anyway; my colleague Helen Wilderspin has been doing all the work and a jolly fine job she's been making of it too, let me tell you. This week though, even with Helen covering the rear, it's been wall to wall appointments. You simply would not believe how many things need to be done, even in a small organisation like the Diocese of Dunedin, and it all has to be fitted in around the requirements of St. John's parish, and the hospital and rest home which our parish owns. No more sitting around reading arcane French philosophers and pretending to think profound thoughts for me! Instead, I sit around reading minutes and pretending to know what to do.
Is this what Jesus came to establish? All this busyness? Earlier today I was reading something by a man who was, by all accounts, busier than I am: the apostle Paul. In Romans 12 he gives a long list of admirable behaviours and personality traits, which is daunting in its comprehensiveness and its unattainability. It might seem that Paul is laying down a list of laws whose only purpose will be to make us feel exhausted and guilty at the end of the day, but I think he's trying to do something else - something bigger. He's trying to describe a quality; an aura; an atmosphere. He's trying to put in words the feel of the life we will live if we try to treat our journey through each day as an opportunity to follow Jesus. He's urging us to offer up our journey - not so much the things we do in each day but rather the attitude we have to those things, and the spirit in which we perform them. It is this attitude to the tasks of each day rather than the tasks themselves which is of ultimate significance.
I can be as busy as I like and in the end achieve nothing more than another day jammed with stuff that nobody will remember in six months time. Or I can let myself be transformed by the renewing of my spirit and live a rich, satisfying day no matter how many things, or how few, fill my diary.