Saturday, 13 February 2016

Numbers

Up early. Read the lections. Kneel. Remove my glasses and episcopal ring - why are they both so heavy in the silence? Set the timer going. Those little numbers flicking round are a trap. Why do I need to peek? The gong will sound at the end.

I know it's about control, or the illusion of it, and this is one of the things I am slowly learning to relinquish.

As the wisest man I've ever met said,
"The way of pure faith is to persevere in contemplative practice without worrying about where we are on the journey, and without comparing ourselves to others or judging others' gifts to be better than ours. We can be spared all this nonsense if we surrender ourselves to the divine action, whatever the psychological content of our prayer may be. In pure faith, the results are often hidden even from those who are growing the most... the divine light of faith is totally available in the degree that we consent and surrender ourselves to its presence and action within." - Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love.
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St Marks Church Balclutha is well equipped and practical and a pleasant place to be spending the day. In the morning I talk about Ministry In Community. There is a good sized crowd gathered for this ministry education day and they talk and respond and listen all in the right places.

In the afternoon I run a workshop on preaching. I have an hour to try and share something of this art form to which I have devoted several decades of my life. I speak of my own narrative approach and try and give some usable information to these people who are, nearly all of them,  rostered to speak in small country churches through Otago and Southland. They take notes and ask questions, and I know they take it seriously. I wish I could be more use to them.

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