Today was only a half day of lectures. Which I really appreciated.
For one, my brain felt pretty tired this morning… (*possibly* the fact I read a little too late into the evening last night…) For two, this afternoon gave me library time and a chance to edit the video presentation I need to submit soon for the Community Learning module of my Masters (HUGE thanks to my techie-friends for your expert advice… I managed to get photos, videos and music into some kind formatable, understandable, 12 minute presentation without too many tears or tantrums! Score!)
And again, as I sit to reflect on the day right now, the thing that really sticks in my mind is a quote from our morning devotional time. I will try and blog about something other than our morning devotional times at some point, but bear with me again for today. Considering my ramble about loving to combine the activities of praying and walking yesterday, maybe this quote resonated with me in a deeper way… Or maybe because it's a quote by a Japanese theologian, it resonated with me in a deeper way… Either, or, really! 😉
I find God goes 'slowly' in His educational process of man. 'Forty years in the wilderness' points to His basic educational philosophy… God walks 'slowly' because He is love. If He is not love He would have gone much faster. Love has it's speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accumstomed. It is 'slow', yet it is lord over all other speeds since it is the speed of love. It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, whether we are currently hit by storm or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore it is the speed the love of God walks. (Kosuke Koyama 1979: 6-7)
I guess putting it into language that's a little more familiar to us, Jon Thurlow sings the words, 'I wind down in my spirit, and I dial down for a minute, and I lean, I lean, I just lean into You…' Kind of… 🙂
There's something in slowing down and quieting ourselves enough to really engage with Holy Spirit and hear His voice. I really do believe we were created for prayer, created with an inner world inside of us that was made in order to have a permanent and constant inner dialogue with God. But I know if you're anything like me, it's so easy to fill this inner-world with a million and one other perpetual conversations. Our mobile phones, our social media, our seemingly-unattachable-unswitchoffable (new word!) electronic devices. Our persistent attempts to rerun conversations and situations. Or unhelpful daydreams about what could be. And don't get me wrong, I think these things can be great. They can be used in moderation. They can be used to build the kingdom of God. But they can also take us away from the most important conversation in our day. The constant abiding in God that we are called to and created for. And I can't help but feel that sometimes I'm so busy having a perpetual conversation with everyone but God, that He couldn't get a word in if He wanted to. And I've said this before, but I really want Jesus to be my daydream. That I am distracted from other things by a preoccupation with God.
I often humorously tell my young people about the times that I sit down to pray; and find myself immediately distracted by what I need to buy in Tesco later on that day. I sit down, Bible open, resolve fierce, a couple of hours free to pour my love on Jesus. And then, about 3 minutes into pouring out my worship and praise, the only thought running through my head is, 'Man, I'm almost out of milk. And toilet roll. And orange juice too. I really need to remember that lot on the way home later…'
Real spiritual Peta….
But the thing is, (and I often ponder this…) what would it look like if that situation were reversed? If I were walking around Tesco, and I forgot the milk because I was too busy praying? If I was distracted in the right way by the right things?
And I use that as a funny illustration… But the challenge for me is true.
If I'm going so fast that I can't hear the voice of God then I need to stop speeding and go-slow.
Ok. I was just brilliantly-interrupted from writing this blog post by my waiter (remember my love of waiting staff). I'm eating alone tonight and so had just grabbed a corner table in a quiet little Italian near my hotel. And my waiter, about 25 minutes ago, came to chat to me as the restaurant was pretty dead. He's a Muslim guy, and we have talked about the difference Jesus makes as I've eaten my pizza and drunk my plentiful pots of tea. And I have listened to some of his story and he to mine. And it's been a wonderful way to spend a meal! So… What I said about praying for your waiters/waitresses? A whole world of yes to that!
Ok, I'm going to leave it here. But please pray for this guy. That he would understand grace and who Jesus is for himself. And that he would meet other Christians. And that Holy Spirit would keep working on His heart.
God is so good, hey?! 🙂
Oh, and here's my pizza!