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Pain

‘The closest feeling to having nowhere to stay for the night is that of a broken heart. It is a feeling of abandonment, of rejection and loneliness. When you are homeless, you feel rejected by everyone, not just by another.’ So wrote David West in The Guardian recently.

Last Sunday, I preached about the feeding of the 20,000 (Matthew 14:13-21). I observed that before the feeding began, Jesus cured the sick. In fact, it was the first thing he did when he stepped out of the boat onto land.

‘He saw a great crowd, had compassion for them and cured their sick.’ (Matt. 14:14)

Avoiding clarity

The author of Mark’s gospel ‘studiously avoids clarity.’

So writes Robert Fowler in ‘Let the Reader Understand,’ a book I delved into recently.

I was taken aback by that expression, ‘studiously avoids clarity.’ I sensed, too, that there was more to understand. My recent study leave offered a timely opportunity to investigate further.

In Mark’s account of the crucifixion, Fowler draws attention to the cry of the Roman centurion, stationed at the foot of the cross, who exclaimed when Jesus died, ‘Truly this man was a Son of God.’

In whom we have our being

Recently, thinking about the importance of culture in affirming our connection with the sacred, with God, some words from Acts 17 have caught my attention, ‘In God, we live and move and have our being.’ (v. 28)

It resonates for at least two reasons;

First, it speaks of a reality that is already given, which does not require our intellectual assent, our vote or even our respect. It is.

Secondly, it speaks of God as being much, much bigger than our individual experiences and views.

Into the desert

I love reading books, but there are few that I read again. I have, however, returned to 'The Absence of God: Dwelling in the Presence of the Sacred' by Sam Keen.

The central thesis of this work is that in throwing out traditional beliefs about God, the West has lost its connection with the sacred. Keen seeks to recover some of this lost spiritual wisdom, writing about it in such a way as to inspire a yearning for its return.

Much taken by his reflections, I am trying to figure out how best to embody one part of the wisdom he speaks of - retreating into the desert.

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