Words from the journal of a student of spiritual discipline
July 6, 2011 - Today's words are actually from today! As is frequently the case, I was reading from Daily writings of Thomas Merton and was shocked to be aimed in a different spiritual direction than that in which I thought I was going. For several weeks the idea for a new Bible study has been formulating in my mind. Since it is really the topic of another writing, I will simply say that the subject is "The Ignored Gifts of the Spirit."
For as long as I can remember I have had the title of my book (if ever, it will be the first!) "Anarchy of Place." Our lives are so intrinsically wrapped up in where we are born or where we live. We will root for and in some cases even fight for our home team and so on. Merton wrote for July 8th about "Ones Place on Earth." After speaking to the beauty of the hills and valleys around his monastery, Gethsemane, he ends with "We do not realize our own setting as we ought to; it is important to know where you are put on the face of the earth." This is from his book, "The Sign of Jonas." My premise all along is that place is irrelevant! That's easy to say when you are blessed to live in the USA at this time! At this point I felt that the Holy Spirit was really challenging me with such diverse thoughts. But then I paused, maybe they are not that diverse and there is a common thread.
Where you are placed is not necessarily your place of birth. It is a temporary place in to which God placed you to do service and to learn and grow. We must recognize our "mission" at each of our "changing" earthly locations. Consider what happens when individual missions are similar in the same place. An EXPLOSION! - like at St. Philips in Wilmington. We speak of the church's mission in this place at this time, but fail to recognize that the whole is composed of all the individual missions! It is possible that most folks don't know their personal mission at this time in this place. They may even be fighting it since they are now retired and just want to do their own thing.
God has sent your spirit to this place at this time - Obviously for a purpose! There is no such thing as a siding to the railroad of life. Other than to nourish our bodies, each of our lives is on the main line of our track through time. At this time we are HERE! To do God's will! Just as Merton was enthralled with the beauty of his surroundings, his spirit caught him and reminded him that "it is important to know where you are put on the face of the earth!" Amen.