Sunday, September 11, 2011

Words from a Journal - #18

Words from the Journal of a student of spiritual discipline

August 9, 2011 - Oh, Sophia(Holy Spirit)! where is my discipline? I just read several days of Merton and read one I missed last year. It was for August 4th and was titled "Getting Things Done" from his book titled "Contemplation in an World of Action." This one really hit me at my core; it is short, but profound. "Let us start from one admitted fact: if prayer, meditation and contemplation were once taken for granted as central realities in human life everywhere, they are so no longer. They are regarded, even by believers, as somehow marginal and secondary. What counts is getting things done." That is me - that is always my excuse. Interestingly enough I am here at this place because of attending a class on "Getting Things Done". I have spent my life reading books on efficiency and Getting Things Done. I spent the most rewarding part of my business career helping manufacturing folks become more efficient in of all things cleaning large 6 story chemical facilities between product change overs to avoid contamination. What a coincidence that yesterday out of the blue Pastor switched our Bible study topic and moved us back into a contemplative mood to do "Lectio Divina." A slow deliberate reading of scripture.

Sophia, I know that I have wandered away from my discipline and in some not so subtle ways you are putting me back into my Jeremiah mode. Recently Pastor asked me about my vision for the church. At first I drew a blank and then it hit me - a transformed church that will contrast with the traditional model! I see famous old church buildings standing empty and deserted or with just a few parishioners. The buildings are not the church! The people are the church! We have created our own idols. Why have we not learned? The building has always been a distraction down through the ages. In contrast to the Old Testament we find very few, if any, words from the Lord about building "temples" out of mortar and wood. The temple is within us - in our hearts. I envision a church unhampered by "erroneous" traditions. Free to commit its time and treasure to doing God's mission. A change - a transformation - in mind set and focus is required!

R. Jeremiah

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