Numbers like 100 form a sort of milestone, giving one pause to ponder
- how did the past blogging go (such as, did I forget to write Part 2 of the post defining “Christian contemplative”?)
- where one is at present with blogging (I’ve been so busy I’m forgetting to post very often — yikes!)
- where will one be in the future with blogging (Do I want to continue? — yes!)
This time of year, with its emphasis on new beginnings (Advent=new church year, Christmas=new life in baby Jesus, New Year of 2014), is a good time to ponder our own lives past, present, and future in similar fashion:
- In the past, how has God invited me to live and how have I responded?
- What is God trying to communicate to me today?
- What would God like for me in the future?
[I think here of the brilliance of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol: Scrooge was forced to ponder the effect of his actions on others in the past and present, and what might result in the future if he remained on that path.]
If you try this spiritual reflection for yourself and find yourself regretting things of the past or frustrated with the present, please do not berate yourself or lose hope. Classic spiritual writers agree that self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. Use what you learn about yourself as an opportunity to make fresh choices for the future.
In the following 2-minute Advent reflection video, Pastor Paul Harris explores what he calls “spiritual hypothermia,” a condition of feeling disoriented, lost, confused, guilty, or spiritually weak. He reminds us we are not alone, and offers a way to cry out to God for help.
(If you don’t see the video, copy and paste this YouTube link into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snr2v8YrAQo )
When we feel we are having a case of “spiritual hypothermia,” we can cry out to God in the words of Psalm 80:
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
(Psalm 80:7, NRSV)
To paraphrase that, writing a similar prayer in my own words:
Bring us back to life, O Loving, Unseen God!
Let the radiant light and heat of your presence
Shine down on us, that we might not die in our sins
and mistakes of the past, but rather we might
live the compassionate, holy life Christ revealed.
Until next time, Amen!