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meditation 10: ‘Spirited Away’

12 Aug

meditation 10: ‘Spirited Away’

fruit of the spirit, kind gentleness-Beauty is…kindness & gentleness, working together as one fruit

People can be raised, born with gentleness, with ‘kind’ touches, voices and seeing yet not probing eyes. Their ‘kindness’ comes in large part from their gentle characters. Some are even born with this ‘gentle’ gift. Some are raised to be gentle. Christians, though, are to be ‘spirited away.’ We are fruit; and we are made, ‘spirited’ by a gift. Then we become one fruit with multiple rich, exotic tastes. Our lives are what are being tasted, by others, our lovers, our children, our family, our friends and community. Ourselves. We are to become gentle kindness.

As I practice the kindness I am not borne but gifted with, I become gentle. Spirited kindness creates gentleness in me. I was borne neither gentle nor kind. I was raised with wolves. Niccolo Machiavelli said in ‘The Prince@ that ‘a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good.’ Yes, Nick. Quite correct. If I strive, I die in ruin. But if I am ‘Spirited…

Slowly I am reformed in another, His, image. This is the practice of a Christian walk; it is practice and fruit of the spirit. I cannot do it by my own will for any sustained period. If I try on my own, if I strive, l become a Real Zombie soon enough; created by my own sinful desire, without His Spirit. A hallow man. A Zombie who can’t feel; can’t taste. I devour what I see more and more. Even the desire to be ‘goodness’ will devour. I taste nothing. I become Zombies, yes Zombies in the plural. Multiple, real real aspects of my own sinful desires that seek to become flesh, my own flesh and blood. Zombies. And I battle them every day. Sinful desires that also want my Spirit. And I lose some days. But other days I am healed. I become real, living, Spirited.

Paul speaks of how a hurt brother or sister is to be restored in Galatians: ‘Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted’. Galatians 6:1

Paul is telling us, me, a Real Zombie can come back to a living being. We Zombies just need gentleness, kind gentleness. How? Who heals?

Gently, as a physician setting or putting in place a broken bone. That is how. That is the meaning of the English word “restore.” ‘Restore’ translates a Greek word (katartizein), a word with multiple meanings. Its primary meaning as a Greek word is ‘to set a broken bone.’ A broken bone is both painful and useless. The broken leg doesn’t walk. The broken hand doesn’t hold. The broken limb simply doesn’t work. And it is painful. Pain needs, thirsts for gentleness, kindness. My definition of ‘restore’ is Spirited. Physicans gently restore spirit by the Spirit. That is my thirst, a desire to taste His Spirit.

Years past I was hit by a car when crossing a street. My leg was shattered in two places. After many months I started physiotherapy. I will never forget my first day in the physio office: directly across the way from me in an adjoining room sat a woman gently caressing her leg, recently broken and slowly healing. There was, there is something about a gentle touch that heals; even if you do it to, for, yourself. And we, she, did not do it once but many times, back and forth her hands moved over her scarred leg. We need this touch to be, to become human. And then we need the Spirit’s touch to become more than human, but never less than ourselves. We need the Spirit’s touch o become like Him. A living touch that is not afraid to reach out and heal, even a Zombie that threatens to devour. A gentle, kind touch.

This is fruit: gentleness and kindness working together. One is begetting the other; kindness growing as a child forming other acts of kindness. This is His Spirit.: fruit bearing fruit, gentleness forming/engendering kindness. Kindness, in its turn creating gentleness. Goodness ruining evil.

Taste and see; taste and envision; taste fruit of His Spirit and live. This is living fruit that gives life. Good Life. His life. He is good.

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meditation 9: fruit of the spirit, goodness

6 Aug

meditation 9:  fruit of the spirit, goodness

 What is goodness? Can anyone be ‘good?’ Any act?  Any purpose?

As I look at myself, for own motives, loves, looking and coveting, speaking solely for my own heart and self, my answer is “No, not good, not me.”

I can say this because I have glimpses of goodness. From others.  Brief compelling can’t stop thinking about glimpses. My heart replays these vary rare views over and over, over and over. They are so rare; I don’t recognise them at first. Here is a recent one.

Priscilla, my wife, is goodness. Yes, at times she is angry, forgetful, and full of self. But at small, very key life moments, she rises. Her goodness empowered by the spirit shines as a new moon in a clear night sky, or a moving piece of music. She, immediately and without thought, is’ good.’ It is her first instinct.

In mid June I saw an advert for a local Proms concert. St. Jude’s church in Golders Green was to have Sir Willard White sing. Priscilla knew him over 40 years ago at a small church in NYC, The Bronx Household of Faith. She always spoke fondly of him and was excited to see that he was in the UK. I booked two of the last three tickets available and Priscilla called the church to leave a message.Can you please tell Mr White that Priscilla from the Bronx Household of Faith will be at the concert? She would love to say ‘hello.’Graciously, the church and the person Priscilla spoke to assured her that they would leave him her contact information.

We heard nothing in the week between her call and the event. Very excited that Friday, in a slight rain, we arrived to a packed house. When we picked up our tickets, Priscilla again explained to a kind steward how she knew Sir Willard. The event staff listened attentively and assured her Sir Willard would get her hand written note. Ours seats were in the first row off to the side. We went in.‘Perfect ‘was Priscilla’s response to our seats: she could see him; and he might recognise her, though people change.

Sir Willard came on; he had not changed significantly except for the greying of age in his hair. He looked well and sang with power and zeal. He opened with a number of German classical pieces that shared the subject of death. He sang, at times with real power. The interval came.  He and his accompanist left the stage.

As a little girl, Priscilla needed vanilla ice cream to cool her excitement. Returning to her, I spoke to another steward. Yes, Sir Willard would leave the stage at the end of the performance and he would ensure she could have a brief moment with him.

The second act began. My sense of the evening was that of a man singing of death in a place of risen celebration, a church. He seemed a performer, not a worshipper of anything, even his own performance. Needless to say, the evening closed. Priscilla waited and told me how he sang ‘My Wild Irish Rose’ to her in New York before she knew me. The Head steward waited with us at the exit. Sir Willard never appeared. He ducked out to avoid her, my Priscilla.

 And here, here, is where I saw goodness. Myself, I was angry Not even a ‘hello.’ He purposely avoided her, as though she was a stalker. In the Head Steward’s word to me: ‘really, he could use the fans; the work.’  Standing by the exit door till the last possible moment Priscilla said ‘Thank you.’ As we walked to our transport she said, ‘Church must have hurt him. He must be hurting deeply.’I asked her is she was hurting; wasn’t she angry? How insensitive…Priscilla said looking down, ‘You don’t know what he has been though. I have my memory of his singing for me.’How generous; how good.

 

 

Twitter: @charlesosewalt

 

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www.charlesosewalt.com

 

Meditation 1

21 May

prayers in thoughts and scriptures on biblical characters; images; principles; people; Word and feelings. For May 2013, I will be sharing meditations

 1st meditation:

 I am writing a series of blogs on good, bad and ugly stewards in the Bible. This week I have been focusing in on the 9 bad lepers of Luke 17.

 Why are they bad stewards? Because, even after they are healed, their disease controls them. They never stop to return and  praise God; they have to get back to community, family, homes, people. I get it: people need people.  Got it.

But…my wife Priscilla has Lupus, an auto immune disease. I asked her this week: do you control your disease, or does it control you? Her response:

“it’s complicated. Sometimes I am in charge, sometimes all I want is healing from the aches, the tiredness. I just have to be sensitive to my body; listen to it.”

My prayer: Lord, yet me hear your gentle touch. Let my senses be yours: sensitive to your body, the people and world you have put me into. I want to be still. Help me to listen

Amen.