sustained in the depths

Lots of deep discussion and thinking yesterday at Ministry Development Review – a reflective self-appraisal with the Ministry Development Officer, exploring who and where i am in the grand theological scheme of things.

I wasn’t looking forward to it after last year’s health blips,half expecting to be raking though the coals of the mistakes made as I entered into that spiral of anxiety – there were some, to which I hold up my hands and say “aye”, but there is also the essense of “where were you when I was broken and I needed you?“, a question which should be asked of those who were supposed to be my support and guide in such times – not to induce guilt, but to learn from and grow through the experience.

But it was a good process which helped me consolidate and verbalise things which have been in my head a while – community, purpose, what feeds me and what drains me, what drives me and what has sustained me, through that time and on the long road back to health, and will sustain me as I move forward in this adventure that this life as a priest in Christ’s church offers.

What sustains me? Jesus, Alan, the friends I dont see anywhere near as often as I would like, but chat to regularly through electronic means. A deepening sense of community, of wisdom, joy and sorrow shared in the presence of God. The colleagues i see on a regular basis who remind me I am a part of something bigger.  The list goes on.

One of the things to come out of yesterday’s time was an agreement to head off to Nether Springs and take part in a Community Weekend with the Northumbria Community. Its something I’ve been contemplating for a while, and I was rightly advised not to put it off too long.  Their dispersed monastic rule of availability and vulnerability was first shared in practice and grace by good friends, after they time spent at Nether Springs several years ago now. It is the Daily Office of the NC which has held me this past year or more, and a question that is asked in reflection & prayer grounds the spirit in the realities of life: “how then shall we live?”. If we make ourselves available to God and to others in faith, community and hospitality – how does this have impact upon the way we act, the way we give, the way we serve? if we allow our vulnerability to be laid bare before God, acknowledge our accountability, and vow to act for others as  servants and advocates – how does this challenge our being, our sense of security and drive our actions?  Always the questions “Who is it that you seek?” and “how then shall we live?” – call and response, meditation and mediation, reflection and action: Christ in the big things and the little ones, in each day and in each moment.

Deep stuff indeed, and much more to mull over and give further reflection to and act upon as the days pass.

One thing I have asked of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life;
to behold the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple.

Call: Who is it that you seek?
Response: We seek the Lord our God.
Call: Do you seek Him with all your heart?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Call: Do you seek Him with all your soul?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Call: Do you seek Him with all your mind?
Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Call: Do you seek Him with all your strength?
Response: Amen. Christ, have mercy.

Morning Prayer: Northumbria Community


7 thoughts on “sustained in the depths

  1. Kenny says:

    Geeeee! Wonder where I’ll be sent after my “go” next week? Now, a week at Kinnoull would suit me fine! Either that or Outer Mongolia out-of-the-road!!!

  2. Ali says:

    its something i’ve been intending to do for a while, so it was prominent in our discussion, and i think it will be good for me 🙂

    as for where you’re going – I hope to the craws on Monday for lunch??

  3. Jimmy says:

    I was informed one day on a visit to my minister that I had been removed from my “Baptist” church members roll for not attending enough meetings.
    It was a shock and completely out of the blue.There was no warning beforehand and no attempt by anyone in the church to reach out to me afterwards, no one contacted me, and I just felt they didn’t want me back.
    “Where were you when I was broken and needed you” I do know how you felt.

  4. Ali says:

    Its a tough place to be in Jimmy. For me, the way out of that place was the question and response I outlined above – “who is it I seek?”, and “how then do I live?” I hope in the midst of that pain and brokenness you have found (or can find) a way through also. pax & prayers brother.

    PS – checked your link and had a wee look at your stuff – i likey 🙂

  5. Jimmy says:

    Thank you, I appreciate that very much.
    I should have said in my comment that it was a long time ago but I don’t think I’ve ever fully gotten over it.

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