Cleaning Up My Folders
October 26, 2022
Bridget Holmes was a necessary woman for a series of five monarchs, from Charles I to Mary II and so was one of the longest-serving royal servants.
Did you ever notice this frustrating reality?
You clean up, fix up, or straighten up and it goes well for a while and then ... you relapse into a worse state than before.
There is a futility in constantly cleaning up and not dealing with the roots of what pollutes us, corrupts us, and manipulates our thinking into even deeper futility. An interruption in a cycle that is empowered by its own forces will only be temporary. Christian faith and spiritual transformation are not about momentary behavior modification or immobilization of peripheral demons.
To repent is to recognize the difference between where we are going and where we can go and to change direction.
We have been invaded by the Kingdom of God and the King Himself has come to invite us into transformation, liberation, and deep significance. This is no passing matter or minor deliverance. The enemy that seeks to entrap and destroy the soul is sinister, persistent, and patient. We can choose a different master and step away from the "generation" bent on destruction. We need more than subtle reformation. We need re-FORM-ation in all of its implications.
Jesus speaks to the frustration of the human condition and its resistance to transforming grace when He says,
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” -Matthew 12:43-45 ESV
Caricature of Newman by "Spy", published in Vanity Fair in 1877
"Dear Jesus, help us to spread Your fragrance everywhere we go.Flood our souls with Your spirit and life.Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that ourlives may only be a radiance of Yours.Shine through us, and be so in us that every soul weLet us preach You without preaching, not by wordsbut by our example, by the catching force, thesympathetic influence of what we do, the evidentfullness of the love our hearts bear to You.Amen."-John Henry Newman's Prayer which was prayed daily by Mother Teresa and her workers
On Another Matter
I was just griping about the proliferation of texts and emails requesting me to participate financially, verbally, & virtually in campaigns & initiatives leading to election day.
Isn't this what I want? More participation by small donors, silent voices, viral messages, & ordinary folks.
Goodness and Affliction
Do you relate to the Psalmist's sentiments here?
I have always found them extraordinarily insightful, mature, and far-sighted.
At the same time, they are strange and alarming apart from the perspective of sharing his experience.
It takes time, distance, and reflection to come to this place. It is the place where we appreciate our hard schooling. We become grateful for our adversities only by stepping out of them, maybe even stepping out of ourselves and then stepping back to look on.
That outside look is from the point of view that I have achieved through time and realization that the blessings of the day were purchased, in part, with the currency of yesterday's afflictions.
Who would I be without my suffering, my pain, nd my hardships?
Where would I be?
What would my capacity be to face the challenges of today.
I do know this: I would change nothing. I would not time travel to alter the past. I would not erase or replace a single memory.
Some are still painful and some need more processing. I do have regrets, but not enough that I would reverse anything.
I will move forward in healing and in grace.
There is one thing I would add however and it is a vision. It is a vision of reality that I may not observed at the time. I would gain a new awareness that God was with me all along, suffering with me, guiding me, teaching me, comforting me, strengthening me, and upholding me with the everlasting arms.
"Before I was afflicted I went astray,but now I keep your word."- Psalm 119:67
I have learned his statues and am still learning his statutes.
"The law of your mouth is dearer to me than thousands in gold and silver." - Psalm 119:72
Some things are just of greater value than anything else.
"Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning."
(Psalm 119:54 ESV)
Part of the secret is learning about how life is a sojourn. In what ways have you uncovered that for yourself? Here's a little "think-about-it" music from Keb Mo .