We just got back from spending the weekend away with the guys from our church. We are all exhausted – but for all the right reasons. It was a lovely time away, very relaxed with little to do but chat, drink coffee and get to know each other a bit better. There are lots to think about and process as a result of camp, which I am sure will end up here at some stage, but for now I thought I would put up what I did for the mediation/reflection time when we arrived on Friday night. It was simply a time to focus us on why we were there as a community and help us put aside some of the busy-ness of the rest of our lives to hear from God over the weekend.
My to do list is long
It is itemized and categorised
It is necessary and it is overwhelming
It is growing in length and urgency
People, places, jobs, and commitments are allocated times and designated importance
People, places, jobs and commitments are ticked off the list
It sounds callous
It often feels callous
A steady rain
A dripping tap
The pesky voice that compels me to turn on the computer, to pick up the phone, to get in the car
I am not fond of the idea of my life being defined and dictated by ‘to do lists’.
Surely it is more than that.
And it is…
Life is about tea parties with 2 little girls, 3 stuffed bears and a toy dog called Princess Coriander.
It is about book clubs that spend more time choosing books than reading books
It is about coffee being the first thing you smell in the morning.
It is Betel gardening services
It’s about smiling at the checkout chick and asking her how her day is.
It is Ricky Gervais on the iPod
Josh Rouse in the stereo
Mickey Mouse in the DVD player
It is admitting to liking old school British TV dramas, to seeing Andy Warhol’s point, eating chocolate covered pretzels, wandering aimlessly through large shopping centres on hot days, needing study plans and watching foreign movies without the subtitles.
It is dance concerts, cupcakes, books, photos, movies, freshly picked rosemary, the first mangoes of the season, new friends, old friends, wine, food, and family.
It is spending the weekend away with friends who believe what you believe, who speak the same language, whose values parallel yours, who for spending the night eating and drinking constitutes a night well spent, and it is choosing to know them and to let them know you.
It is choosing to come away for the weekend with new friends and old friends and to focus on the things that are important and life-giving.
It is choosing for an allegiance to be more than a word. For it to become a way of breathing and living.
C. S. Lewis about community says, ‘He works on us in all sorts of ways. But above all, he works on us through each other. Men are mirrors, or “carriers” of Christ to other men. Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important. It is so easy to think that the church has a lot of different objects – education, buildings, missions, holding services…the Church exists for no other purpose but to draw men to Christ. To make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose’.
So Jesus, I, we, pray:
There are things in life that are necessary. But let us major on the things that are optional. The things that make us more human, more divine, more like you. The weddings, the babies, the dinners, the friends, the lost.
Let this weekend together be about being a student of your ways and your heart. May we get it right, and choose to be students; hanging onto every word you speak. To sit with you, to sit with each other. To laugh and to giggle. To teach and more importantly, be taught.
Jesus, let us learn what it means to be a community, to be friends, to be family.
Jesus let us learn of the Spirit, its gentleness, its determination, its necessity in our lives.
Jesus let us learn to be carriers of Christ, to old friends and new friends.
Let this weekend be about life, not ‘to do lists’.