Letting go and letting God

Although I was nowhere near the sea on that evening of 18 June 1994, images of water and sea filled my mind.

I suppose I was standing on the edge of something that frightened me, rather like a child not daring to leave the wet sand on the sea shore and paddle into deeper water. A naturally cautious person, I can be risk-averse.
I was staying in a convent on an individual silent retreat weekend. I had booked in for the retreat to create space at a time when I was feeling stressed for several reasons. I was also wrestling with the horrible suspicion that God might be calling me to ordination as a priest in the Church of England. I was resisting the idea. No, I did not want to be ordained. That was for other people, definitely not me.

During the weekend I read a book I found on a convent shelf. This was 'Pray as you can: discovering your own prayer ways' by Jean Gill, Ave Maria Press 1989. These words on page 15 challenged me:

"All of us are surrounded by God;it is a matter of w…

Trinity Sunday: on not explaining the doctrine

Trying to explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity is like trying to pour the sea into a hole in sand, using only a small bucket.

That bucket could never contain the whole mystery of the one God, who is Creator, Redeemer and Life-Giver.

Here's a story I like for Trinity Sunday:
A child dug a hole in a beach. She ran to the sea, filled her beach bucket with water and excitedly brought it back to fill the hole. The water gradually seeped into the sand and disappeared. Undaunted, she went back for more. The same thing happened. Over and over again she ran to the sea, filled her bucket and poured water into the hole. In spite of all her efforts she discovered that she couldn’t fill the hole.
The child began to cry. Her father comforted her and pointed out that the tide was coming in and this would change things. Her father helped her dig a channel towards the sea, so that with the incoming tide, the water would flow into the hole and fill it.
Those of us who think about such thin…

Resisting God

Yesterday in my post for Ascension Day I linked to the prayer initiative 'Thy Kingdom Come'.

'Thy Kingdom Come' is an international and ecumenical call to prayer, for Christians to join together in the 10 days from Ascension Day to Pentecost to pray for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.

It was Jesus who taught his followers to pray 'Thy Kingdom come'. When we pray that prayer we are asking for God's rule of love, justice and peace to be made as real on earth as it is in heaven. It is not something we can pray regularly without seeing that changes need to be made, not only in the world 'out there' or in 'those people', but changes in ourselves as followers of Jesus.

One of the reasons we may find it hard to pray, or may avoid prayer, is our unwillingness to allow God to transform us to become more like Jesus, whose life on earth so perfectly embodied the values of God's kingdom. If you don't know what those values are, then take …