Just a couple of thoughts that have been swirling around my mind in the past week.
The first one is from the talk Rupert gave on Sunday – what answer do we have for death?
Rupert talked about how we trust the small things to people who are competent at the big things (like, a brain surgeon could be trusted for getting a splinter out, or an experienced dancer could be relied upon to be a good teacher of the basic steps).
It follows, he said, that anyone who can answer the most difficult question we face in life, should also be trusted in their answers for how to deal with the smaller things of life. The difficult question he proposed was, ‘What’s your answer for death?‘ Anyone able to give a compelling answer in this area, he said, could be trusted with all else.
In Jesus, we find a compelling answer. Someone who recognised death as a problem, and had an answer for it – literally bringing life out of death.
I thought about this yesterday as I was chatting to someone at the university fresher’s fair, who ran a ‘Longevity Society’ – all about answering what we should do in the face of death. It was so interesting to talk to someone honestly and openly about the challenge and awfulness of death. It reminded me of a lady called Claire who I met over the summer at London’s Waterloo station, at a point where her mother had just died. Death is truly an awful thing, and we must work out how we respond to it’s seeming finality.
This leads me to the second of the thoughts I’ve been having this week, which is just a continued remembrance of how helpless I am. That I am a part of God’s life more than He is a part of mine.
I can originate no answer to the question of death myself, but am dependent on the grace of One who has.
I’ve just started a book called ‘Prayer’ by Richard Foster, and one of the things he says near the start is that prayer helps us “pass from thinking of God as part of our life to the realisation that we are part of his life“.
This week as term has started and I’ve been suddenly really busy, and felt tired and uncertain of myself at different points, it’s been really helpful to remember a bigger picture that knows that I am not the Be All And End All.
At the student night at church we will be looking at Luke’s Gospel this term, and I was SO encouraged reading through Luke 1 a couple of days ago. Luke 1 is the chapter in which Zechariah is visited by an angel in the temple of the Lord – the holiest place you can enter – and told that he and his wife Elizabeth will have a child. I have found it so refreshing to think about a priest standing in the holiest place, encountering an angel, having a moment of disbelief, and questioning what has been told to him. It gives me hope.
This week I have had a lot of moments of feeling tired or unloving, and being too much aware that my sphere of concern is wider than that of my influence in an unhelpful way. I have kept reminding myself that all is Not dependent on me, and that the reason I have life is to the Glory of God and that all of my many (tired and unloving ways) are known, and yet I am still loved and all is well.
I am a part of God’s life, and what a joy that is.