Friday, February 02, 2007

Strangely Warmed

In this world I walk alone with no place To Call My Home But there’s one who holds my hand The rugged road, Through barren land. The way is dark, The road is steep. But he’s become My eyes to see. The strength to climb, My griefs to bear The saviour lives Inside me there. In your love I find release. A haven from, my unbelief. Take my life and let me be, a living prayer, my god to thee. In these trials of life I’ve found Another voice inside my mind. He comforts me, and bids me live inside the love the Father gives. In your love I find release, a have from my unbelief. Take my life and let me be, a living prayer, my god to thee. Take my life and let me be, a living prayer, my god to thee.
John Wesley wrote, famously, of being strangely warmed after a meeting in Aldersgate. This, for him, was the point (literal) of conversion which changed his life forever. This moment of realisation of the message contained within the bible is indeed a challenging one. But one of the lasting impacts of this has been the very touchy feeley nature of Methodism. I'll come clean. I am a rather withdrawn yet emotional person who enjoys exploring the touchy feely side of things. Touchy feely of how others feel but also in terms of a very visual hymnal that evokes many powerful and stirring thoughts and images that stay with me (not all pleasant or enjoyable!). One of the most profound moments of this side (of Methodism) is the annual Covenant Prayer. A week or so ago the Alison Krauss (amazing bluegrass/folk singer) song "A Living Prayer" was first played to me and it has stayed with me ever since. There is something so incredibly touching and personal about it. It is an incredibly lonely song, it brings to mind images of isolation and sadness yet within all that is contained a message of joy and excitement. This concept of this god being with us throughout our brigether and darker times and , that it is through all these our lives our transformed and we should become a living prayer (outpouring of Gods love). A challenge to us all in a most challenging time. Faced with local, national and international disasters that appear shaped by human hand it is all to easy to throw back your head and if not wail in dispire just quietly give up hope for the future. Yet by allowing ourselves to step back and become immersed in this god stuff, this Jesus dude, who walked and talked about peace, justice and love for all we can all begin to take a new approach for the world. This approach starts outside of ourselves as it comes with a caveat of looking out for others as you would treat yourself and once you start doing that then your entire interaction with the world is transformed, for the better. Yet it also does have shades of dark and gloom. Why do we pray? If we doubt fully what prayer does and is then how can we become a living prayer? At first I would be tempted to answer with a waggle of the eyebrows (in a homage to Archbishop Williams) and just say "the eternal mystery of faith" but it is something deeper than that. I find it a feeling that I can't name or put my hand on but that is just there. So, some pause for thought this w/end. Take Care Y'All John

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