Sunday, 19 February 2017
Journal: a week in reflection
The Christian life is about discipline and love, the latter being so very popular, for who among us likes discipline? But this has been a week where discipline has cropped up in so many forms and guises and there're have been blessings, curses, inspiration and depressing meeting of expectations to be found in it all.
Discipline, for me, has two basic strands: Imposed discipline and self-discipline. As the Bible says in Psalm 32: "Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control."
Self-discipline is an essential element if Christianity is going to have any value or meaning for us. ITs great to live in a world where we speak of love, but that love needs to have substance and shape and meaning, but all too often all it has isa desire for something warm, soft and fuzzy. Love is not merely affirming what people do - I'm sorry to say that this is not love. Love corrects as well as affirms and all too often the Church, in all it's affirming of things that common sense, traditional values and Biblical entreaty says should be spoken against - is paving the way to the demise of itself and condemning some to becoming less than they could be.
Galatians six tells us to combat sinful action gently, because to do otherwise is to tempt ourselves to fall into sin, and to offer correction such that the person 'sinning' is corrected. This is the applying of the 'bit and bridle' to a situation to steer people away from the wrong stuff. The problem is that we don't want to look like we are not an approving body, so we approve everything and anything in a hope that this will make us look 'nice'. But you know what?
Church just ain't nice sometimes - it tells people what they don't want to hear because that's its job! It is there to be light - showing up the stuff that isn't right - and to be salt - bringing healing, some taste to the proceedings and stopping the whole thing from becoming rotten.
Most of the burning issues this week were to do with discipline and where necessary I have pointed out the Biblical principles and demands and drawn lines, not harshly (for the potential for me sinning and them continuing to sin is great when we don our Vlad the Impaler kit) but using the voice of reason and informing the other party.
Would telling them they were great and putting aside the Bible and affirming them and a turning a blind eye to whatever it is that they were doing have built the Church? Nah, think not!
Would being sensitive (which means lying to affirm what we'd otherwise be thinking might be wrong) bring them to a place or right thinking or fill our pews? Of course not!!
Church is inclusive - it is a body that accepts all people regardless.
Church is a bunch of people who say, "Come as you are - expect to leave different."
Church is affirming but not permissive.
Wouldn't it be nice if Church, which is merely a bunch of people getting together, took the words of the Bible seriously and worried about being something practical rather than a bunch of bleeding heart 'do gooders' (the words of a non-Christian) and got out there a did good (and God).
Lord, as a new week is about to be unwrapped, may we reveal the Son through our actions and attitudes - May we preach the Gospel in love and living - and may self-discipline be a hallmark of that which others see.
Thank you for your Grace, Your daily bread and Your infinite love.
This place of reflection is here for me to dialogue internally and gain insight and perspective. It first appeared in this current form for some of those looking at creating their own journal as part of the their journey to discerning vocation. The Morning prayer is there also for that same purpose: to create the discipline of prayer.