Friday, February 14, 2014

The first question (2)

Giving space
In the end they can only reply: 'Where are you staying?' This seems so  feeble and inadequate yet perhaps it is shows them overwhelmed by Jesus and stunned by his approachability.Maybe they hope that they might indeed be able to spend quality time with him? What we do know is that Jesus replies by inviting them to come with him and that he gives ample space and time to begin a relationship that will prove the most important force in their lives. 

The Christian journey begins as Jesus asks us about ourselves. Why? Because Christian faith involves a two-way relationship with Jesus where he wants us to be real with him. And this is no instant happening.  Divine friendship takes time to grow and these followers are only at the very beginning.  But Jesus is willing to give them all the space and time and time they need  He always does that.  Later he will say: Remain in me and I will remain in you John 15:4).   This start took a few hours but was to dominate the rest of their lifetimes.

Giving time today
Today, this two way relationship is more difficult because it involves the spiritual practice of Christian prayer that is unlike any other relationship in the world because it involves trusting God though you cannot see him.  Jesus did not make prayer complicated.  In fact, the very opposite. His only instruction is to find a private place, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret (Matt. 6:6).  There's a powerful and complex spiritual dynamic involved but you do not need to know how it works.  Just trust in Scripture's promise that Jesus is always praying for us (Heb 7:25) and the Holy Spirit is always helping us (Rom. 8:26) as we join in with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Someone once said that they couldn't do this because they didn't really know what they believed about God.  And the advice came back: "Tell God that you have trouble believing in him'.  When we create space and time to be honest with him, keep reading Scripture's big story to keep us grounded in his living word and come with open hearts, he promises to meet with us.  His presence is kindly, patient but also probing.  And, note that there were two people in the story - it always strengthens our prayer lives when we supplement private places with fellowhip prayer.

All this means a serious investment of time.  Human friendship doesn't develop overnight and divine friendship does not either.
And one thing more.....

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