07 June 2006

Eaton Ford - Shops and balloon

< 31st May 2006 | Index | 13th June 2006 >

We talked for a long time this evening, and the topics were wide ranging and apparently not particularly 'spiritual', yet it turned out in the end that the Holy Spirit had guided us to cover a particular area of life in some depth and we took away his insight on the topic.

Inside a shopWe began by talking about shopping and supermarkets, and how the little shops in town have been closing in the face of competition from Tesco, Lidl, Waitrose, Rainbow etc. We realised that people's needs change over the years and they might use Tesco when they have a young family, but a smaller shop when they're older.

The idea of one little lie getting out of control also came up in conversation, and we considered how people sometimes construct a bigger untruth to hide the first, and then a third, and how this process can cascade out of control. It's human nature to hide what is unpleasant and ignore what is dangerous. This is reflected in today's dreadful news story about motorists driving round a child injured in a hit and run road accident. people don't want to get involved. But how do they explain themselves later? This event was almost like the Good Samaritan parable where they all passed by on the other side.

Hot air balloonWe thought about the story of the lion and the lamb in the new creation, lying down together. In all of these things the Spirit of Christ seemed to be telling us to look beyond the outside and be concerned with the inside. he wants us to recognise that there's a process going on, but it's what is inside or underlying the outward events that is important. There are actions but there are also motives, and the motives are more important.

John's fishtank is beautiful; it contains fish, corals, a shrimp, hermit crabs, a complete ecosystem. But it's small and needs pumps and filters and care to keep it healthy and stable. But natural systems are so much larger, for example coral reefs or forests. They keep themselves clean and balanced.

As the conversation moved towards seeing the application of these things in the spiritual realm, we understood that we need to do things like prayer and Bible reading as a result of knowing Father and wanting to know him better. Doing them as a chore or a ritual is no good and is certainly not what Father requires. Even good things like these are empty (Ecclesiastes) if the reason for doing them doesn't spring from Father. The motives for everything must be our love for him and for one another, that's where the life is. There is no life in anything or anyone else.

We saw our need to be open to the possibility (certainty?) that we are wrong about things, but also realised that we're very good at kidding ourselves!

Val asked Chris to share the waterfall picture that he'd sent to the Koinonia Life list. John pointed out that people standing nearby will get damp even if they're not directly in the falling water, particularly if they're there for a long time. This is a very good point, the water spreads out as a drifting mist and affects anyone in the vicinity.

Val interpreted a tongue. The Spirit said, 'Rest in me, you are safe, don't be afraid'. His words to us through Val were comforting and reassuring, but once again there was the sense that he does everything necessary and we just stay in the right place.

And right at the end of the evening Rachael shared a picture of a hot air balloon. This really summed up the thrust of the meeting. We were in the balloon and as we moved along through the air we were able to look down at the other people being busy on the ground. We just floated along peacefully with no effort. We are guided and moved by his Spirit; but we must be in the right place if this is to happen (for example, in the basket of the balloon).

< 31st May 2006 | Index | 13th June 2006 >

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