Sometimes there is a song that resonates deep within your soul. There is a song by Godfrey Birtill entitled ‘One Touch from the King changes everything’ which does that for me. It talks about a great darkness in our land and cries out to God in lament, for the light of the world to come and ‘change everything’.
The Bishop of Oxford (Steven Croft) was in the Deanery recently, sharing his vision for the Diocese. It was a simple and yet incredibly profound talk. Our aim should be to become more ‘Christ like’, and he used the beatitudes as a template for how this might be achieved. It is available on his blog (https://blogs.oxford.anglican.org/a-year-of-listening/). This word cloud illustrates it perfectly.
Friar and Priest Richard Rohr wrote recently :"The words action and contemplation have become classic Christian terminology for the two dancing polarities of our lives. Thomas Aquinas and many others stated that the highest form of spiritual maturity is not action or contemplation, but the ability to integrate the two into one life stance—to be service-oriented contemplatives or contemplative activists."
Contemplation is the ancient tradition of resting in God practiced by mystics since the birth of Christianity, and more recently is embodied by ‘soaking’ meetings.
Pentecostals used to call them ‘tarrying’ meetings. My spiritual director is an associate of a convent, and was invited to the 30-minute silence before compline, which is held in darkness. She was warned not to trip over the prone sisters!
This time with God, where we just rest in his presence, does deep work. We receive his perspective, his heart, and his focus. It changes us. Richard Rohr says that true prayer happens to us – not to God, and there is truth in that.
Jesus, in John 14, tells us: "If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. … Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
And there we have it – our vocation as those whom God loves is to obey his commands!
And what are his commands – to be compassionate, loving. John 13:34 tells us:
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
And this is where courage is needed. Loving one another is challenging, risky and time consuming. It is investing in others, often at cost to ourselves. So, can I encourage us all to be courageous in starting this process off – by committing ourselves to spend time just to be with God, and allow him to touch our souls and change us forever. One touch from the King will change everything …