During Lent the Bread Lines Columns will be from
“A Practical Christianity” by Jane Shaw
The spontaneous glimpse of God working in the world is always an unexpected delight, but it can be frustrating fleeting if we are not intentional about seeking it. As Virginia Hamilton Adair puts it in her poem:
When we forget it is there,
then it is gone,
and we are left outside
until we remember.
Especially during the season of Lent, with the energy of intention all around, how do we develop a way of life that enables us to be intentional about seeing the world as it is, shot through with God? How do we train ourselves to ‘see’ in a regular way the God of mystery, the unfathomable, the unseeable, the Creator God? For just about everything in our busy western lives conspires us to forget. And this is not only in secular culture. The Protestant work ethic beats fast in all our hearts without even knowing.
So, on one side, we have the busyness of everyday life of working days which extend into evenings, of family life where one meal a week together is a miracle, or working parents for whom multi-tasking is a way of life, of single parents struggling to raise children on the poverty line. On the other side, we have the daunting vastness of the mystery of God, the seeming impossibility of beginning a spiritual life. Is it not easier to rely on those spontaneous glimpses of the divine? Should we not leave consistent praying to those who are called to it---monks and nuns? And yet I think that most people want more. I side with William James who believed that human nature is fundamentally religious. When I pray I long for more, and I know the answer to that is a regular and disciplined prayer life. W. R. Inge, an Anglican priest and theologian who led the revival of interest in mysticism in the early twentieth century, was for many years Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, wrote, “How can we see God if we do not long to see him? . . . Religion is the thirst for God, and its satisfaction.”
Assignments for food for our Lenten Study are listed below—two people will be responsible each week. You can work together to decide what you want to bring—example pizza and salad.
March 28: Jana and Charlie