Thursday, April 21, 2005

Contemplative Space

Yesterday Laurence Freeman gave a talk on prayer at La Trobe. We had around 40 people, mainly staff and although the numbers weren’t huge, the quality of the gathering was wonderful. One staff member wrote this morning to say that, “the talk was clear, crisp, precise - absolutely every word was carefully selected, and the whole was inspired by a great spirit,” and that’s right to the point. There were a couple of students who were talking to Freeman afterwards about how their experience of Tibetan Buddhism opened them to a deeper return to Christian roots. Also a guy that was asking whether Jesus was universal or unique. Two wide ways of being in the room yesterday: whether you are there for doctrinal truth or to deepen and enlarge the place where you encounter some face of sacred truth.

Freeman said something interesting on the uniqueness of Jesus. Quoting the tail end of Matthew where Jesus welcomes people who served him in the hungry, sick, lonely, imprisoned; he made the point that the people who Jesus welcomes into his presence for serving him in these people – that these people didn’t know him. And it didn’t matter to Jesus, he was glad to see them because they did the stuff he saw as important: walked the walk, rather than just talking the talk.

Two things hit me here. The unhealthy preoccupation of some folks in churches with statements of belief rather than deeds and actions; and whether I am too much a talker and not enough of a doer. Though maybe that’s part of my “cross,” that I talk a better game than I live. “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach!” has a lot of truth to it. But even the old singing teacher who has little voice left has her function, her unfinished ministry, and that might be enough.

Anyway, back to basics, judge not.

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