My meditation today reflects on how our experiences of faith and love help us develop a deeper relationship with God. It leaves us with the thoughtful question, How am I building MY relationship with Jesus?
Since writing that I have been answering the question for myself. Together with my wife, Pamela we have discovered how the Jesus friendship is built by life-events — joy and adversity, sorrow and pain — each one a lesson to bring us closer to Christ. We have learned anew how traveling along the way of the cross for and with others brings us very close to the heart of God. It has been our privilege to share pain with Christ and let him swamp the hurt with joy.
This year we were still coming to terms with the tragic death of our second daughter when Pamela suffered a serious stroke with complications, and our whole lifestyle changed overnight. Living in the moment, acquiring new caring skills, moving house — these have all been challenges to our faith. We have experienced what can only be seen as miracles of healing along with God's guidance and provision. It is easy to take basic blessings for granted, but we have been reminded of the embrace of our own family, even at a physical distance, plus the overwhelming support which comes from the loving fellowship of our wide Christian family.
Overall the letter L has figured largely in our spiritual journey. L has been for learning and that has been a wonderful experience bringing us closer to our Lord, teaching us more of him. But the letter L has also been our encouragement as we have developed a sort of motto or mantra together: Loving, Laughing and Leaning on the Lord. I commend it as a deeply rewarding Christian way of life.
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“Spiritual vitality in our churches stems from our openness to God’s transforming presence, not in anxious striving. Tending the soul of the congregation starts with attending to God’s presence in our lives as leaders, then bringing the same prayerful openness into the meetings and ministries of the church. Our work is to help the people to pay attention to, listen to, learn from, and live in the Spirit.” Read more.