more, not less, but also less, not more

Oh, how I love your law!
    I meditate on it all day long.

Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is the great psalm and scripture that one might call, in fact I am nearly sure I read this in connection with the psalm: in praise of God’s word. Of course we refer now to the written word, scripture, the Bible. I find that I need to be in the word more, not less, especially when there is so much on my plate in life, and pressures from various places seem overwhelming. It is often best to focus on one matter at a time, get that done, and then go to the next. In this life it’s never done; there’s always something more pressing us. And the world wants to crash in as well. There’s the tidal wave of US politics and all the controversy and divisiveness surrounding that. And all kinds of other things which can occupy so much of our attention.

I like liturgical churches, myself, where Holy Communion is celebrated every week, and it’s considered more than a symbol. And I read somewhere that instead of thinking one has to be in the word more, that kind of service helps us to be centered in the Lord apart from that, since most people just can’t sustain such a practice. I do think such a service helps keep the gospel front and center, and certainly the public reading of scripture is a big part of those times. And there’s always the danger of hearing, hearing, and hearing more of God’s word, while not sufficiently putting it into practice, as James warns us.

But I need to be lifted beyond my own thoughts, and perspective. And I need to get into the flow of God’s word, so that I can begin to see God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will, even God himself, of course in and through Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit. Reading scripture, and hearing it read (click the icon on the upper right to listen to Psalm 119, which is available in that translation from any scripture).

At the same time though, I also find that I need less, not more. Maybe in a sense that’s true of the word, though I think we both need to read, or hear read large portions of it at a time, and also slowly meditate on it. What I’m referring to now though is simply refusing to be taken into the more that needs to be done, and simply setting aside time to rest. Yes, unplugged. Even to do nothing, nothing at all, except maybe to simply be somewhere. With shoes kicked off, relaxing. Maybe in just hours of silence. Rest, and along with that something other than work, which we enjoy doing.

We need both more and less. A kind of rhythm in life in which actual physical rest is taken seriously so that we practice it. While we seek to remain in God’s word, in scripture. And along with that, in silence before him. Lifted beyond our own thoughts and troubles, and the chaos of this world, into God’s presence and counsel. Hopefully that practice along with the rest going together, in and through Jesus.

conversation

Yesterday with a brother in Jesus at work, I had a fun time conversing about the interest in music we have in common, mostly about “progressive rock” groups. If you know me, you know that my love for classical music has taken over, so that is mostly all the music I listen to anymore.

Conversation about common interests can be underrated. I found it uplifting and fun. It doesn’t have to be about “spiritual” matters. While I don’t always see eye to eye with Rob Bell, or maybe more accurately, understand what he’s getting at, I do agree with his point about all things being spiritual in the sense of breaking down the sacred, secular dichotomy, a false dualism. And yet there are dualisms which we must heed. We are after all, not to love the world or the things in the world, in the sense of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. However we can appreciate all the good in creation, including human culture, apart from that.

Back to the subject conversation, it is good to be able to share one’s heart and mind with others. To listen. To enjoy their take and thoughts. It is nice to connect with someone like that, as I did with my brother yesterday. Something of “heaven” is in that. We need to be able to converse with others with our guard down, not being concerned about something stupid we may say, since we know we won’t be judged, but all is grace. Unfortunately this is more rare than we might imagine, a gift not to be taken for granted. Something to be cultivated.

Even as we seek to live and speak truth in difficult settings. Together in God’s grace in Jesus.