Thursday, 12 September 2013
Dear Inner Circle,
A young minister this week told me how in his country church he'd befriended a man who had been out of work for some time. In due course the man found work and the family built themselves into the life of the little church community. The man talked about "God providing his job" and it seemed like things were looking up. At his first Christmas party, the man hit a truck on his way home and was killed. The wife told her three sons that "God had taken their father home." My friend, the young minister, was called to the home and as he walked through the front door, the three young boys spat on him. In the circumstances, he would have been happy to spit on himself. It was a tough way to learn the folly of silly language and of the notion of a Santa Claus God. It was a tough way to learn that life comes with no guarantees and that we only have the day that we're in. It was a tough way to learn that all love does, is love.
When my boy was just little, I used to mostly bring him home some little gift, generally a lolly. After one busy day I walked in to our home and he immediately checked all my pockets looking for his lolly. I had to say, "Sorry, sweetheart, Dad has had such a busy day today that he hasn't got any lollies but only love." My boy threw the biggest fit that a four year old was capable of throwing. I laugh as I look back on the moment but I've often been just like him, chasing things of no consequence and being bitterly disappointed with that which is really worth everything.
I'm a slow learner but I'm these days losing interest in the things that appear most desirable and the things that promise much but deliver little. I've accepted that I will never be a fashion icon. My doctor, not long ago, told me I was obese. "What are you going to do about it?" she said. "Change doctors," I said. I've come to terms with the idea that I won't be here for long and I'm determined to look for and find the beauty of each day. I'm keen that my feet take me to the places I'd want to be found on my last day. The freer I get from my own ego and the less I offer arguments in my own defence, the more I really live and the more I really love.
I've been at a retreat for ministers this week and while it has been a good escape for me, you can start to overdose on religious people. I told you I wouldn't send a note this week but I'm playing hooky for just a minute so that I take time to write my weekly note to you, our inner circle. I'm keen to be back to Wayside now and I expect that as usual, I'll share more in the divine beauty and presence there. The Wayside Chapel is the perfect place for me to live and to be a minister. Jesus was not crucified on a gold cross between two candles but on a splintery old cross between two thieves.
Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Rev. Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Click here to listen to podcasts of past Inner Circle's, aired on ABC 702's 'Afternoons with James Valentine'
Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor
Previous Inner Circles
5 September: A little dose of good
29 August: Fighting with a feather
22 August: The boom is just beginning
15 August: True riches
8 August: Small is beautiful
1 August: Sensitive people miss all the best views
25 July: A whole lot going on at wayside
18 July: Kings Cross a place of courage
27 June: Holy ground