I am approaching that time of year, in my preparation and planning, that I refer to as “the bosses birthday”. Christmas
There are services to plan, activities to co-ordinate, visits to make, family responsibilities and a diary full of places to be and things to do. All this happens before the big day itself.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not moaning or complaining. I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of ministers go through this routine year on year.
This year, I decided to take some deliberate, purposeful action during this rush time. I have been trying to keep an eye on the “inward movement of my heart” as Ignatitus of Loyola would describe it. Was my heart being drawn towards God or, was the pressure of day to day pulling my heart away from God.?
Why this focus at this time? It came from some reflections following my time reading an excellent Grove Booklet written by Graham Archer called “Don’t Lose Heart” in which he quotes Eric Devenport, the Bishop of Dunwich, speaking at a retreat in 1983. He says;
Clergy sometimes burn out, and that is a terrible thing; but more often they freeze up, grow cold and lose their passion. This is a very dangerous thing for the church, because all might appear well from the outside, but at heart level, the fire has gone out.
As I reflected on that quote I found myself thinking about how easy it is to, outwardly, go through the “Christian motions” whilst, inwardly, we are empty, dry and barren. As I have noticed the movement of my own heart, at those times when I feel my heart is moving from God I have tried to understand why this is happening and have sought to refocus myself. I found myself reading Hebrews 12 vs. 2 where the writer says we should
Fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12 vs 2)
He is absolutely right. When my focus is on Jesus, my heart is drawn more towards Him. When my focus is elsewhere then, my heart is drawn towards that. But how have I been doing that? Well, Eugene Peterson in his “The Message” version of the Bible translates Psalm 46 vs. 10 as;
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God,
There have been times when I have needed to “step out of the traffic”. To re-fix my eyes on Jesus and allowed my heart to be drawn closer to,Him. Where is your heart drawn at this time?