Monthly Archives

August 2017

What Does It Mean To Be Contemplative? (Leighton Ford)

By | Life with God | No Comments

For many of us when we hear the word ‘contemplative’ we think of a monk, sitting for hours, eyes closed, hands folded, lost to the world around. Of course, such a monk is indeed a contemplative. But the idea of being contemplative is much bigger.

Contemplate is a two part word, compounded from the Latin ‘con’ (meaning ‘with’) and ‘templum’ (meaning ‘temple’), thus to observe things from a special place, and especially to observe in the presence of a deity. So a contemplative is one who looks at life in the presence of God, or we might say with the eyes of God, or though the eyes of Christ – at any time, not just special times; anywhere, not just in certain places; toward anyone, not just “special” people.

 

Leighton Ford

Adapted from The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence In All Things (2008, InterVarsity Press)

A Prayer (George Macdonald)

By | Poetry | No Comments

My prayers, my God, flow from what I am not;

I think thy answers make me what I am.

Like weary waves, thought follows upon thought,

But the still depth beneath is all thine own,

And there this mov’st in paths to us unknown.

Out of strange strife thy peace is strangely wrought;

If the lion in us pray, thou answerest the lamb.

 

George Macdonald

Reflecting On The Eclipse (Leighton Ford)

By | Reflections/Essays | No Comments

This week almost the entire nation stopped to pay attention to the total eclipse of the sun.

What an amazing spectacle as the power and beauty moved swiftly across the sky and was gone in a few seconds

Why, I wonder, do we not pause to take in the everyday miracles that surround us all the time?

As the poet Denise Levertov wrote, days pass when we forget the quiet mystery …

that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything.
rather than void; and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

What if we took a few moments every day to wonder at this?

We might truly live an attentive life.

 

Leighton Ford

 

Photo Credit: NASA

God’s Strong Voice

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Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s grandson – also named Winston S. Churchill – was once speaking at an occasion commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. He was approached afterward by a lady who related this personal story:

“Mr. Churchill, I was a girl of just twelve, living in the Ghetto at the time of the Uprising as the Nazi storm-troopers were attacking us to take us to concentration camps. Whenever your grandfather broadcast over the BBC we would all crowd around the radio. I could not understand English but I knew that if my family and I were to have any hope of coming through this war, it depended entirely on this strong, unseen voice that I could not understand”.

The power of a voice – even when one cannot understand the words.

The much greater power of a voice – when one can understand the words and they are words of life.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” – Jeremiah 33:3

 

Hope In Insecure Times (Leighton Ford)

By | Reflections and Readings | No Comments

When the morality of the Judeo-Christian tradition was firmly in place, society could be somewhat assured that scientists would use their knowledge in ethical ways, for the betterment of the human race. Today we have no such assurances…many postmodern people see the possibilities that await them on the horizons of science – and they are justifiably scared.

As the foundations of the modern mindset continue to crumble, the world increasingly becomes a frightening and insecure place…people are searching for new directions and answers. As a result of the confusion and disquiet generated by the swift change that has come upon the world, we now see…our opportunity as Christians in a postmodern world: people need what the Gospel offers – meaning, hope, and absolute truth.

Despite the strong challenges that face us, the Christian Story has never had a greater opportunity for advance than it does right now.

 

Leighton Ford

Adapted from The Power of Story (2015, LFM)

Repentance and Going Forward (C.S. Lewis)

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We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. There is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it’s pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We’re on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.

 

-C.S. Lewis

Christian Faith Is Congruent (Eugene Peterson)

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The Christian life is the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congruence – congruence between ends and means, congruence between what we do and the way we do it, congruence between what is written out in Scripture and our living out what is written, congruence between a ship and its prow, congruence between preaching and living, congruence between the sermon and what is lived in both preacher and congregation, the congruence of the Word made flesh in Jesus with what is lived in our flesh.

-Eugene Peterson

 

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