Monday, December 18, 2006

A time for everything

My friend Eva preached one of the most brilliant sermons I've ever heard on the passage from Eccesiastes about there being a time for everything. It was brilliant because she focused on "a time to hate" and talked about the excellence, necessity, and christianity of hatred.
Here's the negative half of the passage

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: ...a time to die, ... a time to uproot, a time to kill, ... a time to tear down, ... a time to weep, ... a time to mourn, ... a time to scatter stones, ... a time to refrain from embracing, ... a time to give up, ... a time to throw away, ... a time to tear, ... a time to be silent, a time to hate, ... a time for war.

My friend Helen Mildenhall asked on her blog "Do you have any traditions you observe at this time of year?" I thought for only a moment and realized that the main tradition I observe at this time of year is to feel and think in even more depressed and negative ways than I normally do. My friend Anuj said to me a couple days ago that it is his perception that I am a fairly negative person. I told him that this is also my perception, and I try not to feel too negative towards myself for being too negative. hehe. Some people just see the dark sides of things. It's easy and comfortable for me to do this--it comes as naturally to me as walking or ... reading and writing. The trick, I think, is to increase my skill in the area of loving people, and loving myself, without having to completely wrest my personality--to somehow grow in my ability to see the good and to embrace hope in order to balance out--not to destroy, but to balance out--my darkishness.

Here's George's entry from Diary of an Old Soul for December 16

The life that hath not willed itself to be,
Must clasp the life that willed, and be at peace;
Or, like a leaf wind-blown, through chaos flee;
A life-husk into which the demons go,
And work their will, and drive it to and fro;
A thing that neither is, nor yet can cease,
Which uncreation can alone release.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,

I saw Megan and met your girls on the weekend and they are all gorgeous and beautiful and missing you.

About the Ecclesiastes passage; to me it seems to be about balance, and without the 'positive' parts of each statement that balance is lost. I think I understand the point you are making, that if you concentrate only on the sweetness and light of life and God you are missing the reality of the hardship, grief etc that make up the whole of life. However, the same applies in the opposite direction.

This Christmas is sad for me and my family because my father is dying of lung and bone cancer and is unlikely to live more than a few more weeks. So celebrating in some ways seems futile and pointless. Yet amidst all the grief there is joy in a family supporting each other more and better than ever before (whilst still driving each other nuts), in children who will love Christmas no matter what, and in the grace and good will shown by friends and even strangers.

me said...

hey ya ben. i think sometimes, there is an element of negativity that comes from past words people speak to us. God spoke us into being - words that give life. he declared us to be good ... and as brennan manning says, with an incredible capacity for beeer!Where you have had people speak words about you that are not true, and do not lead you to growth, but destroy, i think you can bring that to god. God heals that kind of stuff. In my experience its been in a community of people who believe in jesus, and can speak god;s truth into your heart and mind and spirit. The cross of jesus, is not just jesus dying for my sins (and hte sins i have done to others), but nailing to the cross the sins done to me by others too. And with the resurrection, is the promise of new life now. In giving to god the hurt he will slowly (sometimes fastly) heal the negative stuff.
just by way of an aside, i think that being able to see and critique the world, not as being negative - i think it is biblical to call God to account for the things he has promised. The great intercessors, and great biblical prayers are often like this: moses in the dessert with god when god was going to walk out - moses called him to account... habbakuk ... the list goes on. I guess what i ranted about in the beginning, was being negative in terms of not seeing yourself accurately - not seeing the good. And in terms of god changing stuff in you , he won;t change your good essence - the stuff that makes you you, just heal the hardness that masks pain.. that's my experience anyway. and yes, to christmas being hard times as well as good times. life in all its ups and downs, seems to be magnified at christmas!

me said...

oops, also, God heals everyone's thinking, not just negativity!

Megs said...

Hello darling one! I love you!
I was just telling my Jones family about Eva's sermon and the lovely comfort of the crying session we all had at the end of it - that was very healing! I love you Bens! And hello Kate! Hello Rhea!! Excellent comments indeed.

I love you Bens. I love the way you love George. I never fully understand what he means, but love the mystery, the wonder, the gentleness, the soft light in a dim darkness his words shine.

See you in a month!!!!
Love ever,
your Megs
PS Eowyn and Coco built sandcastles today with you inside, by a roaring fire. We love you! You're our most important person!!!

Megs said...

Kate, you're in my prayers as you go up to see your parents and brothers. It was amazing and wonderful to see you!

Bens, you're in my prayers... I love you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Megs,

Isn't it funny that we're using someone else's blog for a dialogue between ourselves!