Lent 2013 – day 21

5 Mar

Psalm 139:19-22
If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

I am about to go away for 48 hours with a group of youth workers from across the Chelmsford diocese on a retreat. One of the things I love about these kind of events is spending time in the company of Christians, both in times of organised worship and simply being Christians doing stuff. I have found that being in a Christian community environment is a really peaceful time, as the stresses and strains of normal life disappear for the time I am there and I really don’t like when it ends because, even if you live in a Christian household, it means returning to a world that is not always the most helpful when trying to live for Christ.

When I am away with just other Christians for company I feel like I am able to be better than I am normally. I feel like temptations are easier to reject and that they are far less frequent in occurrence. It makes me realise why monasteries and convents were set up, because people valued the sharing of life in a space dedicated to God. But then there is the return to the real world, with all that it entails.

The joys of being away are the separation from the world where the “wicked” and the “bloodthirsty men” are. The temptations that the world has to offer are removed. However this is not what we are called to in perpetuity. In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus talks about salt and light. He points out that salt must not lose its saltiness if it is to remain of use and a light must not be hidden, or it is of no use.

So the idea of going away and living in a Christian community is a great one for helping to keep your own salt from diluting. But the time to leave is equally important as it is then that we take our salt into the world. For if the world does not have spiritual salt, how can others come to know how to become salty too?

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

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