“The intrigue of the table in Psalm 23 has marked my life as a pastor. The metaphor mixes itself in glory. The shepherd becomes the sheep and God becomes the shepherd. There is no flock. There are only two. The shepherd and his love walk along and uninterrupted from the pleasant fields through the threatening chasm and back again. Their glory is not the path they walk but their togetherness. And how do we come to the table in the wilderness? Exactly as we would to any other table – hungry. Our hunger is for him whom we really can never know fully in a group, no matter how religious that group is.” Calvin Miller
“He lays no great burden upon us — a little remembrance of him from time to time, a little adoration; sometimes to pray for his grace, sometimes to offer him your sorrows, sometimes to return him thanks for the benefits he has bestowed upon you and is still bestowing in the midst of your troubles. He asks you to console yourself with him the oftenest you can. Lift up your heart to him even at your meals, or when you are in company — the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to him. You need not cry very loud: he is nearer to us than we think. To be with God, there is no need to be continually in church.” Brother Lawrence
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”
Psalm 23: 1,2
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you seeking something from God at church, which you “can never know fully in a group?”
- Does being “continually in church” seem to you like the key to being near to God? Can you imagine how it could actually be a major hindrance?
- During a typical day, do you “console yourself with [God] the oftenest you can?” Have you considered setting specific daily times to recalibrate your relationship with God? to remember who you are to him? to remember to be aware that God is “nearer to you than you think?”
“Amidst the tiredness that overcomes my body and the tensions that linger in my mind, amidst the uncertainties and fears that haunt me in the darkness of the night, let me know your presence, O God, let my soul be alive to your nearness.” John Philip Newell
For More: Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter by John Philip Newell
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks for reading and sharing this! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“Fellowship with Christ is a table only for two — set in the wilderness. Inwardness is not a gaudy party, but the meeting of lovers in the lonely desert of the human heart. There, where all life and fellowship can hold no more than two, we sit together and he speaks as much as we, and even when both of us say nothing there is our welded oneness. And suddenly we see we cannot be complete until his perfect presence joins with ours.” Calvin Miller
“The priest looked at her sharply. ‘You can offer idleness to God,’ he said. ‘Unemployment, idleness, whatever. To do nothing in someone’s presence is a greater compliment than being busy and preoccupied.'” Gail Morgan
“To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. This requires not only courage but also a strong faith. As hard as it is to believe that the dry desolate desert can yield endless varieties of flowers, it is equally hard to imagine that our loneliness is hiding unknown beauty. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it is the movement from the restless sense to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.” Henri Nouwen
“When Jesus is present, all is well, and nothing seems difficult;
but when Jesus is absent, everything is hard.”
Thomas a Kempis
“Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Behind your outward religious life, is there a hidden, intimate spiritual life just between you and Christ – where you meet as if “at a table only for two?”
- Are you working, when loneliness overcomes you, to embrace it as a divine guide into a potent solitude instead, where you are “alone” but “Jesus is present?”
- Have you determined to keep your most intimate life with God a private matter between you and God, so as not to demean it or puff up yourself?
Abba, meet with me in the lonely desert of my human heart. Teach me how to be unbusy and unpreoccupied in your presence, attending to you in love.
For More: The Table of Inwardness by Calvin Miller
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”