Wednesday, 24 February 2010

me, me, me

Recently I went to see a performer called Mariza. She is Portuguese and sings fado which is a very mournful type of music; Portuguese blues if you like. However, she takes this type of music and makes it very accessible. Her band are excellent and she goes out of her way to make sure the person in the audience gets a great performance.
Towards the end of her show I realised that the most important person at the performance was not Mariza but me. This is the sign of a great performer. This is very refreshing in an age when one is made to feel a nobody if one is not a celebrity. Yet here was a true performer; someone who puts the people in the audience first.
I found a sort of parallel for the Christian life. We have made ourselves more important than our fellow human beings and more dangerously, God. We have made ourselves the centre of the universe. Walk past a graveyard and you will see a field full of people who may have thought the same. However, the grandiose tombstones after a few generations begin to be neglected. Thinking of your own demise is a good way to put your life in perspective.
The truly liberated man or woman is he or she who gives up his or her life for others.

By making himself his own goal and objective, man became 'his own idol' ( according to St. Andrew of Crete ) Of his own free will he broke off his iconic relationship with God and impeded his movement towards Him. He made himself autonomous, limited himself to created time and space, to his created nature, with the physiological result that a spiritual famine broke out within him. Panayiotis Nellas.

Saturday, 6 February 2010


When I was young the Anglican Church had a tenuous hold on my life. I was told about Lent as being a time when you gave up something like chocolate or chewing gum. Fasting was never fully explained. Like many others I tried it for a week and gave up. I think fasting is one of the most misunderstood practices in the Christian Church. This is not meant as a swipe at the Church of England by the way. I come from a generally apostate generation.

One aspect of fasting is that we give up on some of the regular elements of our life to show our dependence on God for all provision. I feel sorry for those who can not thank God for the good things in life like food ( Give thanks in all circumstances 1 Thess. 5. 16 ) In this respect I think Harvest Festival that I remember from my Church of England days is a joyous reminder of God's provision.

I just came across this:

So far from making us look on food as a defilement, fasting has exactly the opposite effect. Only those who have learnt to control their appetites through abstinence can appreciate the full glory and beauty of what God has given to us. To one who has eaten nothing for twenty-four hours, an olive can seem full of nourishment. A slice of plain cheese or a hardboiled egg never tastes so good as on Easter morning, after seven weeks of fasting. Bishop Kallistos

I have one egg in my possession which I intend to enjoy it tomorrow. Happy fasting if you are!!