Sunday, 18 November 2012

Daily reading

It is funny but sometimes the things you buy for the least money bring you most joy. I have a little booklet which cost pennies with the wisdom of St John of Kronstadt. He is a fairly modern saint ( born in early 19th Century ) and spent his ministry in the rough dock town of Kronstadt on the Baltic coast of Russia. His most famous book is My Life In Christ which I confess I have not read.  I try, however, to read the daily reading at church from this little book which has a month’s readings. 
Having had a fairly up and down employment record I had been hoping that a recent idea for work might prove more fruitful. I was trying to warm my heart in my prayers with this attachment when I read this.  St John reminded me there is only one security in this world. 

The whole world is but a cobweb in comparison to the Christian soul. Nothing in it is constant and sure. We cannot lean trustingly on anything; everything breaks. We must not cleave to anything with our heart except the one God. Who has spread out this cobweb, and Who supports it and gives it life. To whatever you attach yourself, except to God, everything wounds and oppresses the heart, whilst entire attachment to Him alone is life-giving. A month with St John of Kronstadt. Nov. 18

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Love, honour and obey!!

A minister I once met told me on our first meeting that I should be obedient. I was not sure to whom or what and what he meant was, it appeared later, was that I should be odedient to him. I became subject to a certain amount of spiritual bondage and found myself working partly to build up that minister’s standing in the church. In spiritual bondage a more powerful personality thinks they can discern God’s will for another and makes them feel as if they should fall in line. If the recipient is young in the faith or vulnerable it can put them into a position of subservience. The person themselves may then think it is a legitimate way of influencing others.

Obedience in Scripture is linked more to faith than actions- Romans 1.5 and 6.26. Luther said that his followers could be influenced by him but eventually would stand alone before God. I have had a leader suggest that he could hold sway with God for me.

To avoid this practice I now stay away from non aligned churches or churches where the leadership is not accountable. However, even in mainstream churches spiritual bondage can be practiced. In cults it is almost de rigeur. The Children in God cult which started innocently enough ended up practising among other things ‘hooking for Jesus’ ie women members would have sexual relations with men to win them over to the ‘faith.’

Saint Ignatius of Loyola annotated a system by which God may speak to us through our heart and mind. Coercion is nowhere mentioned. In speaking to Elijah God spoke not through the earthquake or fire but the gentle whisper. If someone tries to tell you they know God’s will for you you might like to give them a taste of the earthquake! In love of course.