In returning and rest you shall be saved


The on-going activity (sometimes a struggle, sometimes a joy) is to turn again and again to Christ, to return to Him, the Way, the Truth and the Life, after each of our many failings... the Old Testament is the story of the repeated shortfalls of the people called by God, and of His repeated forgiveness of them... and so is my story.

One Bible passage to which I return again and again is ``For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings'' [Hosea 6:6] and that seems very important here.

How many times shall I forgive my brother? As many as seven times? As many as seventy times seven. And if that is how much we are to forgive each other, how much more is God (who made us and who made forgiveness) to forgive us when we turn again to Him?

War and peace within

We speak often of the Peace of Christ, but must remember also that Jesus said that he came to bring not peace but the sword; and thinking of the sword of the Spirit dividing bone from marrow, I can see that this refers to life within ourselves as well as between people: there is a continual turmoil of confronting layer after layer of secularism that soaks into us from the world around. So, if you don't feel peace... feel peace about not feeling peace!

Although the sword reforming us within is important, peace is good too; but if we seek peace at the expense of righteousness, we are doing wrong; if we make a great effort to find peace, the effort will destroy the peace which we seek; we should allow God's peace to seek us, too.

An enigmatic statement?

A statement of Jesus that often puzzles me is ``My yoke is easy, my burden is light.'' [Matthew 11:30] -- often the burden seems heavy. But the important thing is, that we do not support the burden alone, and the weight of our sins is no longer on us, when we have handed them over to Christ.


For me, as for many, making a regular retreat is an important part of spiritual life. Such a retreat is taken in a few days in a prayer-centred environment, typically a retreat house or a monastery, with a chance to discuss things with someone experienced in such matters.

A retreat is not some fugue from reality, but an exploration into the deeper reality that is so often hidden behind everyday trivia that seem so important to so many... (for whom they are appropriately so, at least in their context -- whether the context is good is another question, however!).

Retreats are often in a silent setting, which removes some of the distractions present in other settings, but may open you up to other distractions... if you find that you are readily distracted, it may be worth looking at whether you are avoiding facing up to something.


Silence, or stillness, is important to me... I often long for more of it. It's too easy to think of stillness and silence as being absences of activity and sound, but they are more than that; they grow inside you. And yet I find it harder to describe them than to describe their opposites. One important thing is that many transient things are removed.

A little stillness, or silence, or peace, inside you is much more important than a lot outside you. External peace can be a good starting-point for developing peace within.

[John's Christianity page]
John C. G. Sturdy

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