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Losing it? 27 March 2017

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Lent, Life.
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It’s a trite, but not especially untrue, statement that there are (at least) two sides to every story. It goes beyond story, of course, but that’s where the saying starts. I suspect that the choice of the word for today’s Lent Challenge might be picking up on the calendrical events of the weekend. Despite the rather chilly mist beyond my window we’re now in British Summer Time! Hurrah! Bring out the Pimms and the cricket bats… etc.

You may tell from the tone of my writing that I’m not entirely convinced. You would be right. The clocks may have gone forward, but at a cost. It may make economic sense, as we capitalise on the daylight, but lose an hour to get there. Hence my weariness, probably exacerbated by the hour’s loss happening just before the glorious ecclesiastical theatre that was the the service at All Saints Northampton yesterday. Such performance, and preaching, demands an effort. It may not look that way when done well, but it’s not effortless, and since I rarely perform my duties that way, I was somewhat surprised by the tiredness that followed.

To lose something is not a course of action that we would usually choose. It’s very easy to cling, even to hoard. I have plenty of possessions in the house that, deep down, I know that I don’t use and probably never will. I don’t want to part with them though: it’s conceivable that they might come in useful, or that they might gain in monetary value, that I might lose enough weight to actually fit in them again, that I simply can’t throw away because it seems such a waste, or, most precious of all, they have a value that extends beyond the financial and that by touching them and keeping them close I feel closer to the special memories of people, time or places. My late father’s HO/OO model railway locomotive collection has some locos that take me back to a different time, for example, while a piece of paper is one of the very few things I have with Dad’s handwriting on it, and likewise has a greater significance.

Some of these things I would hate to lose. Yet perhaps there are other things that I need to lose, the classic one being some weight. Part of the problem with talking about losing weight is that most of the time we don’t actually lose it, we actively work to reduce it. It might drop off, but it doesn’t drop off ‘of itself’. While I can’t deny that maybe the best way to lose some of the things that distract and divert me from more important matters might be if they were lost, or removed, from me beyond recall I’m also fully aware of my ability to re-acquire distractions and diversions.

Instead one of the sayings preserved in all three of the synoptic Gospels comes to mind, “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:35, in context). Jesus is clearly speaking in terms not of losing your life as if it’s been accidentally dropped from a pocket along with handkerchief, but a conscious course of renunciation, of a denying of personal rights and priorities in the face of a greater calling, one of divine origin. (That is, in placing the needs of Jesus and his good news, above all else). Not a bad reminder of the church season of Lent, with the call to discipline and self-denial, nor of the ultimate point of the Christian faith, that we find our truest self, and our restored relationship to the divine, in our following, our worship of Jesus, the crucified, risen and ascended Christ.

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1. Hear here | Life, Faith and Role-Playing Games - 30 March 2017

[…] with the last couple of day’s posts (peace, remain, lose), in the political climate of the UK at this time it’s a hard word for me to wrangle with. It […]


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