August 2010, Mentoring Group Letter

by Geoff Hall on August 30, 2010

August, 2010.  Grace, Love and Intimacy

Dear Mentoring Group,
Greetings to you in this holiday month!  I trust you have all been able to recharge and find times of refreshing during this ‘summer’ season!

Sometimes God takes us on a journey we’d rather not take.  God takes us to the wilderness, when really we want to be developing our public profile and create marvellous new visions of the world around us.  We ponder, even question the wisdom of God in making ‘our’ life a misery.  Our faith seems more fragile in these desert places, as opposed to feeling empowered by the cultural interaction that our work brings.

I’ve been reading a book by Henri Nouwen, entitled ‘Adam, God’s beloved.’  Adam is a man Henri looked after in a care home for those with severe disabilities.  Adam’s included epilepsy and an inability to walk and talk, after a mix up in his medication for his epileptic seizures.  The book is structured along the life of Christ and includes chapters like, ‘Adam’s Desert’, ‘Adam’s Public Life.’

Nouwen writes that in Adam’s Desert journey he communicated a marvellous mystery of God, that we are ‘precious, beloved, whole and born of God.’  His wisdom shines forth when he tells us that this also reveals that his worth has nothing to do with ‘whether or not he made money, had a job, was fashionable, famous, married or single. It had to do with his being.’ (p25)

I am learning this desert walk, in the hope of arriving at my public life!  I am learning that I am precious, beloved, whole and born of God, despite my circumstances, despite my impending unemployment, despite having a sense of others’ disappointment, despite looking in the mirror and seeing someone apparently untouched by life’s potential, despite wishing my gifts were good enough to sustain life.

‘Despite’ all of this desert experience, I am learning that God has taken me this way.  As TS Eliot wrote in his poem, ‘East Coker’,

Old men ought to be explorers,
Here or there does no matter,
We must be still and still moving,
Into another intensity,
For a further union, a deeper communion…

I am travelling this way because God wants me to see that at my very core, I am beloved, precious and whole; despite the circumstances of my life.  This is the nature of my very being.

In this walk, this desert sojourn, I embrace the words of Paul,

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

In this wilderness, we need Grace and Love to embrace intimacy with God.  These things are given to us; we don’t have to attain them.  Despite our misgivings about ourselves, our sense of unworthiness, we can know the intimacy of the Holy Spirit.  This will inform our work as artists.  We need to be at home with this extravagant love, this miraculous wholeness as children of God.

Just when we think our faith is fragile, we see that in this place we are strengthened. This is a place of knowing how precious we are and that we experience not the absence of God, but God’s presence in a different way.

Peace and Love to you all,

Geoffx

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