I am reminded of the verse that suddenly rises up, like Jaws from a timid and accommodating ocean, in 2 Corinthians and says ‘Now is the day of salvation’. The present is the expectant moment. It rises up to meet us continuously, and in an ongoing way we bat it back, or ignore the call.
A brother was speaking to me today and reflecting that when circumstances, such as symptoms of an illness, or tiredness, or just disinclination, threaten to derail plans and dreams, it is vital to keep going. When we let ourselves down, we open the door to future letdowns. When we allow our standards to slide once, they will slide again. Personal standards surrounding lifestyle, quality of our thought-life, the sacredness of greetings, the excellence of our attitude towards work, towards family, towards our neighbours can all deteriorate in just a handful of repeated failures. God’s heart is for excellence. But the hearts of humankind are more interested in a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest.
I called this blogpost ‘It’s About Time’ because I’m conscious, because of another writing project, that I have not even been posting weekly on here. I was buoyed by the fact that despite that, my stat counter is still showing a few visits. Another meaning of the title is that our life, or our walk, is about time. On the excellent Furious Love film by Darren Wilson, the pastor of a megachurch in Indonesia comments that the power of God is the Holy Spirit’s job, but holiness is our job. I think I saw what he was getting at as I was communing with the Lord cycling in to work yesterday. No matter how much we Lutheran ‘grace alone’ Christians repeat the mantra: ‘You did nothing to earn your salvation, you can do nothing to add to your salvation’, there remains the small matter of the glory of God. After all, my salvation was not about me in the first place.
And it’s about time, because improving the time is the daily goal. Or, in David Brainerd’s agonised phrase, we want to avoid the ‘disimprovement’ of time. For me, I want to improve the time I spend with other people. Sometimes I sleepwalk through conversations, my mind racing elsewhere, grabbing desperately onto fragments of speech, because I was somewhere else inside to start with. Afterwards, I reflect on the fact that the meeting of two eternal minds, and the touching of spirit to spirit, is such a valuable thing (and one that I probably missed out on again in that encounter due to my ‘not being in the zone’).
Bandler and Grinder in the late 1970s did some exciting neurological work that has contributed to the development of Neuro-Linguistic-Programming. I like their ideas about where you look, and what that shows about what you are doing in your head with the information you are processing or hearing. So if I look up, I am accessing a visual approach to information. If I look to the side, I am focusing on the auditory, on what I can hear. If I look down, I am possibly questioning myself or taking a ‘kinaesthetic’, that is an active, approach to a problem. This is more how we operate, than a way that we should start to operate, and not all of us will work like this.
Relying on my body memory, I think that when I talk with people who are sharing dreams (and I love this) I am often looking up as I am visualising their dream. This does help me to respond enthusiastically and identify with where they’re at. If I were instead to look down, I reckon that I could end up pouring cold water on someone’s precious vision. I do not try looking to the side so much, possibly because it might look as if I’m bored. But one of the recommendations from NLP is that you hold a different eye position while you are thinking about a problem or issue you have, and see if you notice a change in your internal state, or find a new way of thinking about it.
Now is the day of salvation, and now is also the day of dreams. We need our spiritual eyes to be visualising what Daddy wants the kingdom to look like around us. Wherever Jesus went, stuff happened. Daddy, that’s where I wanna be as well. Give me more eyes to help me see what you are seeing.