Tuesday 22 March: Lent 2011


You are encouraged to pray the prayer, pause, read the scripture, pause, read the reflection, and then pray the prayer again.

The Breastplate Prayer

May the yoke of the Law of God be upon this shoulder,
The coming of the Holy Spirit be on this head,
The sign of Christ be on this forehead,
The hearing of the Holy Spirit be in these ears,
The smelling of the Holy Spirit in this nose.
The vision that the people of heaven have be in these eyes,
The speech of the people of heaven in this mouth,
The work of the Church of God in these hands
The good of God and of neighbour in these feet.
May God dwell in this heart,
And this person belong entirely to God the Father.

‘May the hearing of the Holy Spirit be in these ears’

Psalm 46:10

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.”

We no longer live in a society where the presence and voice of God are believed to be experienced in the physical world.

Previously, Christians believed that God spoke directly and could be heard with physical ears. For us this is a startling idea, but not if God is immanent. The Kingdom of Heaven is truly ‘at hand’.  Our faith is rooted in the Word who came to earth, became flesh to be touched and handled, and dwelt among us. Dream and vision are profoundly at home with the reality of God’s incarnation. Our God is not impossibly distant and removed from the world of His making.  As the Apostle Paul said it is in God ‘that we all live and move and have our being’.

When teaching seekers of God to find the presence and voice of God for themselves, our ancestors often spoke of ‘tuning the five-stringed lyre’. The five strings stand for our natural senses. Properly tuned, our physical senses have the power to attune us to the music and voice of God.

Our physical senses are the gifts God has given that connect us with the present moment. So while the thoughts of my mind and the emotions of my heart may connect me with remembered past, interpreted present and imagined future, my physical senses report to me what is around, upon and within me right now.

By touch, I feel what is around me at this instant. By sight, I perceive what surrounds me at this very moment. I am aware by hearing what is happening in the environment around me. My senses plant me in the stuff of the present moment. In the past, I was. In the future, I will be. But the present moment is where I truly am. Only in this moment that I can truly encounter the great ‘I am’.

Therefore as you take your stand before God take some time to tune your five strings. Let yourself become gradually aware of all that your physical senses are reporting to you. As you do this you will find your attention is brought back to the present moment, and back to your physical body. Your body, says Scripture, is the Temple of God – the place in which your spirit and the Holy Spirit dwell:

‘May the hearing of the Holy Spirit be in these ears’

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