Grace and Peace to you …
A few months ago the old Tulip Hotel was demolished. A well-placed detonator determined its implosion. It came down like a ton of bricks. If you go to the corner of Buitengracht and Strand Street today you will see into the depths of the earth as the foundations are being laid of what will be a new hotel complex.
These foundations will never be seen again (well not for a long time, in any case). Yet it is the foundation that will determine the shape and stability of the entire structure that will be seen. What is below the ground will determine what is above the ground. What is unseen will determine what is seen.
I’ve been astounded at the detail of the metal and cement work. I confess I used to think it was only the finishing touches that demanded such detail, but for the foundation and central core, precision is key. There can be no skimping if the building is later to be safely enjoyed for generations to come.
As you probably guessed – this could be a parable for our lives.
We seldom have the luxury of building on clear ground – almost always we are going to have to get rid of something to make room for something new to be built. And so, most times we will need to demolish stuff in our life before we build anew. This is seldom easy.
Our attachments to what we have always known run deep. Familiarity sometimes breeds comfort when contempt would be more appropriate. So what relationship or habit or dream do we need to detonate? What do we need to leave behind before we can move in a new direction? Boom!
Now we can begin to attend to our hidden life which will ultimately shape and support our public living. To skimp here thinking that no one will notice is a lie too many of us fall for ultimately the public exposes the private – it is only a matter of time. It just takes a storm of sorts to hit.
Foundation building in our life is done on our knees in prayer. It is done in the private sanctuary of reading the heart-exposing Scriptures. Prayer/reading/reflecting … repeating this practice over and over is how a solid foundation is built.
The purpose of which is to discover and cultivate the Divine Centre of God’s presence in our life. As Thomas Kelly so beautifully describes:
“Practice comes first in religion, not theory or dogma. And Christian practice is not exhausted in outward deeds. These are the fruits, not the roots. A practicing Christian must above all be one who practices the perpetual return of the soul into the inner sanctuary, who brings the world into its Light…
“Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Centre, a speaking Voice to which we may continuously return. Eternity is at our hearts, of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life. It is the dynamic center, a creative Life that presses to birth within us. It is a Light Within which illumines the face of God and casts new shadows and new glories upon the face of men (sic). It is a seen stirring to life if we do not choke it… the Presence in the midst. Here is the Slumbering Christ, stirring to be awakened, to become the soul we clothe in earthly form and action. And He is within us all.” (A Testament of Devotion)
In Practice, Alan