For the life caught up with following Jesus, the inward journey and outward journey are linked and find energy and momentum from each other — like a pendulum swinging back and forth. Both motions orientated around the fulcrum of God, but one expressing that relationship outwardly in love and service to others and the other dealing with the need for growth, healing and transformation in ourselves. One cannot function fully without the other, if we are to be people who bless others we must be the kind of people are are capable of naturally blessing others. In the words of Jesus:
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”[Luke 6]
Among our group of friends, there is a desire to be people who love and bless others, in order to do this we must be transformed inwardly. Advent is approaching and has traditionally been a time for reflection, but in modern times it has been bombarded by the busyness and hype of the festive season. Abbot Christopher Jamison suggests that we live in a consumer society which can only find peace by “getting away from it all”; however, we actually need to find sanctuary in the midst of our lives, seeing that transformation can come from within. Sanctuary is not a consumer commodity that can be bought, or merely attached to a life that is continually engaged in strife. Peace by its very nature must be just and deal with our relational life. Spirituality is inherently relational.
Abbot Jamison writes in the book, ‘Finding Sanctuary’ that the door way to sanctuary is virtue. He uses a passage from the rule of St Benedict to help us locate this doorway, he then suggests putting “I” in the passage so to make a statement to live by:
I do not act in anger or nurse a grudge
I rid my heart of all deceit.
I never give a hollow greeting of peace
and I never turn away when somebody needs my love.
I speak the truth with heart and tongue.
If you find it hard to read, read this in the morning and at night, Abbot Jamison suggests, consider your life in light of it. Celebrate your successes and consider your failures. Let it slowly, day by day, make the journey from your mind to your heart, until they start to shape your day and its relationships.
LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
Those whose walk is blameless,
who do what is righteous,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have no slander on their tongues,
who do their neighbors no wrong,
who cast no slur on others;[Psalm 15]