This past week, Calum and I have been at a Christian conference called Momentum. It was great to be with 3000 or so others, in their 20s and 30s, to worship Jesus, to meet with God and to be changed by his Spirit. There was great teaching. Great worship. And plenty of opportunities to meet with God. But there was something inside of me that wasn’t really there. That, though I was physically there, I wasn’t spiritually, or emotionally there. I’ve been reflecting on this since being home, and I couldn’t quite put words to it. That was until I read Calum’s clergy letter for his parish magazine. He talked about how he witnessed so many people, like us, who are involved in Christian ministry, arrive at this conference completely exhausted. And I wondered how I’d managed to get myself in this state. I’d been working hard, yes. But I’d also been taking my day off, and looking after myself as best I could. But I haven’t been looking after myself in the way which is most important in this whole process… I hadn’t been looking after myself spiritually. My prayer life felt stagnant. I’d slotted into a particular way of worshipping, and struggled to move out of that… something not like me! And I felt alone, even to the point of feeling far from those who love me most.
God challenged me about this one night. As I sat amidst thousands of people worshipping their hearts out, God brought to my mind the story of Mary and Martha in Luke’s gospel. If I’m honest, I’ve always struggled with Jesus’ total disregard of Martha’s efforts. As surely, by serving, she was also worshipping? She was also ascribing worth to Jesus? After all, that’s what we do when we have visitors don’t we? We spend hours getting the house ready. Making sure the cupboards are full. Making sure everything is ready. But I realised that night just why I had felt uncomfortable. It was because that was me. I am naturally a practical ‘hands on’ kind of person. I always look for things to do, and have a need to be kept busy. Even to the point of remembering why I am doing what I do. And Jesus was asking me to be more like Mary. To simply sit at his feet in worship.
This past year has stretched me. Challenged me. Grown me. All of which is fantastic, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. But the thing I have learnt most, after having some time away to reflect and pray… It is so easy to get caught in a cycle – to go through the motions.
The Lord opened my heart that night, as I sat and surrendered myself to him once more. The challenge now… to not lose momentum, but to keep coming back to the feet of Jesus. To keep coming back to that ‘moment of truth, when I first talked to Jesus, and he reached out for me’, as the song lyric goes.
My prayer is this – to lift my eyes, even just a little, so that I can always see the face of Jesus in my midst. And with that, I can do anything!