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Life Chez Dee Episode #102: Hunger and Thirst for God

So tonight saw the first session of the Lent course I signed up for. I’d received all the supporting documentation a couple of weeks ago, and had had a look through prior to this evening. If I’m honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to this course as much as the Advent course I’d attended. I’d really thrown myself into the Advent course, really listened, discussed, learned, absorbed, processed and reflected. It really gave me much food for thought, and inspired many pieces of my writing.

This Lent course feels different. I don’t want to let these thoughts creep in, as I haven’t even started it yet, but from looking through the supporting leaflet for this evening, I feel as though it’s going to be a bit heavy, but I hope I’m wrong. I wrote an email to Deacon Kim about my thoughts, and I received a very lovely response from her, saying how we are all on our own journey, a different journey, we are all there to listen to and support, and learn with and from each other, and that no one, including her, has all the answers.

The course is designed to help us explore the “means of grace” which are God’s gifts to us, so we may know and serve Him better.

I’ve mentioned before, I thought Lent was just really about going without, just as Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. I’m giving up chocolate and biscuits for Lent, that’s me going without, but the course is not about the hunger and thirst from giving up our favourite things, but rather our hunger and thirst for God in our lives, and it may be as simple as giving our time, and that time could be a commitment to this course. Kim tells us tonight that the 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays, which was news to me, and likely a surprise to many. I confess I was secretly relieved that on Sundays throughout Lent we can have a biscuit with our cuppa if we’re feeling desperate.

After our hellos, we start our meeting with taking turns to finish the sentence: “The thing I most look forward to when I get up is: ……”. Well my kneejerk response is “tea”, “wee”, “wash” … take your pick. I wonder if I should have really come up with something like my plans for the day, or even thanking God for another day.

We’re then asked to think about “What in the last month has helped you feel close to God?” In all honesty, nothing particularly springs to mind. Well this is a good start! The only answer I can muster in my head, is that I speak to Edward, I speak to Edward all the time. I tell him things, I notice when he gives me signs, I ask him to help me. I like to think that Edward is with God, that he has a job to do and is busy helping God on whatever mission he is needed for. I think about how much I love going out for a walk every day. Each day I walk with Justin; I love this time. I have time to breathe, get outdoors, out in the fresh air. Walking gives me headspace, exercise, and time for just the two of us together. I notice things, the sounds and the smells, as well as the sights, and am thankful to live in such a beautiful place, and indeed to be able to walk here every day. I notice the sky, the clouds, the weather, particularly at the moment, which has been so cold, Baltic in fact. In the years I have lived here I have never seen the see freeze until now! I notice now the bulbs are beginning to poke their heads through the earth; the daffodils, the crocus, the white carpets of snowdrops, showing us that Spring is on its way. I think about the beauty of all that is around us, and I think of just how mighty and powerful God is.

We contemplate our thirst for God in our lives, and about when we speak to God. I don’t pray, not in any conventional way anyhow. I think a lot, I reflect a lot, and I’m told God hears me. I talk a lot … silently, out loud, and through my writing. I have lots of thoughts and lots of questions, so many questions about so many things. I don’t really have conversations with God … I talk to him, question him, shout at him even … it’s very one way, I feel there aren’t many answers coming my way … but don’t know if I really listen for answers. The conversation really needs to be two way if I am to have any relationship with God. At church I know I listen to the sermon, and try as best I can to latch onto something that I can take with me to reflect on and contemplate, even if more often than not it is only an odd sentence I take with me. Hymns are what speak to me the most. I devour hymns, their words, their meaning, their tune.

Jesus said to them “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. “ John 6:35

I have a thirst to learn more about God, to have a relationship with God, and I make a commitment to do this Lent course. I may listen to and digest much on this course, and I may only take baby steps on this journey, but these little steps are my journey, and doing this course is much more than a little step for me, it is a great leap of faith. I hope to understand myself and my journey more, and if I don’t understand I know that’s ok too.

We discuss all we’ve heard so far. Just as we need physical food to live, we also need spiritual food to feed our soul. Just as we need to chew our food slowly and savour the taste, so too do we need to take time to chew the cud, to look at and digest who we are, what we bring, what we give, our choices, our decisions, and how these affect us emotionally, mentally and spiritually. What feeds me, may not feed someone else. What feeds me emotionally, mentally and spiritually? I have to say both my walking, and my writing ticks all those boxes for me.

I have so much to learn, and so much to practice, but I am committed to attend this course, and have faith that I will learn to be a better person than I was, and understand myself better than I did, and I come with thoughts, ideas, doubts, questions and confusion, but I come with an open mind and an open heart. I was a little teary when I shared my thoughts with the group; I don’t really know why. I often get teary when I go to church. May be this is God talking to me, and showing that He’s listening, hearing, and He’s with me.

by Elizabeth Dee

Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder Thy power throughout the universe displayed Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee How great Thou art, how great Thou art Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee How great Thou art, how great Thou art

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