“The story goes that Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the world’s greatest theologian, toward the end of his life suddenly stopped writing. When his secretary complained that his work was unfinished, Thomas replied: “Brother Reginald, when I was at prayer a few months ago, I experienced something of the reality of Jesus Christ. That day, I lost all appetite for writing. In fact, all I have ever written about Christ seems now to me to be like straw.” ~ From Brennan Manning’s splendid Ragamuffin Gospel, 208.
This summer we will step back from Wednesday night Bible Study. There are many reasons for this, not the least being that few people come during the summer. Another being that it is hard to find Children’s workers during this season. I suppose these realities say something about us as a church. But they have been true of every church I have ministered and what I remember from the churches of my childhood. So maybe this says something about the church in America as whole.
But it does not say what you suppose… as Christians we can be lazy. We can be selfish. We often lack commitment. But a summer bible study will not fix these things. And honestly part of the reason we do not come is because our bible study does not fix any of these things. Our worship services and events and fellowships too often welcome our presence (our numbered statistic), but do nothing to change us. And our souls hunger for a taste of something that would demand change. An experience that would leave us fearful and startled. An experience that would not allow us to continue with life as we know it…
But no matter how hard I work and prepare and write and preach – all my cleverness can not reproduce this experience. Because is something only Christ can provide. Our souls long for the breathe only Christ can provide. The rush of the Spirit to fill our lungs.
“And with that he breathed on them…” – John 20:22
This summer we will gather every Wednesday morning for Breathe: A service of prayer. A moment to ask God to heal our wounds. To ask Him to solve the problems of the church. But each moment of community we will also ask for Him to breathe new life into our souls. To change us and reform us – that we may experience the reality of Christ – a reality that makes everything else as straw.