RENOUNCING THE WORLD
reflections on Luke's Gospel

Freedom

The light this morning:
Grey
Heavy
Turgid
No glimpse of blue
No shaft of light.
This is the time for freedom
When the world gives you, no help

John

Look at this man
Look at the wild man
in the desert
living on
locusts
and
honey.
Sweet honey
Thick juice of the hive
Sweetness
Sticky sweetness
Sticky sweet honey.
I’d call it Freedom,
But it buzzes with bees:
Sharp and Angry.

Sent

They went and followed him.
Sent, one would surmise
By an inner force,
A compulsion,
A Breath of Freedom
Whispered in them by his call:
And they became
What they were meant to be.

The Fishermen

“So they pulled up their boats, left everything and followed him”
Pull up your boats.
Consider the bounty of the earth,
The riches of the deep sea,
The cornucopia of all that God has made.
This glittering net of fish,
This writhing, wriggling mountain of wealth,
This unsurpassed haul
Of all that brings life and wealth and happiness
And leave it
For the dry road
Where the dust gets inbetween your toes
And
You are free.

Luke 4:23

To renounce the world
Is to be rejected by the world.
But we reject no one,
Only doing the will of the Father
Which is to love all
Indiscriminately.
The world rejects all who will not reject someone
Therefore to renounce the world
Is to accept everyone
And belong to all.

Luke 4:42

We must be alone
But not in order to evade.
We must leave
But not in order to avoid.
We must be alone
In order to know the will of the Father.
We must leave
In order to do the will of the Father.
For God is everywhere
And we belong to all people
And love is everywhere.

Jesus often withdrew

To renounce the world
is to ‘often withdraw’
and therefore it means
to often return.
If you are never in the world
You can never withdraw from the world.
If you are never in the world
in the midst of it,
with your fingers sticky
with the juice of it,
Why should you ever bother to withdraw?
The man on the edge never “often withdraws”
He gradually fades away.
But he who renounces the world
Often withdraws
Because he knows exactly why he has to.

Luke 6:46

Renouncing the world
Is the wise man who built on the rock.
It is putting into practice what others
only talk about and, secretly,
do not believe in.
It is losing everything: because you give it away.
It is having no friends: because you love only fools
and
It is being without spite, self righteousness and power:
Because you know who you are:
Another sojourner,
Another traveller
Another speck
of infinite worth.

Luke 4:43

If we renounce the world
And, therefore, accept the world
Totally.
Where do we stop?
Where linger?
Where belong?
Where renounce freedom?
that we might love freely, but solidly:
with warmth in the long winter?
If love is everywhere.

The Sermon on the Plain

If you renounce the world
You are always safe
Because your world has already collapsed;
You belong only to love,
Neither to anyone or anything,
Because you belong to all
And everything.
Everything becomes what it is,
Whether it is easy, or difficult to love,
Because you love everything
In the individual
And allow it to be what it is.
Then finally you know
That this is a hard and difficult path
Which no one can follow
Unless born on the arms of the Trinity
And even then we shall fail
For that
Is the price of our freedom.

Jesus draw me close to you.

In order to love the world
We must renounce the world.
In order to find ourselves
We must lose ourselves.
In order to belong
We must find the one who belongs to all.
He is
Forgiveness
Love
Belonging
For he has lost all,
Treating all with mercy
Yet recieving none.
Belonging to all
Yet being rejected by all.
Only to Christ can I belong
Only his love is healing
Only he is all things
Only Christ is all in all
Only this man is God
Only in him may I find my divinity.

Who is Jesus?

Who is this man?
I wonder
I’ve seen his picture painted.
I’ve heard his loving voice.
I’ve puzzled at his anger
And thrilled at his command.
Yet somehow ... he evades me:
The simple gospel words
Are pregnant with complications.
Who is he?
Powerful yet weak,
Loving yet angry;
This man on printed page,
Does he come alive?
Does he enter now this day?
Does he become God?

Choosing the Apostles

Where are the hills?
Where are the hills?
The place of solitude & calm;
Silence and stillness.
The enveloping stillness:
Quiet like death:
Empty as the Universe.
For here,
For here,
For here is the new Israel made.
The new world begun.
And what does it mean to be your disciple Lord?

And what does it mean to be your disciple?
To hate family.
To carry cross.
To think carefully.
To give up everything.
But what if you are not sure
Which narrow way
Is God’s way?
What if you are not sure
If you are carrying
A cross
or a complex
or a dream without substance ...
What good will all your faith do then?

All That Is

It is not I.
It is not the intricacies of my life.
It is not laughter or desire;
It is not work or pain or afflictions of my flesh;
It is not friends or sadness;
It is not food and the quenching of our lusts;
It is not, even, the artists eye and the poets pen.
It is God. Yet not God:
All that they say of him.
It is not vision, or hope, or faith, or, even, love
For what weight do these words carry in the bland chaos of our lives?
What progress make, but that they falter in the sound of leaving?
These shallow scratchings can not encompass life and God and all that is.
For he that writes them is not complete, is like a shadow, is like a search without a finding, is like a sentence without finish ...
It is I, incomplete.
Partial.
Fallen
Wide and short and far before the mark;
Scrabbling in the foothills of Olympus.
Yet has a curious dignity:
Weaves a pattern of this lacking,
Walks tall in his out-reaching.
Creates, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
Builds fragile structures that resist the
winds of Devil, Time and World.
Finds miracles each day when self is lost and rediscovered.
It is not I.
It is not God.
It is something else.
It is Trinity:
Quite beyond myself and understanding.