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In Tune with God
Paula O'Shaughnessey, Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Now we are in the height of summer, our enjoyment of life's physical pleasures is increased.  Our aches and pains are lessened, and we tend not to suffer so many illnesses coughs and colds.  You might say we feel younger again.  Some of us may get away on holiday, and a enjoy a sense of freedom, and feeling more carefree.  Just going out and about is less of an endurance test, as we don't need to battle the elements so much.  If only life could be so simple more of the time!

In the Gospel passage (Matthew 11.16-19, 25-end), Jesus emphasises how it is the infants who know God best, not the wise and the intelligent.  That God reveals himself to them those whom he chooses.

The child within us that is what needs to be awoken.  To be more in tune with God, we need to have that honesty and openness of heart.  How we are in ourselves is, of course, determined by our actions.  Keep on repeating something and it will become a reality, in a deeper sense.  One of the marks of age are the lines on our skin.  If we continually frown, then the frown lines will become permanent.  It requires a self-awareness and effort to firstly realise that we are in fact frowning and then a careful re-education of the muscles of the face to stop frowning.

The invitation from Jesus, to go to him for rest, requires a certain courage and trust like the trust from infants.  That we accept the yoke the joining with Jesus, of accepting his ways.  The giving up of an ingrained, entrenched way of being, thinking and feeling is needed.  The trouble is, we may not even be aware of our foibles, our habits, that are making us stiff and inflexible.  The new born baby is soft and flexible in its joints.  Over time, the gradual stiffening and hardening of the body creeps on. 

Carl Jung, the pioneering psychologist, developed the practice of 'creative play'.  He spent time building models with stones and mortar, as he had done years ago, as a child.  He was striving to unlock the forgotten inner child.  This enabled the awakening of parts of his psyche that had been shut away for years.  He had to overcome a sense of feeling silly even shame to begin with, in this endeavour.

Now, I am not necessarily suggesting that we each go out and play with children's toys or build models with stones and mortar.  But, we should think about ways of opening our creative selves.  Maybe, doing crafts, or enjoying a walk barefoot on the beach.  I realised last night, that I couldn't remember the last time I had done this, and felt the water and the sand between my toes.

Crucially, we need to sometimes be prepared to let ourselves feel a bit silly.  That means being prepared to take risks, being prepared to accept that things will not always go our own way. The Psalm (145), that we have heard today, promises us that God will not fail us:

'The Lord is faithful in all his words and merciful in all his deeds
The Lord upholds all those who fall
He lifts up those who are bowed down'

It reminds us too, of our dependence upon God.

The Christian way is of course, to do good.  That is the key to why the yoke is easy and the burden light.  Christ does everything he does for the good of humanity.  We are invited to join him in this. The tendency towards destructive and even self destructive behaviour is in our nature as St Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans (Romans 7.15-25a), which we have heard today.  It is with the help of God that we can overcome this tendency.  This is easier said than done, of course!  But, it is a task which is vital to us.

When we see the fruits of good deeds, then we know it is worthwhile.  I can think of times when a few individuals really helped me, in my life, at very bad times.  The results were simply life-changing.  I will never forget the kindness of these people. It is up to us to see how we can discern those same sort of life changing things we can do for others.  Those transformative actions when we do something which is really amazing.  Usually, these things are done in a quiet, unassuming way.

The Christian thinker Leibniz, recognised that 'Many possible worlds exist in the mind of God' He urged people to always strive towards improvement, to fulfil the potential, which God sees.

Let's stop now and pray for a moment, that we will know the love of God in our lives, and that we will share the yoke with him, to transform the world, in his name.

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