Something we Protestants can learn from our Roman Catholic brethren is the discipline of spending time meditating on Jesus. I don't mean praying, or reading one's Bible, or listening to worship music - good as though all these things are. I mean just spending time being quiet in the presence of God, and allowing God to wash over us and reveal Himself to us as He chooses.
Today at College we started a course in counselling skills, which is run by the Catholic Church in Newton Park. We did the usual "workshop" stuff - introductions, managing expectations, getting the basics down - but just before we closed, Siobhan (our facilitator) invited us to just become still while she played some quiet worship music in the background.
Siobhan then led us by describing a forest, with the sun filtering through the branches and leaves on the floor. As she was talking, it just seemed the most natural thing in the world for me to close my eyes. In my mind's eye I could picture a fallen log, with a silhouette of Jesus standing on the other side of the log with one foot on the log and His chin cupped in His hands, while I was seated next to the log in a relaxed pose, just speaking about life in general. Nothing too serious, mind - it was almost like two friends chilling out and having a casual chat.
But then I lost track of what she was saying, as all I could see was the face of Jesus - that beautiful, heavenly face. I cannot describe what He looks like. I couldn't tell you if he is black, white, has a moustache, has a thin or broad nose, or what colour His eyes are. But it was the most indescribably beautiful face I have ever seen, expressing such love.
Not even the expression on my wife's face on our wedding day some 17 years back could come remotely close to the love on His face, exuding from every pore, just washing over me. Never before have I experienced such love as this. And when we closed in prayer, I felt as though the tears were streaming down my face, yet strangely my cheeks were dry.
What an amazing Lord we serve! The God I thought I knew, I realise that I hardly know at all - so endless is the extent of His love.
Friday - As the world braces itself for Black Friday, can I take this chance to remind us all of the GREATEST Friday of all time - the day that Jesus gave his life...
10 hours ago