Life focus reminder

He plucks the world out of our hearts, loosing the chains of attachment. And he hurls the world into our hearts, where we and he together carry it in infinitely tender love.

For several years, these sentences greeted me from the door of my office each morning in Boise, words written by Thomas Kelly in “A Testament of Devotion.” This is what I want. This is how I want God to shape me.

I have so many things that need to be plucked, so many chains of attachment: desires for things, for significance, for others’ approval. I want God to pluck out and break the bonds of these things that show how the world has shaped me more than God. But I don’t want only retreat, only cleansing, only separation. I want God’s infinitely tender and never-ending love for each person and part of creation to be hurled inside me, living and breathing in me. I want my following of Jesus to lead not to withdrawal into supposed safety from an awful world, but rather to joining the Spirit in the trenches to transform it.

3 thoughts on “Life focus reminder

  1. You used the phrase: “joining the Spirit in the trenches to transform it.” I love that image. For me, the trenches are Newberg’s sidewalks and streets, coffee shops, grocery stores, and the living rooms of older adults and parents caring for a child with special needs. They are places where lives need to be touched with gentleness and kindness to heal the everyday wounds inflicted on playgrounds, in grocery stores, in churches, and anywhere someone might exercise judgment against someone not like them.

    Where are your trenches?


  2. Thank you so much for this post. “Testament of Devotion” has been informing my thoughts and actions since I began to study it in earnest last fall. And I share your feeling of wanting God to shape me in this manner. It is a poignant, all encompassing feeling to me, yet still so easy for the world to drag me away, as though I am a toddler looking at the bright Christmas lights, missing the real reason for the season.

    I find trenches wherever I go, wherever I am willing to look. So much of our world is in need of healing: individuals, nature, society. I am amazed at the impact a mere touch or smile can have, not to mention larger actions Friends take to transform the ailing world.

    I have been reading Testament and other devotional writings on a daily basis, seeking the discipline to remain open to spirit acting through me, rather than relying on my own human self alone. To be a witness for the Light, and to be a part of the Blessed Community is what I seek, to lend me the strength to go forth every day, “where we and he together carry [the world] in infinite love.”


  3. Pingback: Convergent Friends, individualism and community (Links) – The Quaker Ranter

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