CREDIT: Anh Phan
This daily post is designed to help you live into our New Room Society covenant of practicing daily prayer together. Below is this week’s theme and daily practice.
Week 3: Encounter
Discerning the movement of God. Explore some stories of desert mothers and fathers who have experienced the presence of God.
“The road of cleansing goes through that desert. It shall be named the way of holiness.” — Isaiah 35:8, Septuagint (LXX) — from John Chryssavgis, In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers
There’s a funny and illuminating story told of an early Christian ascetic living in the Egyptian desert around the third century AD.
This desert abba was a scribe, and a brother came to entreat him to copy a book.
The scribe was engaged in deep contemplation, and as he copied, he left out some phrases and completely omitted any punctuation.
When the brother saw what had happened he said, “Abba, there are some phrases missing.”
To which the desert father replied, “Go, and practice first that which is written, then come back and I will write the rest.”
Very often the best work of ministry happens in the margins, on the fringe, or, as one pastor put it, in the “white spaces” — the place between the letters and words, amid the things that are not being said.
When it becomes a challenge to know what God wants you to do, it can be fruitful to look in the places where everything and everyone else isn’t.
The ancient desert mothers and fathers excelled at this art, and can still guide you in it today…
Sunday: What isn’t being said?
It’s easy to count words of instruction, theological textbooks, even scripture as your guide as you seek to be formed more closely into the image of God. Those are wonderful sources of authority.
But what is not being said? Whose voices are not being heard? Where are traditional methods, resources, or texts curiously silent?
Whom might you encounter in those deserts or white spaces, and what might you learn?