JULIAN MEETING – Monday April 1st 2019
There are in every life, days when we cannot avoid the transcendent and mysterious. The most obvious have to do with birth and falling in love, illness and death. These times may be at once deeply spiritual and deeply carnal experiences, putting us in touch with levels of experience that we sense but may find difficult to describe. The key moments of our life vary from moments of great and unimaginable joy to utter confusion and darkness. At those moments of crisis that we all share it is hard to escape questions about what a human being is and what hidden depths lie within us. We are regularly amazed and humbled by the inner resources of courage and self-sacrifice humans can call upon at such times. People have not been taught to think of their response to crisis or their coping with pain or – and this is the most significant gift – their natural compassion, as a mark of their Godlikeness, but in so far as they enlarge our potential to give our loving attention to others, then they are precisely that; and there are innumerable ordinary experiences which have the quality of transcendence because they have taken us beyond our own egoistic selves.
Prime examples in daily life are the high standards we often observe in the health care services and especially in the valiant work of lifeboat men and women, who regularly put their lives on the line to save others at sea. How often do we hear of examples of the latter category, who volunteer to drop everything in order to venture into rough seas to save others, telling us what a psychological boost they have in saving the life of another human being; displaying a supreme example of compassion for other people in desperate need.
I believe that most of us are moved by the beauty of the natural world. We consciously respond to that which is greater than ourselves yet a part of us, part of the kaleidoscope of colour and light and form that has pressed upon our senses from the day of our birth but which most of the time we take for granted. Epiphanies, if we did but know it, lie like unopened gifts at every turn of the road and every stage of our journey, for it is in and through the daily events and the given world that what is hidden may be sought and found. What is mysterious and ineffable may be discovered, or at any rate glimpsed, as much in the common as in the magnificent.
I believe that we all experience glimpses of the Divine from time to time; moments that point to the mystery, the transcendent reality, that other dimension that pervades all living things. An 18th Century writer used these words to explain his understanding of life.
“There is no event so common-place but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognise him or not to recognise him…. If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and as a preacher, it would be something like this: Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the heavenly and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
Please note that the next meeting is on 29th April 2019 at 7.30pm in the Rectory