Friday, 3 August 2012

Letting go of control and turning the world right-side up

Three wonderful things I've heard or read over the past 24 hours. First, Giles Fraser on prayer, writing in The Guardian:
Too much prayer is seen as effort, as an attempt to make things different by some mental act of will. But the world does not revolve around you or me. And I can't make it or other people dance to my tune by strenuously wishing things were other than they are. There is no magic involved. It's not about mysteriously offering up some shopping list of proposals to an absent-minded deity who might not have thought about them had you not suggested them first. It's not cosmic lobbying. The fundamental move is to give up trying to be in control.
Next David, an member of the Old Order Amish, speaking on the BBC2 programme Amish: A Secret Life:
There is no way of life that will bring peace and joy into a person's heart. Some people think that if they would only live a unique lifestyle like the Amish, that would help them be happy; some people think if they would have a bigger house, they would be happy. But my message is, all those things are good but if that's what your happiness is based on, it's not going to last. If you accept Jesus, that will be the true happniess. 
And lastly Eric Kuiper in a sermon entitled Riots, Superheros and a World Upside Down at Mars Hill Bible Church:
More than any other, Acts 17:1-10 encapsulates in one compressed piece of text the theological thought that expresses the tension inherent to Acts: the Christian mission is, in Luke's way of reading reality, a witness to a world that is upside down. To follow Jesus is to see that the world is upside down and to join him in flipping it right side up.
The link between these three passages by three passionate Christian men from very different traditions? Control, the importance of letting go of what we think are the rules or the right thing to do, and letting God lead us in what God thinks are the right things to do. But being prepared to realise that in the process we are participating in building the upside-down kingdom: and maybe even that the process of letting go of our control is itself part of that upside-down kingdom.