After thinking more about what Revd Richard said in the conference discussed yesterday, I found that there really are a lot of things in the world that distract us from reality.
Media tells us of Peter André’s tears and of Liverpool’s latest football goal, we see advertisements for the latest horror movies about zombies, for the latest fashion-wear, for the latest rock CDs, for the alcoholic drinks we all want and we think will make us seem more grown-up and living, all that can distract us from reality, the many beauties and the many troubles in our once perfect world.
We are surrounded by things. Things we desire, things we think we need to make us happy. Yet it never lasts, and in a month’s time there will be an updated version of the same thing and we can feel then that we need that and that we cannot be happy without it.
For example, when I was younger I bought a PlayStation 2, and it was fantastic. I was amazed at the realism of this technology and spent hours of my time playing Harry Potter platform games. Then out came the PlayStation 3 and I desperately wanted it. It was another piece of technology, it was more advanced, and I assumed that having it would make me happier. Yet I never got it and after a few months of watching others I realised that people were spending months of their lives and their entire savings on… things. Things which stopped them from seeing the world around them. Things which stopped them from seeing other people and communicating with them, other than quick online messages or texts. I reduced the amount of time I spent on video games hugely, realising that it had been good as a child to play games sometimes, and as an only child I couldn’t ever play 2 player games for I was always on my own, so in that sense they were good when I wasn’t with other people. But this video game stopped me from looking out the window every once in a while.
As a teenager I stopped playing video games altogether, deeming them no longer necessary because for me, seeing the world and learning consumed me. I realised that the latest trainers, the latest video games, didn’t matter to me anymore.
Because these things distracted me from seeing God’s world. They pulled me away from his truth, his light, his love, when what I found true happiness to be was that of knowing that God was living with me, and God was living in me.
I’m not telling you to throw your PlayStation or your Nintendo or your new Nike trainers out the window. We all need time to stop, to relax and sit back.
But instead, next time you walk past the shoe shop and see the brand new ones in the window, know that what you have already is more than we really need. Don’t let your house fill up with these treasures, for we can help others better this way, with our eyes more open to the world around us. Our treasures are with God in heaven.
In the superb words from Alison Morgan’s book The Wild Gospel:
“Do you not find”, asked Thomas, a banker in Mbulu, Tanzania, as a chicken strutted through his simple living room, “that in the West people have so much more than they need that they do not know they need God?”As I ate the dumplings cooked over a charcoal burner outside, and watched his daughter hanging the socks she had unobtrusively rewashed for me after my knuckle-busting failure to get them clean, I was forced to agree with him. The postmodern world invites us to slake our thirst by drinking deeply from the golden goblet of consumerism. We drink; only to find that we are drinking salt water.
This morning I packed up 5 bags full of things from my room and carted them down to charity shops, knowing that I didn’t even need any of it but it was there because sometimes we never feel that we can throw anything away. But such unnecessary treasures they were!
We have so many treasures already, we just have to open our eyes and see them.Don’t drink the salt water. Don’t let your house fill with treasures that will bury you in. Live in the light.
Peace & Love always,