March 2015


"I have begun to strike you down, making you desolate beca use of your sins"
(Micah 6.13   NRSV)

This is the "Uncomfortable Word" that I have written about in the current issue of Living Words. It is important to read what I have written there before attempting to use this Saying in contemplative prayer.

When we focus on a Saying such as this (and there are a great many similar ones in Scripture) we are getting in touch with the shadow-side of our rela tionship with God. It would be far more comforting if the Divine / Human nexus were simply a matter of sweetness and light, a kind of spiritual "win-win". But a truly loving relationship founded in freedom is not like that, and the Bible makes the point very clearly.

During Lent, we move inexorably towards the Cross of Jesus, and ponder afresh each year the significance of that mysterious tragedy-to-triumph story of Good Friday and Ea ster. This is a time of discomfort, of honest self-appraisal, reflecting on what sort of people we really are behind the fa├žade we show in public. Persona lly speaking, this Saying is incisive.

It is also relevant globally. The 'desolation' that Micah mentions refers to the land as well as to the inhabitants (see Ezekiel 6.14 and similar utterances in chapters 15,25,29,32 & 33). It should be amply clear by now that the sunful huma n exploitation and pollution of our planet is bringing us towards the brink of disaster. We ignore the message of the prophets at our peril. 

This Saying is offered for use during March as a kind of contemplative experiment, as I have explained in Living Words. It may be more sui table for individuals than for groups. If you seek an alternative, I suggest selecting one from Within Thy Silence. A list of Sayings suitable for Lent wil l be found on page 213.

 "Within Thy Silence" by Martin Tunnicliffe (O-Books 2010). Copies should be available from any boo kshop or the Internet)