What’s The Point Of A Heart Attack?

A few hours after I posted last week’s blog I was rushed to Cramlington Hospital with a heart attack. I was returned three days later with six medications and the promise of a stent if these don’t work.

 What’s the point of a heart attack? 

1)    The first point is to stop us living the way we have been. Someone bought me a newspaper. A full page article described how heart attacks had greatly increased during the Covid pandemic. Why? In my case I was not rushing around or outwardly working harder, but the groove of my mind was working 24 hours a day, even though in separate compartments.   I realised the point is to recover THE SABBATH PRINCIPLE to which our CAH Way of Life commits us.

2)    Both the Old and New Testaments and the ‘Book of Creation’ call us to observe the sabbath principle. The Bible’s opening parable depicts God creating for six days and resting on the seventh in order to enjoy what he had created. To reflect this, the Hebrews developed a seven day week and ceased from work on the seventh day, Saturday. There could also be a Sabbath year when the land was rested and a forty-ninth Sabbath jubilee year (seven times seven) when people’s debts were cancelled. Jesus described his inauguration of God’s kingdom as a fulfilment of the Jubilee, Luke 4:19. In the parable of creation God rested on the seventh day, not to waste time lazing, but to enjoy, relish and celebrate creation. Rest is not a blank, it is a replenishment.

In ‘Christian’ countries where Sunday is a day of rest, those who work for the church on Sundays should keep another ‘Day of Difference’. ‘Unless one learns how to relish the taste of Sabbath in this world …one will be unable to enjoy eternity in the world to come. The essence of the world to come is Sabbath eternal’ Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man New York: Farrer, Strauss, Giroux 1951[DC1]

So now my default position is to treat all life as a holiday (holy day) and let work be the inspirations that flow from the holiday.

Easier said than done. A wonderful working party sorts out our four Holy Island properties, prayer room and library. I dumped two cartons before leaving and having my heart attack – so God bless you and sorry I can’t be with you.  Later today Scott Brennan and I lead a webinar for the world-wide Forge team of mentors of church planters.  I’ve left the architecting of this webinar to Scott but my fingers are crossed on my heart that I shall survive this!

While I was in hospital I fully re-read Dove of White Flame: a historical novel about Saint Columba by Stella Durand (Wipf & Stock). She describes how Columba received divine guidance for people and places in Ireland.He kept 'the sabbath principle' - a rhythmn of scripting, praying, farm work, travelling etc.  We, too, can receive divine guidance for people and places. Don’t let these intimations be buried under an avalanche of digital chatter, medical paraphernalia and badly conditioned reflexes. Wait on God until these crystallise, and write them down. Then pass them on.

 On my return home a friend rang, lamenting the decline of the churches. He felt an affinity with the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah purchased an empty field. This was divine guidance that embodied a prophetic intimation. Jeremiah recognised that ‘the people of God’ in his time had blown it. They would lose what they held. But he also foresaw that when they learned the lessons of failure, a new work of God would be built up. The empty field was a promise, a ‘prompt’ and a facilitation for this future renewal built on new foundations.

 Our ‘field’ is a new grass-roots people’s monasticism. The Holy Island working party, Forge disciples, Stella are building invisible foundations that will replace the old crumbling artifices. Wait for it.


Posted at 08:56am on 27th May 2021
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