We had a great weekend at Kleipot. Sunday was spent looking at Elijah in 1 Kings 19. A man of God totally depressed and feeling sorry for himself. That’s why I love the stories of God so much! It’s so true to life. An Elijah kicking butt constantly and getting it right all the time will be so not who we are. In James, Elijah is described as a man just like us. Last night we explored the wilderness or desert as a metaphor for the spiritual life. We took some time looking at what a wilderness is and then how we should approach friends who are in the wilderness.
In 1 Kings 19 God shows so much tact in dealing with Elijah in the wilderness. I told the guys one of my recent experiences …
You might recall that a bunch of us hiked in the Drakensberg. It was a grueling trip, and when I say that I don’t mean it lightly. Imagine a group of men in their late twenties and early thirties almost crying! We experienced a real-life physical wilderness. In one day we hiked 15 miles with an altitude gain of 8000 feet. It was hard but definitely rewarding. Everything was perfect, but for one thing …
As we hiked through the wilderness, at a two hour interval a helicopter would interrupt the perfect silence of the wilderness. The out of place mechanism escorted hotel tourists into the wilderness area previously reserved for those willing to shoulder a pack and suffer! The helicopter became an object of loathing.
At the end of a long hike we skirted past a buttress and arrived on top of the escarpment. The sun was just dipping below the horizon, coloring everything into soft colors, it was so perfect and then it happened … A helicopter’s deaf inducing blades broke the sacred sunset. Five clean and rested people emerged out of the helicopter and enjoyed some champagne and the view. It was so wrong … The guys in our hiking party wanted to stone the helicopter!
We all felt they didn’t deserve the view we earned by actually going through the wilderness. I think a lot of times we approach our friends ‘in’ the wilderness with the same kind of ‘helicopter Christianity’.
It’s best to remember in those times that you might get yourself stoned! I wonder how we can stop ourselves flying into another’s wilderness with a helicopter?
Palmer Parker offers this quote from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, “love … consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.”
Well, Lollie and I will spend the week retreating and resting after an exhausting few months. Will be back on Friday.