11th September

Tuning In

The Son only does what he sees his Father doing …. I only say what the Father has told me to say. John 5: 19; 8.28

The importance of tuning in to the deeper, unseen currents that shape our lives and civilisation is understood by increasing numbers of people who are in touch with the intuitive or feminine side of human nature. They sometimes meet Christians who fear or denounce this, and this puts them off Christianity. These Christians may have a point – for it may be better to be deaf than to listen in to falsehood – but why should the devil have all the best ears? The pre-Christian Celtic people, notably the shamans, had finely developed powers of seeing into people and the future, but this power was divorced from a relationship with Father God as revealed by Jesus. The Celtic saints reassure us that it is possible for Christians to develop intuitive powers, as did Jesus, in a way that attunes them only to the Father’s wavelength.

Cuthbert was having a working lunch with a member of the Northumbrian royal family, the Abbess Aelfflaed, when he seemed to have a seizure, and his dinner knife fell from his hands. At first he made light of it, but then they drew out of him what he had ‘seen’ – the soul of a man from Aelfflaed’s estate being suddenly snatched from this earth. Aelfflaed only thought to enquire about the well-being of her monks, she did not enquire about all her lay estate workers. But the next day they discovered that, though the monks were all well, a shepherd named Hadwald had fallen from a tree and died at that very hour. The point of this is not obvious, but I wonder if it was God’s way of ensuring that the least should be treated as the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Cuthbert had many other ‘seeings’ which affected the future of political powers, the course of the church’s mission, and his own future after his death, but I like to think that that these ‘tunings’ come for the same purpose that Christ came – to seek and to save those who are most needy and lost.

Make me attentive to the lap of the waves
Make me attentive to the movements of the sky
Make me attentive to the grasses that grow
Make me attentive to the soul’s every sigh.
Make me aware of the landscape that must pass
Make me aware of the new scape coming in
Make me aware of the universe within.
Make me aware of the beatings of your heart