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Answering God – Day 39

Answering God – 40 Days with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) 

Day 39 – Good Friday 

A&Q sidewaysTo Read:

Try to live simply.
A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength.
Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford.
Do you keep yourself informed about the effects your style of living is having on the global economy and environment?
(Advices & Queries #41) 

 

From the Scriptures:

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says

‘They divided my clothes among themselves,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.’

(John 19v23-24)

  S636-Live-Simply-That-Others-May-Simply-Live

To Reflect: 

According to tradition the only possession Jesus of Nazareth was the seamless robed taken from him before he was nailed naked to the Cross.  Many traditions have grown up around this robe; there are five different places claiming to hold a piece of it.  Many sermons have been written about the fact that it was seamless, and even books written and Oscar nominated movies made.

We are What we WearWhy is there so much interest in the clothing of a simple preacher man?  I suspect part of the reason is that we are still tempted to believe the aphorism that ‘We are what we wear’.  In today’s world of Fast Fashion this has a devastating effect on the lives of others and we need to learn that ‘what we wear is not who we are’.

 

The call to Live simply that others may simply live’ made famous by Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi, has given birth to a worldwide movement which includes followers of all religions and none. At last people are recognising the damage the desire for possessions does to the earth and all who depend on her for life.

Francis and posessionsBy calling I am a Franciscan and our Profession Vow imitates Francis of Assisi’s desire to be betrothed to Lady Poverty.  At our annual renewal it is with happy tears that I say;

I, Andrew, give myself to our Lord Jesus Christ, to serve him for the rest of my life in company with my brothers and sisters in the Third Order of the Society of St Francis, seeking to spread the knowledge and love of Christ, to promote the spirit of love and harmony as the family of God and to live joyfully a life of simplicity and humble service after the example of St Francis.

Choosing to live a life of simplicity should not be that onerous, for the vast majority of the world the concept of designer fashion and a variety of restaurants in which to indulge our palate is but a dream.  The challenge is to do this joyfully and follow it up with humble service rather than ‘Do I have to’ truculence.  It is not easy, but done well it does bring deep deep joy.

Francis habitA few years ago our family visited Assisi and in the midst of all the pomp and splendour of the Basilica – sometimes I think Francis looks on the church and puts his face in his palm – we came across in the nether regions, down some stairs, in a side room off the tourist track, the habit that Francis himself wore. Frayed and patched and held together by threads it is a testimony of simplicity to the life of someone who had all this world’s goods.  After all his father was a wealthy cloth merchant, and gave it all away to embrace the one who embraces us.  And yes, we all had a cry…

Hear the words of the Advices:

A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength.

Going without goods is a way to help us go with God.

The strength that comes from choosing to live simply is found in a deepening of faith that reminds us that all things come from God and that we are indeed the keeper of our sisters and brothers.

On this Good Friday, as we gaze on the Crucified across the world we are called back to this life of simplicity.  A life of one tunic and only sandals wherein we find that we have been provided with all that we need and have more to give away than when we were holding on to ‘stuff’.  A life that mirrors the Beloved who only had one robe.

In the end, (or is it the beginning?) Jesus wears nothing except his wounds to furnish our salvation.  May we never be ashamed of those wounds.

 

To Pray:

 
Nada te turbe,
Nada te espante,
Toda se pasa,
Dios no se muda, 
La Paciencia 
Todo la alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene
Nada le falta: 
Sólo Dios basta.

Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee;
All things pass:
God never changes. 
Patience attains
All that it strives for. 
He who has God
Lacks for nothing:
God alone suffices.

(Teresa of Avila)

 

To Do:

1)  Read slowly the note from ‘Advices & Queries’ above again
2)  Give away a cherished item of clothing

 

Acknowledgements:

Quotes from ‘Advices & Queries’ are copyright © The Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain, 1995, 1997 and 2008

Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Prayers from ‘Prayers for Hard Times’ are copyright  © Becca Anderson 2017

These Reflections, ‘Answering God’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2020 – and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged

 

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