Not in the New Testament

Give me some space here!

None of us work well at full capacity all the time.  Our hospitals experienced that last winter.  Major airports experience that when something goes wrong.  Roads at full capacity become log-jammed and grid-locked.  Nothing of our stuff seems designed to work optimally at full capacity all the time.

“Space” is mentioned ten times in the bible, NIV.  All are in the Old Testament – none in the New.  That surprised me.  Coming from the same place as:Be still, and know that I am God– or to give it its Old Testament setting: Psalm 46 8-11

Odd that this one is not in the New – just as the ”The greatest of these is …” is not in the New either.  The Old is the new New it seems.

But just what is “Full Capacity”?

There are days I can do the same amount of “stuff” as other days, but some days I am frazzled and others not.  The difference for me is interruptions.  The stop/start of a day punctured by punctuations.  Our hospitals usually run near full capacity.  Add seasonal flu and sprains/fractures …  Our airports are the same.  Something stutters in Stuttgart and …  Our roads are the same.  Add a breakdown somewhere or a shunt miles ahead and …

Be still and know that I am God.” says not God but the psalmist.

Our home could be classed as “rattling” – an empty nest now our children have left.  A case to be made for us moving to a smaller property so a young family can have the space to bring up their children as we did ours.  We don’t need all these bedrooms and living space.  Full Capacity again.  Fill the rooms.  Make the property work.

Yet right now one bedroom is the grandchildren’s room – used daily for an extended midday siesta.  And the other bedroom is used (almost) daily by our young-mum-nursing-daughter – grabbing a couple of hours of precious sleep.  Unless we had these underused rooms available, the lives of those we love would not be loved in quite the same way.

Be still and know that you have a safe space.

How often do we have that “safe space” in our day for those who cross our path?  The stranger with a question … The friend with a dilemma … The acquaintance who doesn’t know how to share what is weighing them down … The interruptions … The puncturing punctuations … The ones we edit and prune and then put aside so as to not to bring our own day to a grinding halt.

The New Testament Gospels are full to capacity with One who always has a safe space for everyone … One who never turned away a stranger, friend or acquaintance.

We read of miracles and resurrections.  And we marvel.  And then we argue over the legitimacy of the healing … of the historical validity … of the scientific authenticity.  And we marvel or we dismiss.

Yet “the marvel” that can be mine – that can be yours – that is of love unconditional – that is a “safe space” for all we meet … ?

We never argue the validity and authenticity of that as we fill our diaries with ever-more meetings … ever-more good works … ever-more church networking … ever-more full capacity week after week … It seems to me the diary of church has become a symbol of status for many:

Mine is bigger fuller than yours.

I think the reason “Be still … “ and “The greatest of these is … “ are all in the Old Testament is because the New Testament has the real deal.  Is the One who walks the walk.  Is the One whose actions are louder than words.

Why is it I keep seeing the phrase “recovering legalist” in enlightened Christian writings, but never “recovering diarist”?  Why is it I keep reading of “burnout” (spiritual and physical) as another modern-day Christian affliction?

I am learning that having a safe space for all is important.  And as for a diary … ?

Mine is so small it impresses no one.



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