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Thrown Down

While reading this story, try to read as though you are the speaker (‘I’), rather than a third person.

I saw a huge, grassy plain, tumbled with bits of rock, huge and small, just lying, some with faint traces of paint. I saw that these had once been part of vast edifices, which had all come tumbling down, ruined. I looked further and I saw that this was the only conclusion of that which we build ourselves for our own ends; it could only come to a ruin. Yet I continued to look and I saw more. I saw that we can build lastingly, if we will only build on our proper foundation, which is God, our Holy Trinity. Yet so often we neglect this, building for ourselves alone, for our own glory, or for the glory of others, for our safety, or simply to keep living. For myriads of other reasons, we fail to build something that will last. But as I looked, I continued to see that this is possible. That, while we have mixed motives, that which is built on and for God, even in part, will survive.

I looked again at the rocks, those remnants of vast edifices, and I saw that they had been built alone and separate, and that which is built separately will not survive. For we are called to be part of one Body, we are all part of the one Vine, and what we build ourselves can only be part of the wider whole if it is to thrive in God. For what is part of the whole will be linked to God, to the Spirit’s refreshing breath, and will continue to grow. As I looked, I saw something begin to stir beneath the grass as the beginnings of a plant thrust its shoots up. It grew and continued to grow, and some of the rock that had been ruined was incorporated into it, as that which it had been part of turned towards God, and that which it had done was finally offered to its Lord.

I continued looking, and I saw how God longed to forgive the builders of those vast edifices, and those that even now continue to build, and how, at a brief turning or a looking towards God, our Lord will rejoice and draw nearer, and do all possible to bring the builder into the wider family. For it is not God’s will that these things should be lost, but that all should come to partake of the refreshing of the Vine which will enable them to go out and bear fruit. I saw how even mixed motives can be offered to God, who will honour the offering and take and transform them; for it is only our Lord who can do this.

I looked and I saw how much of my life I had simply been building an edifice (however much I thought I was turned towards God) and how much of my religion had simply been self-seeking; but I also saw how the Spirit had continued to seek me out and draw me closer, how it had taken what I had done for myself and used it for good. I saw how much of myself was incorporated into the Vine, and how much stubbornly held out; and I rejoiced that I was not cast out, but drawn in, forgiven, and I saw that the Spirit understood how difficult it is for us, and will never throw us out for attempting to seek and build upon God, however much we don’t succeed. Yet I also saw that this is not forced upon us, that we can always choose one way or another, that the Spirit works best where invited. I saw too how wise God was to build us together, rather than separately; how much stronger we are together, and how much we can encourage each other in our journey towards God. I gave thanks for all that I had been shown, and I asked the Spirit to dwell in me more deeply, that I might choose, as far as I can, that all I am and do and say might be done and said and become in God; and I asked that I would learn to dwell even deeper in the Church, which is the Body of Christ, as I understood how we can only build in God if we build together.

I looked and I rejoiced at the loving-kindness, at the wisdom, at the continual forgiveness of our God; and as I looked I saw the Angels in Heaven also rejoicing as more come to be part of the Vine, and I was glad. Yet as I continued to look, I also saw that there is suffering in being part of the Vine, that there will be good times and bad, that being built together in God is never easy. As I looked, I saw that as Our Lord suffered, so we would suffer too, that following Jesus is not an easy way. Yet I also saw much rejoicing, as I saw that this is the only Way that leads to life. So I gave thanks.

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