Center for Action and Contemplation teacher Brian McLaren shares the power of ongoing discernment, allowing ourselves to be drawn into service and action on behalf of others:
From CAC Meditation of August 24, 2022
“If you listen to the Spirit, here is what will happen to you. You’ll be at a party, and you’ll notice on one side of the room all the beautiful people laughing and having fun together. In a far corner, you’ll notice a person who is alone, feeling awkward, not knowing anyone. The Spirit will draw you to the person in need. You may become the bridge that connects the outsider to the insiders—and in that connection, both will be better off. . . .
Here’s what will happen to you if you listen to the Spirit. You will realize that someone is angry at you or resentful toward you . . . or worked behind your back to do you harm. Everything in you will want you to write them off or get them back. But the Spirit will draw you toward them in humility. . . .
Here’s what will happen if you listen to the Spirit. You will see a person or a group being vilified or scapegoated. Everyone is blaming them, shaming them, gossiping about them, feeling superior to them, venting their anxieties on them. . . . But the Spirit will draw you to differ courageously and graciously. . . . You will risk your reputation in defending the person or people being scapegoated. And in that risk, both you and they will know that God’s Spirit is alive and at work in your midst.
If you listen to the Spirit, here’s what will happen to you. It will be late. You will be tired. There will be dishes to do or clothes to pick up or trash to empty. Someone else should have done this, you will think with anger. You will rehearse in your mind the speech you will give them. And then you will think, But I guess they’re just as tired and overworked as I am. So maybe I can help. You won’t do this as a manipulative ploy but as a simple act of service. . . .
There is a prison near you. A hospital. A park or a bridge or an alley where homeless people sleep. . . . There’s a country in great need or a social problem that few people notice. If you listen to the Spirit, you will be drawn toward an opportunity to serve. At first, the thought will frighten or repel you. But when you let the Spirit guide you, it will be a source of great joy—one of the richest blessings of your life.