Today’s reflection is written by Pastor Paul:
The glory of God is a human being fully alive! — St. Irenaeus
As I write this letter, I’m looking out the window at the snow drifting down and glancing at the outdoor thermometer which tells me we’re a long way from getting up to zero. I wonder about my car battery, which has shown unsettling signs of not taking a charge when the weather turns frigid. Will my battery fail just when I need it the most? What can I do to keep it charged?
My mind turns back to a talk I have often given at pre-marriage meetings about the Four Batteries. With my retirement coming up this year, I often think about strategies for keeping them strong and fully charged.
1. My mountain bike accident last August has been a powerful reminder of how quickly the physical battery can be discharged and how long the recharge can take. Five months later my energy is only beginning to return, and I’m happy to welcome it back. All of us are in pretty good contact with how our physical battery is doing. We know when we’re in pain, when we’re exhausted or hungry, and we know when we’re feeling full of energy and delight. Now that I have completed my course of physical therapy, I’ve decided to get a personal trainer to help me develop my depleted strength.
2. The meter on our emotional battery is harder to read. We often aren’t entirely sure just what our emotional state is or what to do about it. That’s why we need to attend to our emotional state, discern what re-charges us and commit to a strategy which will keep our emotional battery maximally charged. I’m committing to cross-country skiing every possible day and to praying every possible instant. Both recharge my emotions and help me better face the emotional challenges every day brings.
3. Our intellectual battery can go deader than a car battery without our knowing it. I’m afraid the “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten” slogan applies to many people who have stopped thinking, questioning and learning. (Don’t go to a doctor who has that poster on the wall.) Remember the dental association’s slogan “Ignore your teeth, and they will go away”? Ignore your intellectual life, and your brain will go to sleep. I’m committed to reading new books, having vigorous discussions with friends about things that matter and learning more about God. Commitment to being a Christian means a commitment to life-long learning about our faith.
4. It is particularly hard to get a good read on the charge of our spiritual battery. We can easily lose our connection with God and with the beauty of his amazing creation. Our vision can tunnel, and our hope can freeze up. St. Irenaeus, the great second-century theologian, could express the essence of Christianity with this pithy adage: “The glory of God is a human being fully alive!” To be spiritually charged up is to have a powerful personal connection with God, to be kindled by the beauty of the world, to be powerfully engaged in Christian community, to be focused on being part of God’s great work in the world and to be consumed by love. I know that two projects I’m involved in give powerful boosts to my spiritual battery – the Radio Furaha project in Iringa and the “Bread Rising: Working Together to End Hunger by 2030 Campaign.”
We are all different, but we all have physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual batteries that need regular re-charging. May God grant us insight, discernment, determination and faith as we seek to give glory to God by being fully alive.