Guest speaker reflection:
Deep calls to Deep

This week's talk is a fascinating account of how someone who has been a Methodist minister for 36 years discovered the contemplative path. Our guest speaker, Keith McLachlan, weaves the story of Mary and Martha in with his own journey as he shares with us his deepening encounter with God in silence and presence, "where deep calls to deep".

 

As an opening prayer, listen to this Matt Redman song titled "Deep calls to deep": 

ocean depths.jpg

Before I hand over to Keith, this is an invitation for you to express your gratitude and support for Keith:

If you would like to support Keith as he follows a new calling into a more contemplative form of ministry, please consider making a donation - his bank account details are as follows:

Keith McLachlan

ABSA  Bank

Account No: 710816433

Branch Code: 632005

 

If you would like to make contact with Keith, his email address is: keithstuartmac@gmail.com

I will now hand over to Keith:

Over the years I have hiked many trails in the Drakensberg, and the one trail that continues to captivate me is the Gorge Trail in the Northern Berg, and then boulder hopping to the base of the Tugela Falls. When you rest for a moment and take in deep breaths, you are struck by the majesty and magnificence of the Amphitheatre towering above you. When I still myself in that moment, I have this deep sense of Presence as I reflect on those amazing words of the Psalmist, “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.” Ps.42:7. Today, I have come to recognise this experience as the saturation of the Lord’s Presence taking place from within my being. Having journeyed much of my spirituality within the evangelical/ charismatic/ traditional environments, I have in recent years discovered that this “Deep calls to deep” encounter has taken me beyond my traditional Christian journey to another plane of existence, thought, and spiritual development that I was never aware of, in what I have come to now experience as the Contemplative Life.

This short talk is a brief overview of my spiritual journey, and I trust that you might find some encouragement and inspiration as you too journey along this path where “Deep calls to deep.”

Questions for reflection:

Take a moment to reflect on this encounter between Jesus and Martha:

My dear Martha, you are upset over all these details; you are worried and bothered about so many things! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it; she has chosen the good part – which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42.

 

Bear in mind that this was Jesus’ response to Martha’s request of “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to You that my sister just sits here (the implication? “…and does nothing”) while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” Luke 10:40.

  • What was this “one thing worth being concerned about” that Jesus refers to, and then states that Mary has discovered it? He also added that she had “chosen the good part.” What was so good about that which she chose? Why won’t it be taken away from her?

  • Jeanne Guyon writes in her book, “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ” the following: “Learn to continuously sink into nothingness.” Is this perhaps something that Mary had discovered? What is this “nothingness”?

  • Jeanne Guyon again writes: “To live the Christian life is easier than taking a breath of air to breathe.” What do you think she is meaning?

  • She again writes – “The main element of the soul is the will, and the soul must will (‘be intentional’ – my words) to become neutral and passive, waiting entirely upon God. Can you not see that this condition of utter passivity, this state of doing nothing and waiting upon God, is actually the highest activity of the will?” How does this statement affect your understanding of the prayer life?

  • I made the following comment: “We cannot communicate with God in our intellect or reason, in our emotions or feelings, or in our body.” Why? Because God is … Spirit! How do you define a spirit? A spirit has no definition, no form, no body, is of no substance, doesn’t eat or drink; is neither male nor female – so, how do you communicate with a spirit? How do we communicate with God, who is Spirit? Would you agree with this? Give a reason for your answer.

  • Once again Jeanne Guyon writes – “Your self-nature becomes so pleasantly attached to its own efforts that it simply cannot believe that anything is going on within your spirit. Unless the mind is able to feel and understand, IT refuses to believe the spirit is having experience.” What are your thoughts?

  • Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” His interaction with the Father was within His Spirit. That’s why He could overlook the multitudes that wanted healing, demanding His attention. He had learned how to engage His Father within. He had learned to quieten all the other voices demanding attention and trying to sway Him away from His Father’s purpose. What voices are demanding your attention? How do you learn to engage the Presence of God within?

For further reflection:

Below are some of the quotes from the talk for you to reflect on further:

Meister Eckhart:

“The eye with which you seek God is the eye with which God seeks you.”

St. Francis of Assisi:

"The One you are looking for is the One who is looking."

Cynthia Bourgeault: 

“Mary and Jesus together make a perfect picture of how spiritual awareness attends to divine awareness.”

Psalm 46:10

“Be still … Cease striving … stop fighting … let go, and know that I am God, who is your peace within you, My sanctuary.” (Paraphrased).

In conclusion, find a quiet moment and just listen to the words sung by Alana Levandoski and the words spoken by James Finley.