this was originally published in our Sunday handout as a teaser
It was only a week before the smokefree legislation became law and I had gone along to support my son in his first endeavour as a guitar tech for Sick of It All, a loud, brash, raucous hardcore band from New York. (I was also there to legitimise my younger under age son’s entry.) The venue was, ah, intimate and so the volume was almost unbelievable and the crowd densely-packed. They were also smoking enough to give a third world country a permanent dose of lung cancer. An intense blue cloud hung low, chest height, throughout the whole place, but near the bar where I was standing, it was so dense it made Victorian London fogs seem mere wisps. The pollutant was pervasive and unavoidable and choking to one who has never smoked in all his deeply threatened life. The worst part was that I could not shake the taste of it in my mouth for a whole week, that and the coughing trying to clear my polluted and offended lungs.Stepping out into fresh air occasionally was a wonderful experience of relief and refreshment for another onslaught on both my ears and my lungs.So often we expose ourselves to moral and spiritual air so polluted we no longer notice it’s debilitating effects at all and we forget where to draw clear breaths of God’s good and gracious heavenly winds of refreshing. We find ourselves lumbering along and striving through life, even church involvement, running out of energy and enthusiasm, wondering how we can keep going. We keep trying to run a life in two worlds, one horribly polluted and ruled by demanding and demeaning monsters of unbelievable cruelty, the other filled with the most affirming and life-giving Presence and environment we could ever have hoped for.We fill our lives with things that use us up and stretch our spiritual resources beyond their limits never pausing to breathe in the life-giving, healing, saving, renewing, strength imparting air of heaven that is so freely found when we spend intentional time with the very Lord of life Himself…when we avail ourselves of His eternal and perfect Holy Spirit. But you got to stop to draw this kind of refreshing breath, you’ve got to relate, you’ve got to listen, to revel in the God-filled environment that dispels the worst pollutants.
Hey what’s that wave I see approaching