When we go on our family holiday we always have what the girls refer to as ‘boring parent days‘. And I am pleased to say that in Spain we managed to get not one, or two but three ‘boring parent days’. On one of these I had one of those little experiences of God that leaves me wondering.
I am writing a dissertation for which I have had to study the Beatitudes, or more correctly a series of sermons that Gregory of Nyssa wrote about them. His writing is so practical, down-to-earth and inspiring that I have got totally stuck on what he says about the first one – ‘Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God’ – Matt 5:3. Since around January 2016 I have been mulling this around, praying it over, thinking about it – just a dozen or so words that could change a life, given the entry into the soul.
Anyway, as ever in Spain this essay was never far from my mind – because its not finished – and so was this verse.
Church of Santa Maria
On one of our ‘boring parent days’ we were looking around the Church of Santa Maria, in Mojacar. It was hot, the girls were bored, and I was absorbed by the iconography. Down at the front was a bowl with an old sign above it on which was with ‘Vitamins for the Soul’. This grabbed my attention, and on inspection I saw the bowl was full of little pieces of paper, just a few cm in size. Intrigued, I pulled one out and saw that this was no ‘vaguely questionable church tradition’ as I had expected (to my shame!), but rather that I was holding one of hundreds of pieces of paper, each with scripture verse on it. Ah, I see – ‘vitamins for the soul’ – indeed.
The Kingdom of Heaven is said at times to draw close to us, almost intangibly, imperceptibly. Mystical, and more real than the physical world around us – Jesus indeed likened it to the wind. So you can understand that as I read ‘Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God’ on my slip of paper I felt the veil lifted and His hand on me.
Coincidence? Maybe. I guess it all depends on your outlook. That these things happen at all is evidence enough for those who have eyes to see. To my mind this is a small, intimate indication that God the Trinity is all around, ever active – often in tiny, tiny ways. I love it.