The Characteristics of Christ....according to me
I have been attending church since the age of eight. My parents did not go to church, they slept in till midday on Sundays, along with my elder brother and sister. I was always an early riser. So I decided I would go to church one day, as a friend of mine from school went and she was also in the choir.
Both our mothers had a bizarre telepathy when it came to clothing us. They did not know each other but my friend, Elizabeth, and I turned up at the church with identically designed, home-sewn, bright orange trouser suits. This was the 60's, but honestly, it was too much! I had red boots- clash, clash, clash - and the material of my suit was some thick wool blend that did not do collars well. The flaps were like woolly aerofoils. Elizabeth's mum was more sensible (to a degree) as she chose a thick cotton blend and made a nice, neat Mandarin collar for her daughter. My mother chose wool to keep me warm. This was always the deciding factor when buying, making clothes and purchasing shoes or boots. "They will keep you warm," or "They will last!" It's a Post War thing. I understand this, but it was neither elegant, nor fashionable. I was beyond derision at school. My peers were simply mystified. At least Elizabeth came a close second.
Church. I yawned a lot. Felt a little bored by the long service but loved receiving a Palm cross one Sunday. I joined Sunday School but refused to go with the other young children and sat at the back of the teenagers group. The vicar couldn't shift me and I said I wanted to hear what he had to say. He was so taken aback, he left me be and thankfully, always smiled and welcomed me each Sunday. I progressed to the choir and this entailed a Saturday morning practise at the choirmistresses' house where we did her garden weeding after singing. My dad, who took me and brought me home, reported her to my mum who then lost her temper and said I was not some woman's garden lackey. My time at church came to a grisly end.
My spiritual life did not stop, however. Something always seemed to be guiding me from within. I can remember a distinct presence from when I was three or four. I would call him Beena the Ghost. I may have mentioned Beena before but I am recently feeling a strong comnnection with my old childhood invisible companion. But what has this to do with the Characteristics of Christ?
Even if my church attendance was derailed and had been somewhat patchy until later in life, I was never forsaken nor left, even in the most difficult of circumstances. The Presence, was and is always there like a big bubble that surrounds me, guides me and often instructs me. The latter is always very short, sometimes just a vision and a look, or a word or two. Yet the experience is charged with a universe of something positive. It is, and can only be described as, Divine Love, because it is outside anything anyone has ever told me in or out of church. It is my personal experience of the Characteristic of Christ and it is constant and unfailing and ever present. I can be washing up or ironing and there He is. He is ultimately crafty and knows He has my full attention when I am engaged in the mundane. Yet He is also there when I am studying something tricky. There is encouragement to persist and keep trying.
(I am checking my blog timing and it is at 3 minute read. My aim is to keep my meanderings to this timing so as not to be onerous to the reader.)
So in summary:
The Characteristics of Christ according to me are: experience of divine Love; Presence - always; encouragement and the feeling of being surrounded and enfolded from within and without. All of these are nothing to do with the thinking mind, the feeling of the heart or the primal urges of ego. They come unbidden, always surprise and generally catch me out when I am least expecting it. Thank you Presence (Beena the Ghost!) and thank you Christ.
I do not have any orange clothes in my wardrobe... but then maybe I just might...no!