Nine Beats

A few years ago, at the Greenbelt Festival,  I came across a group called the Nine Beats Collective
who were running some sessions based around the ancient wisdom of nine sayings of Jesus.
These sayings of Jesus all start with the word blessed – blessed are you when …
So I went to the sessions, and I bought a little book – The Ninefold Path – that contained some reflections and spiritual exercises, but it stayed on my bookshelf – that is until this week.
I had actually been thinking about the book last week sometime, and on Monday I decided to have a look at in my daily prayer time.  So I took the book, along with my Bible and my notebook and sat down to read.  First, I looked to see what my daily reading from the Bible was, and could hardly believe it when I saw that it was those exact same sayings of Jesus from Matthew’s Gospel!
I just love it when that happens. Call it synchronicity if you like. It’s when God says something through the daily events of life.  It happens a lot actually if you look out for it.
That encouraged me to take The Ninefold Path book and look at it seriously.  So this week, I have been focusing on Beatitude no. 1 – Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Essentially this is saying that the most important thing that God is looking for in us is a willingness to let go of the idea that it’s all about our own efforts.  All that God has for us is gift. We simply have to see our poverty and need, and receive.
So each day this week, among other things, I’ve been asking myself:
What am I thankful for today ?
What do I need today ?
One of the the things I love about these sayings of Jesus is that they are so accessible.  You don’t need to be a religious (as in Churchy) person to benefit from them.  You don’t need a degree in theology.  You don’t even need to have much in the way of believing in God actually, just an openness to learn and receive. There’s wisdom here to help anyone in daily life.
You’re blessed when you’ve come to the end of your own resources. With less of you there is more of God and his way of living.

Knowing God

I’m reading a book called Shantaram, about Lin, an Australian living in Bombay.  It’s a long story how he got there, but this takes place in a club, where he has been taken by Khaderbai,

one of the local underworld bosses.
They have just been watching a group of gazal singers, and Lin says: “That was amazing. I’ve never heard anything like it.  So much sadness and yet so much power. Are they singing love songs ?”
The answer came from Kahderbai: “Yes, they are singing love songs, but the best and truest of all love songs. They are love songs to God.  These men are singing about loving God.”
Lin nodded, but said nothing. The silence prompted a question:
Kahderbai: “You are a Christian fellow ?”
Lin: “No, I don’t believe in God.”

Kahderbai: “There is no believing in God.  We either know God, or we do not.”

I ike that.  Faith is not so much about a head belief, but about something much deeper, a knowing, a trust.
This prompts two questions:
Can you truly say that you believe in God without knowing God ?
Is it possible to know God without believing in God ?
Answers on a postcard please, or send me a reply in the usual way.
Grace and peace.