Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh

orbii-150x150"Jesus, Son of David, take pity on me!" (Mark,10,46).

- Being an emigrant and having the feeling of not really belonging must have made a difference to you. Looking back on your life, would you say that your Christian faith was influenced by this experience?

Anthony Bloom: I think this is true. During the Russian Revolution we lost the Christ of the great cathedrals, the Christ of the splendidly architected liturgies; and we discovered the Christ who is vulnerable just as we were vulnerable, we discovered the Christ who was rejected just as we were rejected, and we discovered the Christ who had nothing at his moment of  crisis, not even friends, and this was similar to our experience. God helps us when there is no one else to help. God is there at the point of greatest tension, at the breaking point, at the centre of the storm. In a way despair is at the centre of things - if only we are prepared  to go through it. We must be prepared for a period when God is not there for us and we must be aware of not trying to substitute a false God. One day a girl came to my surgery and condemned the Gospels without having read  them. On her honeymoon she went to the cinema with her husband and she suddenly went blind. Later whey discovered that she had an incurable disease. In the final stages of her illness she wrote to me, 'My heart hasn't the strength to beat Godwards' and she had the courage to accept real absence  and would not substitute a false God, a comforter. The tremendous courage of this person impressed me immensely and I have never forgotten that. 

The day when God is absent, when He is silent - that is the beginning of prayer. Not when we have a lot to say, but when we say to God 'I can't live without you, why are you so cruel, so silent?' This knowledge that we must find or die - that makes us break through to the place where we are in the Presence. If  we listen to what our hearts know of love and longing and are never afraid of despair, we find that victory is always there the other side of it. ( Interview with Bishop and Surgeon Anthony Bloom, Living Prayer, London,1966)

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