Brother Lawrence was a Carmelite monk who lived and served his monastery from its kitchen during the 17th century.  The details of his life in Christ are captured in the classic The Practice Of The Presence Of God, which is still a centerpiece of many a believers library.  Lawrence of the Resurrection, as he was known among his brothers, lived his life out in relative obscurity, preparing meals in the kitchen of the monastery, yet, from that place of obscurity, left behind a legacy of what a life lived out in the fullness of His resurrection could be.  A life that could be, should be, yours or mine, if only we could "practice the presence of God."  Oswald Chambers said that "Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity."  How often have I grieved His heart because the same has been true of me?  How often may it have been true of you as well?
     The source of this quote escapes me right now, but I heard it said as this; that so many of us have no trouble living in God's penthouse, beholding His glory and wonder, enraptured by the beauty we see there, but when we must come down, and go into His kitchen, where the everyday pressures of life, difficulties with difficult people, troubling situations and circumstances, it is then that we lose the sense of His presence we so enjoyed in the penthouse.  It was easy to "practice His presence" up there, but down in the mud and blood of everyday life, well, that can be another matter entirely.  Somehow,for so many, everything changes in the kitchen.  We change.  Our spirits soared in the penthouse, but our flesh prevails down in the kitchen.  
     There may be no place where this is better seen than in Matthew 17 and the account of the Transfiguration of Christ, and its aftermath.  Peter, James and John had just beheld Christ in His glory, they were in the presence of God, living in the atmosphere of heaven.  Afterwards, Jesus led them back down into the valley, where they encountered a father and his demon-possessed son, which neither they, nor the other disciples could deliver him from.  One would think that after being in the presence of such wonder, beholding such heavenly matters, this should have been a small matter for the three, but it wasn't.  It wasn't because when they came down into the valley, into the "kitchen" they were encompassed by the atmosphere of the valley, and no longer living in the atmosphere of heaven.  To live in His presence is to live in the atmosphere of the Kingdom, an atmosphere that prevails no matter where we are, be it the kitchen, or as some have called it, "the cellar of affliction."  Paul lived in this atmosphere, and because of it, no dingy prison cell could rob him of it.  His spirit continued to soar in Christ wherever he was.  It was so of Brother Lawrence.  Oh that it would be so of you and I.
      I've a friend who likes to talk of how for the believer, life is about living in the midst of parallel universes.  One universe is composed of the here and now.  It is passing.  The other is the eternal, the Kingdom, and it will never pass away.  We are born physically into the first, but our true citizenship is to be found in the latter, through Christ.  Every intent of that fallen universe we are born into is to pull us down into destruction, but every intent of the Kingdom is draw us to Himself, the upward call Paul wrote of in Ephesians.  When we live in the atmosphere of the Kingdom, we can overcome every intent and power of that fallen universe.  Whether we find ourselves in the kitchen, the cellar, or a prison, we remain in the atmosphere of heaven, living in His presence, and so, overcoming the world.  We may live and serve in obscurity, but we will leave behind a legacy that will echo throughout eternity.  You and I will, today, find ourselves in the kitchen.  Which atmosphere will have hold of us?  The Kingdom, or the flesh?

Blessings,
Pastor O
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