Tag Archives: Waiting

Time with God

Epiphany
February 20, 2017

Scripture Reading: Exodus 24:12-18

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.’ So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, ‘Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.’ –Exodus 24:12-14

Many of us relate to the story in our scripture today from the vision of Cecil B. DeMille in the movie The Ten Commandments. Movies are not the best source of understanding the passage of time. Most condense many years of history or fiction for that matter into a couple of hours. I doubt if we would stay in the theater, otherwise. The scripture gives us a good sense that Moses spent time with God on the mountain in waiting mode. He led the Hebrews out of Egypt, dealt with finding food and water, and wandered for some time in the wilderness. Resting at the foot of Mount Sinai (also called Mount Horeb), he finally had time to deal with the question, where do we go from here? He had time to spend with God and gain insight and direction.

It is easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day business of life that we may not find time to commune with God. It is important that we do or the busyness of our being will overcome us. Setting priorities and attempting to live through them can improve our quality of life and the quality of our service in the name of Christ. I do not drive as much now as I once did but I find the time I spend alone in a car helpful. My mother spent the last three years of her life in a nursing home because she had suffered a small stroke that affected her center of balance and required 24/7 alert care. During that time, most Saturday’s I drove the seventy miles to visit her. I loved our conversations and I loved the alone time I had with God on those drives. The nice thing about spending quality time with God is one can dump all his or her concerns out early in the encounter and then sit back and inhale deeply and peacefully the wisdom of God as God ministers to one’s soul.

Identify and claim your alone time with God. Perhaps you will want to do like Moses did with Joshua and include a spouse or friend; that’s OK too. Maybe you get up a little earlier each day or stay up a little later. Maybe you watch a little less TV or don’t check year social media as much. Perhaps you have a commute to work that gives you some car time. Whatever it is find and maintain your God time. It is the most important time you have.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for the constancy of your presence. Help us to be present to you. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

 

Sharing God’s Love

God-With-Us-WebAdvent
December 2, 2015

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:68-79

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
   for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
   by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
   the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
   to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ –Luke 1:76-79

Our scripture today is the reported words of a late-life parent welcoming his first child. The priest Zechariah is cherishing his son whom we know now as John the Baptist. Zechariah knew all too well the lessons of waiting. He not only waited for years to hold that first born son but he had waited his whole life long for the promised Deliverer of his people. He celebrates his son’s leading the way for the coming One.

Somehow, as it often is within a materialistic world, the prospect of waiting at this time of year has morphed from awaiting a Savior to awaiting jolly old St. Nicholas to awaiting Santa Claus. Somehow we humans have turned the precious gift of God’s love into an economic necessity for prosperity and a source of feeding the greed that is epidemic in our land. In the past I have wished we could somehow separate the Santa Claus event from the birth of Christ. Actually the Santa Claus event can be a fun time for family gatherings and gift exchanges. It does not have to be weighted down with over extended expenditures and accumulations of stuff we do not need. But it really has nothing to do with the coming of Immanuel, God with Us. The church needs to take back and own the recognition of the coming of the Christ now and in the future and not try to make businesses enforce it in their quest toward their bottom lines.

We who do look forward to the rule of love on this earth have the responsibility to share the love of God with those who do not know it. The celebration of the birth of the Christ Child is one that most can comprehend and appreciate. Let us invite the world to our table.

Prayer:
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.* Amen.

*Last verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel words by John M. Neale. See at http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/c/ocomocom.htm

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Getting Our Attention

EarthquakeAdvent
November 24, 2014

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9

 O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
   so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
   and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
   so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
   you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
   no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
   who works for those who wait for him. —Isaiah 64:1-4

Oklahoma has been experiencing what is called a “swarm” of earthquakes for the past few years. Since January 2009 [through October 2013], more than 200 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have rattled Central Oklahoma, marking a significant rise in the frequency of these seismic events….This “swarm” includes the largest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma, a magnitude 5.6 that occurred near Prague Nov. 5, 2011.* There is a lot of concern that this swarm may be the result of oil wells being drilled using a method called hydraulic fracturing and its accompanying wastewater disposal. It’s a tough issue with which to deal when the oil industry is a primary source of livelihood for many Oklahomans.

I was not at home the day of the Prague earthquake, but when I returned to my home all the pictures on my walls were on the floor, one with broken glass. It was eerie walking into my house sensing something was amiss but taking some time to figure it out. I didn’t know what the probable cause was until I heard the news later that evening of the recovery  work being done to buildings closer to Prague.

The prophet in our scripture today is wishing that God would get our attention, all nations’ attention, with as much intensity as an earthquake so that we and all the nations might know and recognize the one all-powerful God who works for those who wait for him.

I have lived in Oklahoma most of my life, have a working knowledge of tornados, draught, floods, and hail storms, but had never experienced an earthquake until some months after the one at Prague. It got my attention. I understand the prophet’s illustration. Today we mark the beginning of our waiting for a Savior. I pray that these next four weeks will be a time of deep contemplation on the one who is coming, who has come, and who is now with us forever from whom we gain a new and refreshed sense of God in our time and in our place and a new and refreshed sense of our role in living in God’s time and place.

Prayer: O God of Hope, as we enter this time of Advent bless us with new insights, new courage, and new hope built upon our past, present, and future. Amen.

*http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3710&from=rss#.VHJlC7l0ycw

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.