Sunday, March 01, 2015

What Jesus expects

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

Bishop Ed Little told us what Jesus expects:

  1. Jesus expects us to answer His call, to come and follow, reorienting life in His direction.
  2. Jesus expects us to worship God each week in a community of believers.
  3. Jesus expects us to be stewards of the resources He has given to us.
  4. Jesus expects us to be people of prayer and biblical reflection.
  5. Jesus expects us to obey His call: to engage in ministry.

1.  How do I reorient my life in Your direction, Lord Jesus?  Even if I think most of me is turning toward You, those parts of me that are not are significant. Those are the ones where You are truly needed -- the unhealed parts, the parts that allow doubt to enter it, cynicism, lack of love, trust, joy, peace, hope. And isn't it surprising that when things get hard, it's those very parts that rear their heads and make what is difficult even harder?!

So, Lord, where in me am I turning away? In what aspect(s) of my life do I not wish to put You on? Where do I refrain from taking on "the mind of Christ" (Philippians 2:5)?

I don't treat food as gift from You. I eat too often and too much. I take food all too willingly. I don't nurture the awareness that it belongs to You and is provided by You. I am not a good steward of the food around me. I eat to reward myself, comfort myself. I eat without thinking, mindlessly, when, in reality, I should be stopping to give thanks, taking time, realizing my body is a temple inhabited by You.

Help me, Lord, to orient myself -- all of me -- toward You.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Save us from being narrow, Lord!

So now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? Only to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being.
Dear God,
This is Kelley.

We read these words, Lord, with such arrogance sometimes. We bring to them our twenty-first century perspective, forgetting they come from a world far different than our own, a world from several thousand years ago. We take the words and think we know their meaning -- why, what they mean today must be what they meant back then! We are narrow, and we must be downright frustrating when our hearts and minds are closed.

If I were to say these words to another human being, in the first person, people would be so right to think me self-important and stay away from me. And there are people, Lord, who so misunderstand and thus stay away from You. Why is it, after all, that You insist we serve You, be totally centered on You, love You with everything in us?!

All I know is this:  when I focus on You, when I love You, when I worship and serve You, I am happy. I am joyful. I am strong. I am giving. I have the deepest sense of fulfillment that I have ever experienced. One would venture to say Your commandments are all about You, but, in fact, they are all about us. In giving ourselves to You, we become fully human, fully alive, enabled, powerful people.

Of course, You know that. After all, we were made by You, for You, and in Your image.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

He who brings a fire!

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

I heard that song again, Lord, "Go Light Your World," by your son Christopher Rice. When I hear it, it takes hold of me; or, rather, You take hold of me. I am emboldened, motivated, driven even. I want to "run to the darkness" with the candle that is within me -- You. And those words, "see now your sister, she's been robbed and lied to, still holds a candle without a flame," those words, Lord, break my heart. How Your heart must break, too, when so many of us lift high our candles, wanting so badly for others to light them. Or, when we ourselves blow out one another's candles! God, forgive us!

It is You who light our candles, and it is only You. Surely, we can fan the flames, but we cannot do the igniting; for, we were not made just for one another. We were made for You. You are the sure fit, the mold from which we came. It is You who bring the flame -- "There is a Spirit who brings a fire, ignites a candle and makes His home."

Thank You, Lord, for bringing Your fire to me. Thank You for setting up and making a home within me. And thank You for using me to show wounded souls that they, indeed, carry a candle, and there is no sin, no shame, no secret in the world that will keep You from igniting it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

That sticking 'D'

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

What will You do with me, Lord? See all these options? I've cast a wide net out there, and while I wait here expectantly to see which one(s) You'll bless, I begin to doubt in all of them. Will any come to be? Or, as they have in the past, will they all make that "thudding" sound when they hit the ground untapped?

I wait. And then I do, furiously. The former fueled by the belief that You will bring about what it is You wish to bring about with me. And when waiting becomes untenable, I side with the polar opposite -- I'm to be doing what I discern is best; I'll find Your will that way.

And while there's a part of me that knows, that smiles, that is still and plods on quietly and rather confidently, other parts of me do their complaining, their crying out, their casting of doubt, and even their anger at You.

And which part of me will I listen to today?

I bought a new laptop, which I just love. But, I've noticed the "d" key sticks and often leaves Your name as "Go" or "did" and "di," and decide as "ecide" (yes, the second "d" never sticks!). I was so disappointed, thinking I must take it back, after I'd transferred all my data (-ata). But then it occurred to me: don't take it back. Use that as a reminder to be patient, a reminder that we're all flawed, we're all a little slow; we all need to be tapped a second and third time before we get it.

On the surface, I get unnerved with it, that sticking "d." On the surface, my parts of selves lift up their "noise." But we're not to live on the surface of things, and I choose to listen to the part of me that smiles, that knows. That's where You are.