Thursday, August 21, 2014

Potent waiting

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

Psalm 131 has these words: 
O Israel, wait upon the LORD,
from this time forth for evermore.

Israel, Lord, has been waiting a very, very long time, so long, in fact, that my first interpretation of this statement, the promise of this statement -- that You will give the land to Israel to live on in peace -- is cast in doubt.

First, Israel is no longer just Israel. It is me, us, all who seek You in truth and sincerity.

Second, we no longer wait for a land; we "wait" for the kingdom, Your kingdom, and our waiting must be full of activity, full of silence before You, full of Your Spirit's doings.

We are not untouched as we "wait." Your Spirit is working, enlightening our minds, stretching and cleaning out our hearts, pushing us to give up our grudges and prejudices, questioning our small ways of thinking, challenging all narrowness found within.

We are not supposed to be just still as we "wait." Yes, we are to place ourselves before You and listen -- we are to do a lot of this. But we are also to move, to use our brains to bring about Your kingdom, for when we say "your kingdom come," what we mean to acknowledge is, "Your kingdom is in the process of coming." Our words, our actions or inactions either contribute to or retard its coming! Each smile to another brings our earth one step closer to the kingdom. If we are still, we can hear its thunder!

O Israel, wait upon the LORD,
from this time forth for evermore.

Teach us how to wait, O Lord!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Was Jesus happy?

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

I'm afraid to ask this, Lord, but, was Jesus happy? Down here, with us, as a man, was He? Did He feel fulfilled, joyful, at peace?

On the one hand, I think He would look from person to person and mourn the fact that he and she either didn't have a clue or did but didn't take the risk of knowing You. And when He did see someone who was willing to risk and did so, was it a mutual knowing, one filled with equal joy, or was it almost a heartbreaking realization, to know that most were just missing the boat?

On the other hand, when I get close to You, it's an odd experience. It's nearly indescribable. It's a joy I find hard to contain, like putting my face in very cold water on a very hot day. Intoxicating. Refreshing, but breathtaking, all the same. Even though I don't want to, I have to pull my face out of the water.

We hear about the people in the gospels who didn't "get" it -- the ones who planned Your death, the ones who walked away, the ones who had other agendas. We don't get to hear about the ones to whom God revealed almost as much. Surely, they were there. The ones who caught Your eye and just smiled knowingly. The ones who followed at a distance and provided for You. The ones who saw God in You and were filled with Your Spirit, even if they lacked the full understanding You were piecing together.

Just sharing this had to be a joy-filled experience.

This knowledge, however complete or incomplete each of us has it, is what makes us go on in Your service. We chase after You willingly, individually and corporately, because we have experienced that living water You talked about. We know nothing else satisfies like that, satisfies, yes, but instills a hunger, too. Confounding, yes. Mysterious, most certainly. Not to be missed, for sure.

Were You happy? Ah, yes, I think, even though You experienced hardships and knew what Your final hours would be like. Still, You rubbed elbows with God, and rushed closer and closer to the realization of Your own oneness with Him. There can be no greater joy than that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

No need for burning bushes

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

Mosaic, Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Wash, DC

We would all like to come upon a burning bush, Lord, and hear You speaking out of it. But ... if we really think about it, would we? Would we believe what we heard? Probably not. We'd share it with others who would cast doubt. Or, we wouldn't share it, fearful of what others would say about us.

How much harder is it to believe we can "hear" You without the burning bush? This is the reality we exist within. We are as blessed as Moses! We have You, Lord Jesus! We have no need for anything else, no vehicle to help us hear, no sign of Your presence other than You, for You make all ground holy. All we need do is remove our sandals (cf. Exodus 3:5), remove our pretenses, in other words. Remove our anxieties, our wills, our way, and listen. Be in Your presence. Receive Your light (John 8:12). Be open to Your truth (John 14:6). "Come away" (Mark 6:31) with You for a while.

Our problem is not that we do not see miracle outside of us; our problem is that we lack belief from within. We do not allow our spirits to be caught up in Your Spirit. We fear letting go to You. We hold on tight to that within us that longs to dance, to shout, to know You deeply and securely and without fear of seeming foolish or "a bit off."

O Lord, may we risk it for a week or two! May we just commit ourselves to rejoicing in You, even if we do not know how! May we give ourselves to You; allow Your Spirit to take ours out for a spin! Teach us how to dance with You. Our spirits already hunger for it; may we allow that hunger to be satisfied!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Word

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

Words are powerful, Lord. They can uplift, transform, enlighten. They can shock, dishearten, even depress. We must be careful with our words.

You are the Word. This means so much to me.

"As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."  (Isaiah 55:10-11)

No word is more effective, more powerful than Your word, than You. And Your words not only transform, they transfigure. They effect what they propose, if we but cooperate. 

Lord, I ask You to have Your word work even without our deliberate cooperation. For, if we want the same ends as You want, but want them through other misguided means, can Your word still be effective, please? I trust that it can. I trust that none of us can resist Your attraction and the efficiency of Your word. Amen. Amen.