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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Daily Office is Just Killing Me, Today

It's been a weird week for me.  In some ways, it's been overwhelming, and in other ways I feel as if I have accomplished absolutely nothing.  I have certainly blogged less than has been my modus operandi for this calendar year.  That is not to be confused with writing less.  It's just that so many of the things I wrote didn't seem appropriate (I know, I know, super funny coming from me).  But really...

As I sat down to read Scripture this morning, though, it occurred to me that there is enough material here to write several posts.  I think it all might fit together neatly, in some way, but it also... doesn't...

Originally, I thought I might start out with a post titled, 

"With Friends Like This..."

Psalm 55:20-21, "My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant.  His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords" (NIV).

It is completely possible that I don't always give people the benefit of the doubt, or maybe I'm just far more naive than I think I am (I have been accused of this), but sometimes I feel like this about people who are supposed to be my friends.  I am something like 150% not as amazingly loving and giving and holy as I should be... as I wish I was...  With that in mind, these words could just as easily be written as a description of me, so I need to fix that.  I don't really want to attack anybody.  I certainly don't want to break covenant.  And I want the words from my mouth (or my fingers) to line up with the intent of my heart as well as my follow-through.  Maybe it is completely outside the realm of reality, but there is still a part of me that hopes others might be pressing toward this goal, as well.  I know none of us is perfect.  I'm sure not.  But maybe we can all keep trying to just be kind.     

Then I thought,

"Maybe I Just Want to Hide..."

Psalm 139:7-12, "Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you" (NIV).

I recently wrote a sermon about David.  Although this passage wasn't the main text, it does make a cameo appearance.  There are these incredible moments when I think that maybe.... just maybe... I could be who I was created to be, but if I'm real; there are more moments when I wonder if hiding might be easier.  Ironically, as I was searching for a synonym for "hiding" I found that "defeat" fits the bill.  I was not expecting that. 

St. Francis said, "All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle."

"Even the darkness will not be dark to you..."    
Oh, Light of the World, what, exactly, do we think we're getting away with?

And then there was this,

"I Have Always Loved a Good Storm"

Exodus 40:37, "but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted" (NIV).

I think storms are terrifying to most people.  I'm not talking about literal storms, although I do love those.  True story.  I chased a good storm, just the other day.  But, I'm talking about what people might metaphorically refer to as, "the storms of life"...  the hard times...

Interestingly, when you go back and read the narrative of Israel, God was the storm.  I think we often look for rescue from the very One we need.  We don't wait for the clouds to lift to set out.  We see the clouds coming, and we run.  Maybe we should embrace the storm, instead.  Maybe we should be still, absorbing every bit of the glory of God that is available to us.  Maybe the running is so hard, because it's just not time yet.

Of course, it wouldn't be my life if something absurd didn't also strike me in the midst of my reading, thinking, and writing, so, 

I Thessalonians 4:11, "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.  You should mind your own business..." (NIV). 

Uh... failing...

And finally there was the gospel passage,

"Can I Tie this All Together"

Probably not, but maybe Jesus can.

Matthew 5:38-48, "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'  But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.  You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (NIV).

Friends and enemies... Perfection and love... The sun and the rain falling on all of us.  Of course...

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