Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lenten Silence

Psalm 62:5-7
For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

This morning it is snowing here. The snow brings a glorious silence. It is clean, beautiful, and still. It is a perfect picture of Lent...a season of reflection, quiet, and silence.

For many, a usual Lenten practice is to give up or subtract. Facebook is full of many posting about what they are "giving up" for Lent. "Unvirtuous Abbey" provides a daily Facebook post from a Jesuit Community that takes a wry approach to religion in America. Their take on "giving up" for lent was pointed in this recent post - "For those who view Lent as a 40 day weight loss plan, Lord deliver us."

But some have taken a different approach...choosing to add in vs. give up.

Some have added silence.

Silence has a way of making room for something else. Silence reminds us not just to listen but to really hear. Silence enables us to give way to others, to give way to their thoughts, ideas, and needs. Silence enables us to defer to another. Silence steps aside to allow others to be first. Silence cares more about another's need versus our own. Silence helps us set aside our own judgemental thoughts and the need to comment on everything we hear.

Silence creates a space where we can hear the voice of God speak quietly in our heart.

grace and peace...

note: I truly wish I could give credit for this beautiful winter picture found on Facebook. Unfortunately there was not a photo credit listed.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It Is Well

It was the hymn. It was the words of a hymn that made me begin to scan the faces of those in the choir.
"When peace like a river attendeth my soul.
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well. It is well with my soul."

The words cancer, job loss, aging, surgeries, special needs children, financial difficulty, grief, sorrow, pain, fear, doubt seemed to land above each face. And yet many faces were smiling. Many stood straight with the resoluteness of a deep faith. Some bore tears. Some stood with the stooped shoulders that marked them as a caregiver. They sang with strong voices.

In the midst of our adversity, we plead for God to fill us, to satisfy us, so that in all circumstances we would rejoice and be glad in all our days, good and bad.

Psalm 90 puts it like this:

13 Turn, O Lord! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us,
And the years in which we have seen adversity.
16 Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!

Did you catch verse 15..."Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us, and the years in which we have seen adversity."

Matthew Henry's commentary suggests that this is a prayer..that our days of grief and sorrow would be balanced by an equal measure of time filled with the joy and gladness of God's presence.

Somehow the proclamation of that hymn, the words - "It is well with my soul", bore witness to the answer of that prayer in Psalm 90. It is why despite difficult times, that we can sing with certainty that our soul is indeed well.

grace and peace...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blessed Are the Truth Tellers

We've had a string of storms roll through our community over the past few weeks. Driving has been an adventure as we have had snow, sleet, rain, more snow, more get the picture. As I have made my way down the toll road to work, I have been very thankful to G-man who suggested I get new wiper blades. These new blades work incredibly well but what has been amazing to me is the realization that I didn't know how ineffective the old ones really were! Funny how that happens.

I found myself thinking about how the wipers clear away the slush and slop that block our vision. We are blessed when we have people in our lives that help us clear away our own dirt and grime and help us to see better. These are the "Truth Tellers".

Truth Tellers often work behind the scenes. They don't trumpet their work. They don't advertise. Many times they are under appreciated or not appreciated at all. Truth Tellers are fearless, as they continue to proclaim truth even in the face of our protests. Truth Tellers possess a wisdom about ourselves that we do not. Truth Tellers see that we cannot or choose not to see.

Truth Tellers are the warm sunlight that breaks through our gray, murky clouds of grief and sorrow. Truth Tellers proclaim the beautiful in the midst of the ugly.

Truth Tellers stay despite our hardship. Truth Tellers walk the road with us.

Yes...Blessed are the Truth Tellers