Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Second Sunday of Lent

This week's scriptures are Numbers 21: 4-9 and John 3:1-17.

First of all, let me apologize for getting the blog out so late this week. Things just kinda crept up on me.

We've been focusing on the fact that if we will sit with God in the silence, God will show us our true face, call us by our true name. We talked about how we've put on masks because we're afraid of the world's rejection of our true face. We've talked about how we've taken on, or been given names different than our true name. And we've been reminded that our true name is "Beloved."

Still, sitting in the silence is not an easy thing. Not easy for me, at least. I've been reading Anthony Bloom's Beginning to Pray; and I think he puts words to part of what makes it so difficult. He says,

"...a meeting face to face with God is always a moment of judgment for us. We cannot meet God in prayer or in meditation or in contemplation and not be either saved or condemned. I do not mean this in major terms of eternal damnation or eternal salvation already given and recieved, but it is always a critical moment, a crisis. "Crisis" comes from the Greek and means 'judgment'. To meet God face to face in prayer is a critical moment in our lives."

I was reminded when I read this that the Chinese character for "crisis" means both "danger" and "opportunity."

Coming face to face with God is a "dangerous opportunity" because it holds our lives up next to what it is that God desires and requires of them. This is a judgement, a 'weighing in the balance.' And the dangerous opportunity is for us to move closer to God's will for us. To respond to that Holy Presence is a frightening thing; particularly since so much of our (at least my) prayer life is caught up in what we want, what we need. I know that I spend far too little time listening and way too much time talking. It's a wonder that God gets a word in edgewise. And I have to ask myself if what I am doing when I do this is really prayer.

The good news is that God is patient; and takes even the smallest effort and blows on it like a tiny spark. Sometimes....every now and bursts into flame. Those are the moments that carry us forward, that give us the courage to risk a little more.

We'll be talking more on Sunday about that risk, about that allowing God's presence to move in us and the love that makes that possible. I hope that you'll join us.

Hope to see you Sunday.


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