Welcome to our blog! This is a place to share ideas, thoughts, concerns and joys of our faith journey. I'll be posting sporadically, but hope you will feel free to comment and join in the discussions.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Visual Barrage

So I was driving the same old boring route to the grocery store. Surrounded by tail lights and horns and barely missed bumpers. Something caught the corner of my eye, though. There! Off to the right! An enormous bird was flying away from the stream and stand of trees. It was a blue heron. It's "s" shaped neck tucked back, it's long legs streaming behind. It was beautiful and graceful. As I was savoring the moment of this flight brought to my eyes, I needed to come back to the traffic, lest I bump into someone who wouldn't appreciate my, well, appreciation of nature at that moment. The light turned red and I scanned the skies looking for the majestic outline, but instead I saw a huge jet making its approach to Philadelphia. It comes this way every day about the same time, so that in itself wasn't surprising. But the juxtaposition of the natural and man-made wonder of these two behemoths was stunning. I mean, I was uplifted for just a few moments. In awe of the bird taking flight and the mechanical bird crossing paths. And I was suddenly filled with gratefulness to have witnessed both things in almost the same breath. How awesome is our God and the world around us!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pay Attention!

The reading from Sunday in 1 Samuel is interesting. I'm not going to dissect the whole reading, especially, the interaction between whether Samuel should tell Eli what the LORD said verbatim (I'm much more meek than Samuel, I probably would have edited it somewhat, saying the LORD was not too happy about your sons--something soft-pedaled). But simply this line in verse 10: Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Now Samuel had been called twice before. Having no previous idea of visions, or prophetic voices or anything else remotely powerful, he went to Eli and asked what he wanted. Eli, getting--finally--the meaning of what was taking place, tells Samuel the next time he hears the voice to answer as he did. Suppose, just for the sake of argument, that instead of Samuel you had heard your name. Three times, in the dead of night. And improbably, the Lord stood there (I just can't this image out of my mind, this amorphous, glowing being standing before Samuel). If you're a mom, you don't have to imagine that--I mean about the hearing your name in the night, not the glowing being-thing. It's probably happened a few times. But for the record, the voice was probably not your child's voice that Samuel was hearing. It was an insistent voice, this one that Samuel hears. I picture it being somewhat commanding, as Samuel believes it's his mentor Eli calling him. Commanding as in, "Come and follow." With authority as in, "come out of him". Not shy, as in "Lazarus, come out." It was a voice that one with hearing aids knows they would hear even if the batteries were two weeks old. Or better yet, if the things weren't even in the ears! A voice of one with authority calling your name.

I have longed for that voice. But I fear it as well. I do not want to be told to go to Zimbabwe (is that still a country?). I don't want to be told I need to go to Camden. I don't want to be asked to carry the load for those who cannot carry it themselves. I am most fearfully afraid. For if the voice calls me, I will be compelled with the same sense of purpose that was given me when I held my first born. This is a responsibility I cannot pretend I don't have. This is something I cannot ignore or give to someone else. So I think I will pretend that the voice is calling for someone else. Or I might think, it can't mean me, it must be the echo for someone else called, I just happened to be in area.

Have you heard the voice? The hymn we sang Sunday says, "Here I am Lord, is it I, Lord?" It makes me choke up every time, because I want to hear the voice, but I'm afraid that if I do, I'll be asked to do something I don't want to do. Not that I'm not equipped to do, as I don't believe God asks people to do things they cannot. But simply that I won't want to do it. But if asked, as Samuel was, will I reply that the servant is listening? Or will I say, sorry the batteries have gone dead and try back tomorrow? I don't know. Have you struggled with this? Have wondered if you have heard him calling in the night? I pray that you and I when we hear that voice, can reply, "your servant is listening."